On Sun, Rain, Sex, and Serial Killers

Tthe following lofty tome struck me as I was unable to get back to sleep with sunlight spilling through my cotton blinds. It rambles a bit, but indulge me. When I started this, the sky was filled with azure blue, birds singing, soaring, and the gorgeous sunlight I’ve been longing for. It’s an hour later, now, and merely a band of sunny light remains, splitting the now-gloomy onslaught of non-descript grey and charcoal clouds spreading out towards the east.
It’s a sunny morning, a rare thing here on Canada’s West Coast in this, the doldrums of winter. A news report out of Seattle yesterday commented that it was the 22nd consecutive day with rain, and though the morning has gotten off to a beautiful start, I expect that here in Vancouver, the pattern of wetness will continue by day’s end, if the weathermen have their shit right.
Weather’s something we don’t often look far into. Rain is rain, sun is sun, and you’re lucky when it’s the latter, right?
But there’s so much more to it. It shapes us, who we are, how we act. If one was to look at population densities, for example, here on Canada’s West Coast, we’re not nearly as populated as Eastern Canada. BC has a fraction of Ontario’s population. What, then, explains our absolutely disproportionate number of serial killers?
Vancouver’s one of the most beautiful places in the world in the summer, and in the winter, one of the dreariest. This past month hasn’t been an exception. The depression that spreads through this city is insane at this time of year, and makes one think of all the strangeness that unfolds at times.
This morning, I’ve been lying there, having been conscious of the sun’s upping for the last 45 minutes, thinking. Thinking at first about public sex, and how spring evokes for me that want to get outdoors and be active, but also the passion that comes with warm, fragrant spring nights and dewy grass with flowers on the cusp of blossoming. Despite those thoughts, I found myself remembering one Vancouver winter night years ago when a lover and I threw down my trenchcoat and had mad sex atop it on the muddy river banks of the Fraser, under a soaring giant oak tree, as torrential rains fell without relent. Yes, indeed, a true west coast girl.
But then I began thinking how my mood of late has struggled to stay up, as it always does in the dreary darkness of this season, and how connected our psychologies are to light, warmth, and weather. And I thought of how sex is one of the few activities one can really enjoy at this time of year, if they’re not into snowboarding or the like.
And I thought of those who haven’t the option of just acquiring a lover the good old-fashioned way, those who need to purchase sex. And how the continued need to do so must evoke some sort of anger or bitterness in the purchaser. To tell the truth, prostitution has been on my mind a lot thanks to a fascinating novel I’m reading about a 43”-high dwarf living in Ireland’s County Cork, a beautiful book with titillating language and brilliant observations, that will probably fuel at least a couple postings on this lowly rag of debauchery.
But I thought most about that absolute bastard, Robert Pickton, Vancouver’s notorious Pig Farm Serial Killer who’s presently facing charges, with a ban on the press, for the murders of 27 women since the ‘80s, though some suggest the fucker’s responsible for the deaths of up to 60 local prostitutes – all disadvantaged women from Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, forced by life’s circumstances to work in the sex trade.
Pickton apparently lured these disenfranchised sex-trade workers to his home out in Surrey with the promise of drugs and cash, then brutally killed them after what are said to be lurid parties on his isolated pig farm, and fed them to his pigs. The recovery operation for DNA evidence on his sprawling farm and its troughs was one of the largest archaeological digs in Canadian history.
If you look at this part of the world, the beauty, the nature, the geography, it speaks mostly to being God’s country. Some years, the weather’s reprehensible, though, and you wonder what it does to people with less stability than someone like myself. I recall the year I spent living in the Yukon, where though the days were short in the winter, the sun would emerge daily and fill the air with the brightest, cleanest, most mesmerizing light I have ever seen. There, I’d met a lady who’d lived in Vancouver all her life and she said to me, “I just couldn’t fucking handle the winters anymore. The year I moved here, it was 45 days straight of rain. I felt like crying every morning by the end of all that, and nothing I could do would change my mood. I’ve never been so hopeless, so desolate…” She moved there, and had never felt that way again. I noticed that I had no depression that winter, a first for me in my life, and the only time I’ve escaped winter sadness since.
It’s no coincidence that off the British Columbian coast is one of the top 10 sailing destinations in the world in the summer… but the region was clearly discovered in the winter, since its name speaks volumes: Desolation Sound.
Pickton’s not the only legendary killer from this region, and not the only one to prey on sex trade workers. There’s the Green River Killer who worked not only in Washington, but occasionally here in Vancouver. A classmate of mine in elementary school, his sister was killed by the GRK. Robert Clifford Olson, another Vancouver man, killed 11 boys that they found, but he wanted authorities to believe there might’ve been dozens more, though he refused to cooperate on his alleged conquests.
The murders are disproportionate to the populations, and to the violence found here on the whole. We don’t get a lot of gun violence or random killings, with an average of 30 murders per year, with most of those being gang- and drug-related, but when it comes to serial killers, we’ve written the book. And nothing, for the life of me, can explain it away, except for the dark, dreary, depressing weather we get from October through to April.
So… though I should be sleeping a little longer, the notion of missing what may well be the only sunny morning for another week or two, and the first in more than three weeks, well, that’s just unforgiveable. My coffee’s brewing, and all my blinds are up, to soak in the little natural light I’ll see in the days to come.
I’ve touched slightly on the local sex trade in this posting, and it’s more just setting the scene for what will be a bit of a focus at some point in the next couple weeks. We prefer to think of the sex trade as escorts with standards and high-price call-girls, but here in Vancouver, with dozens of lowbrow prostitutes disappearing off our streets, dying horrific deaths, being fed to ravenous pigs, or other debauched means of disposal, I assure you… we’ve seen it all in a more dreary light. And my little wheels have certainly been turning. It’s another reason I felt I wanted to write on promiscuity last week, since all these things combine in a strange circle of life.

13 thoughts on “On Sun, Rain, Sex, and Serial Killers

  1. Laura

    I think it’s good that you bring up the subject prostitutes. It is something most of us forget/don’t want to think about.

    You’re not the only one who gets depressed during the winters. It’s pretty dark, cold and rainy here in Norway too…

  2. mhorts

    This winter has really s**cked in the Pacific NW. We didn’t even have the sunshine here in Seattle that you had in Vancouver. That said, I don’t think that the weather can “create” a serial killer any more than having a gay teacher will make you gay. I also don’t think we have any more serial killers here in the PNW than anywhere else in North America, it just seems that way.

    I don’t think promiscuity drives a street-walking prostitute, it is desperation. Unfortunately, this desperation makes them easy targets for people like Pinkton and Ridgeway.

    Sorry this reply is more subdued than normal, but these are not subjects that deserve levity.

  3. scribe called steff

    Oh, I should speak to that right away — I’m not suggesting promiscuity creates prostitutes! No, no, no. I’m suggesting that certain clients that go there are having sex in the random/casual manner that is what promiscuity is — but I just think the lack of emotion, all of that, it balls up into a strange network of happenings, and not one I’ve even begun to write about yet.

    Street prostitution’s created by a whole lot of social problems that all need fixing, most of the time, or psychological issues, or whatever.

    I’m just saying the promiscuity thing is probably starting this ball rolling on all the strange things that I’m thinking about: Sex without emotions — its benefits, and in the above instances with hiring prostitutes, etc, what its absolute low points can be.

    It’s probably a 180 from the normal topics I write about, but I’m kind of fascinated at the notion of sex driven by anything but emotion right now.

    I’m also not suggesting the weather MAKES serial killers. But given the lower amount of population we’ve got here in the PNW, and the amount of kills for the most notorious killers here, I think the severity of our serial killers is greater… And I forgot to mention Ted Bundy, too. I’m sure there’s a couple more I’ve forgotten, but these guys are all since the ’80s, so…

    I think the weather just establishes a mood, sometimes, and some people are more vulnerable to those fluctuations.

    If I went digging, I could actually find evidence someplace of the Santa Ana winds and other warm-weather currents that blow in off the Pacific, which have the strange coincidence of coinciding with temporary increases in murders, divorces, and suicides — and some scientists have speculated that it’s in conjunction with an increase in negative ions in the air, or something to that effect, but no, they can’t explain it, but they also can’t deny the coincidences happening consistently.

  4. wunelle

    It all makes me wonder at the liabilities that go along with the assets of our characters, and of the differences in the sexes. Men tend, stereotypically, to be more visual, more indiscriminately sexual, more aggressive, blahblahblah. Inflate these things to a cartoon-ish level and we get varying shades of sociopathy.

    Anyway. You correlate some of this dysfunction with your weather. We’ve had a few of our own notorious nutcases here in WI as well–Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer–and our weather can be similar. (Perhaps it’s too much cheese!)

    Looking forward to the next installment!

  5. Goose and Gander

    I too, remember endless cold, dark, grey days in Seattle and how hard it was. Living now in Texas (where we’ve had a few serial killers) we’ve had something like 2 months of sunshine and abnormally warm temperatures (aside from a 3 day freeze and sleet). I need rain and moisture desperately and the dryness is driving me mad. Not trying to complain, but….
    But I remember. Very interesting post, Steff.

  6. scribe called steff

    In retrospect, it’s a really weird posting for here, but hey. I’m a spontaneous gal and I churn this shit out without a second thought, most days. A record of my thoughts, really.

    Listened to the news tonight, and HEY… it’s 26 days straight of rain in Vancouver. Sigh. 27 tomorrow, 28 the day after… there’s another week of rain forecaster… and then? Snow.


    But I know what you mean about the missing-rain thing. My year in the Yukon, I missed rain so much it literally hurt by the time I’d been there eight months. I moved up there after a nearly three-month dry spell that summer, and so I’d gone almost a year without it.

    GayBoy visited and we drove to the Alaskan fjords, where the rain was falling, and I felt like my soul grew three sizes, a la The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. It was so fucking purifying. So, you have my sympathy, I know sort of what you mean — but I’ve also seen the news about your wildfires and shit, so I know you NEED it real, real bad. I wish I could zap some over to ya.


    Caught another story on the news, too, where they said this weather streak can be expected to DRASTICALLY affect 1% of the population’s psyche/moods, but that 70% if the population is bound to be affected in varying degrees, where it actually impacts their lives, and that few, if any, people can completely withstand impact.

    And another note… I’m actually basically a human barometer. As soon as a shift of weather looms, I feel the pressure in my head. I can tell you without a doubt when a change looms… and I can predict fog a day in advance. It’s really fucked up. Never bothered me in the North, but down here, jesus.

  7. wunelle

    You’d be great in an airplane as a kind of human safety device, always at the ready to steer us toward good weather! 😉

    I broke my ankle years ago in a motorcycle accident, and it gives pain which seems to vary with weather conditions too, but not in a way that I’ve been able to make sense out of. I think humidity is bad, but is my fucking ankle! It’s ALWAYS about 99% humidity under my skin… WTF?

  8. J.a.G.

    i like the rain, really i do, but this is starting to grate.

    (and i was in bed when the sun poked its wee head out so who knows when i last saw it!)

  9. scribe called steff

    Wunelle — Heh! I’m not that instantaneous… It’s sort of a slow build. 🙂

    JAG — I like it too. I love a hard rain. But 26 fucking days… I mean, I live in an apartment. I’ve not the room to build a fucking ARK, right? Heh. Just call me Noah!

    I was looking at the Farmer’s Almanac, and though it’s for interior Washington, etc, it’s pretty damned right, if you look at it starting last November… So, the good news is, summer: More sun, warmer than normal… but until then — get yer raingear out.

    Here’s what it says for the PacNorthWest:

    Winter-season temperatures will be milder than normal, on average, with above-normal rainfall and below-normal snowfall. January will be especially mild, with a couple of sunny periods in midmonth. The best chances for snow are in mid-November and late February. The coldest periods will occur in early and mid-December and late February. The stormiest periods will occur in mid-November, late December, early January, and early and mid- to late February.

    April and early May will be cooler and wetter than normal, with little sunshine. The remainder of May will be warmer and drier than normal.

    The summer season will feature abundant sunshine, with above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall. The hottest temperatures will occur in early to mid-June, early July, and early August.

    September and October will be cooler than normal, with below-normal rainfall in September and above-normal rainfall in October.

  10. scribe called steff

    I tell you, I long for nothing more than warm, warm mornings, sunshine, and a reason to get up at the crack of dawn, hop on the scooter, and go for a long, fragrant ride around the coastline and the farms. God, that’d fix EVERYTHING wrong with me right now. MmmM! But in the meantime, I’ll aim for sex.

  11. mhorts

    Yes, let’s return to sex. Its the best thing to do on a dreary, rainy day.

    Keep the rants coming Steff. I, for one, really enjoy them.

    Today’s secret word: “xhawfgcw”

  12. Naomi Niles

    This is my second year living in the Pacific Northwest and I think I’m a little scared now.
    I actually really like the rain, but I know just what you are talking about. Several weeks in a row with no sunshine really gets to you. Last year from January to April or so was super depressing. I was dealing with other issues, but the rain and clouds really got to me after awhile.
    This year I’m trying to be more diligent about getting out when there’s even just a little sun and I started taking a lot of vitamin D already. We’ll see how it goes! I always thought those sun lamps were kind of lame, but they don’t look so bad lately either.
    .-= Naomi Niles´s last blog ..Memory Keepers Site Design =-.

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