Saturday, February 2, 2008

Country Gal Hits the Big City

Woohoo! I was off to Toronto for the OLA Superconference to do the Mega-Book Launch with CANSCAIP. Now I'm just a country*** gal so going to the big city in the WINTER is a big deal. I exercised my transportation options. Here's how the journey went:

1. Walked to my car. Drove to the bus stop (hey, it's about 26 km so I wasn't walking!).

2. Hopped on the Ontario Northland bus. It was a smooth and entirely uneventful trip.

3. Disembarked at the terminal, walked to the TTC enduring the stares of fashionably footed ladies at my functional and admittedly clunky winter footwear.

4. Got on the TTC subway and, after much jostling, got off at the right stop, recovered from momentary disorientation back at street level, backtracked after walking in the wrong direction, and

5. Reached Destination! Phew!

Now the trip back was somewhat more entertaining due both to the weather (snow storm) and to those sharing the bus with me. So the trip looked like this:

1. Slogged through more slush on Toronto streets than any human should ever have to experience in their entire life. I don't know if my pant cuffs will ever recover. Oh yeah, and don't discount the heart-stopping excitement of having a ball of slush flung by highspeed winds off a building narrowly miss your head. But no one questioned my unfashionable and clunky choice of footwear there!

2. Waited at bus terminal and watched the pigeons stroll under the seats and between feet. Admired the "Do NOT feed the pigeons" sign. Concluded it does little good.

3. Hauled bags to the bus lineup, gave sympathetic look to those still waiting for bus to London to show up as I skipped to front of the line with others headed north. Got on the Grey Hound.

4. Selected comfortable seat. Bus ride was underway when the unmistakable Fetid Aroma of Rectal Turbulence engulfed me from behind. I am surprised I am alive to write this. WHY do people do that??? Said stench occured at regular intervals for the first hour of the trip (and you're asking yourself why didn't I just get up and relocate myself but, well, the answer to that would probably get into the psychology of being raised to be a nice, polite little girl so we won't go there). At stopover the offending individual disembarked and I silently rejoiced. But darnit if he didn't get back on and sit right back down before the bus took off again. So I waited...and waited...and waited to be accosted with the same stench but--wonder of wonders!--he must have dealt with the root cause of the problem. Yippee!! But I spoke too soon. Suddenly a gagging wave of Old Spice or something leapt upon me, causing my eyes to water and forcing me to filter my O2 through my turtleneck. Ever heard of the saying "A dab'll do ya"? Obviously NOT. But I was thankful for small mercies. At least it was better than the previous olfactory offense.

5. Bus gets behind a plow procession so next leg of the trip takes at least twice as long as it should. Having finished the book I'd brought along, I spend the time watching the reflection of Casino Royale in the window coming from the portable DVD player of the kid in front of me.

6. Man who has missed a bus to his destination gets on and proclaims to one and all that he will take a taxi to his destination once we're at the next station. His cell phone proceeds to ring at least every 5 minutes. No kidding. Now there were a lot of cell phones on that bus but this particular guy had his particular phone go off particularly often. And he was obviously arguing with someone on the other end. Phrases like "I'm going to get a cab..." and "I missed the bus to..." and "What am I supposed to do..." and so on informed all the rest of us of way more detail of his life than we ever wanted to know and for sure didn't ask. At one point, and this is at least after 10 calls, the guy yelled, "I'm on the &@## bus!" And take it from me when I say that, at this point, I think we all wanted to grab the phone from him and yell "Look, he actually is on the &@## bus!" Sheesh.

7. Wearily disembarked at destination station. Brushed snow off car. Scraped ice off windsheild (Note to self: Do not park with windshield facing road where it will be exposed to slush thrown by plow subsequently freezing into inch think gunk which is impossible to see through and even more impossible to remove in a timely manner). Drive into snowstorm.

8. Reach HOME!

***Disclaimer: term refers to preferred habitat and is not to be construed to relate in any way to preferred music genre despite eponymous similarity to country music band Rascal Flatts.

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