On Wednesday and Thursday I was in Toronto for a meeting. I learned many things during those two days, almost none of which was related to the reason I was actually there.
(I was there for the first meeting of an advisory group that’s forming about a subject that I hold near and dear to my heart. It’s really cool, but.. I still have no idea how I was chosen to be a part of it. Since it was the first meeting, there was a lot of time spent on introductions and terms of reference and similar things and not a lot of learning took place for me.)
Let me tell you some of the things that I discovered, realized or learnt – in no particular order. There’s a bit of back-story to go along with my learnings, of course.
When we moved into this house, we replaced the existing toilet seats and lids with the kind that are considered to be “gentle closing”. To close the seat (and the lid) you simply flick your finger at the top of the lid. It then sloooooooowly closes. Silently! No THUD! and no SLAM!
I do not spend much time thinking about this. I adapted to the ‘flick’ and, well, yeah. That’s it.
But, at the hotel, they did not have “gentle closing” toilet lids. As a result, I slammed the hell out of the toilet lid at least eight times. I am sure the people in the room next to mine wondered what the hell was wrong with me.
If I am at your home, and you hear a loud BANG! from the bathroom, please know that I am totally more startled than you. And be glad that I have recently emptied my bladder.
I also (re-)learned that cable tv is shit.
We’ve lived without any form of ‘live’ television for many years – happily downloading, renting, or borrowing things that we wanted to watch. Sometimes I miss the whole “turn it on and watch” thing – where you didn’t have to wait for some show to become available. At the same time, I love that we now basically watch entire seasons of shows all at once, without commercials, and can watch multiple episodes in an evening if we want.
In other words, I have completely forgotten the awfulness that is cable tv.
The commercials! There’s more of them than there is actual TV show! They’re obnoxious and repetitive and awful. They happen at key plot points in shows and they go on FOREVER and then they return to the show and you get 30 seconds of the actual show before the commercials come back and… WTF?!
The commercials are indeed awful.. but that’s assuming you actually find something worth watching. As I was flipping through the channels, I started to think someone was playing a practical joke on me. There’s a TV show about.. shipping things? WHAT? How is this a thing people watch?
Toddlers & Tiaras! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! Holy crap, people, I knew it existed – a show about children in beauty pageants – but.. ohmygod, what is WRONG with these people?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM?! The parents are clearly insane, ALL OF THEM, and the children are insane and.. I didn’t last very long watching that show.
It helped me understand a lot about the society in which I live. A society in which people pay a lot of money to willingly sit and watch this crap. Hoooo, boy.
I am a night-time shower-er. Over the years, I have accepted that showering in the morning just doesn’t go well for me – I tend to either deny that I need a shower (“My hair ALWAYS looks.. slick.”) or I stand under the water for waaaaay longer than I should (and am thus late and anxious when I finally get out of there). So, I shower at night and let my hair air-dry and then I go to sleep and wake up at the last possible moment. ALL GOOD.
For my entire life – all of it – I have had really fine, thin, limp hair. It doesn’t hold a curl, it doesn’t hold a perm, it just.. hangs there. No amount of “product” can help me. Over time I have accepted this and just live with it. It’s pretty easy to ‘do’ my hair in the morning, let me say.
On the day of the meeting, however, the hotel shower, like magic, made my hair puffy.
At first, I was entertained – puffy! hair! me?! NEAT! But then I realized that I had absolutely no idea what to do with it. I didn’t have anything to put in it – no spray or gel or.. whatever? So I wet it down again and crammed my sunglasses on top of my head.
I felt ridiculous all day. PUFFY HAIR!
I don’t know what’s in Toronto’s water, or what kind of showerhead that was, but I have learnt that my limp hair is a-okay with me. Coffee posited that it was the hard water (we have softened water at home) since I was also ridiculously itchy after showering there.
I have been dousing myself in moisturiser since getting home.
You already know that, with some regularity, I decide that I miss living in Toronto. It’s hard to say which part(s) of it I miss, but I suspect a lot of it is just the life that I had there (despite it being, in some ways, one of the hardest times of my life). I loved walking around the various parts of the city, I loved the friends I had there, I loved the routines I had.
And so, every once in a while, I get the idea in my head that I’d like to move back there. I start thinking that I could get a job there, in my field, and maybe I could start off by commuting there and, eventually, move back to the city. I could always go back to my old field of work if needed and make a reasonable living. (Never mind that we couldn’t afford the rest of life in Toronto with 3 kids and dogs and the like with which to contend. NEVER MIND THAT.)
On Thursday it took me over 3 hours to drive home from Toronto – and I departed from the city a few minutes after 3 in the afternoon. (That’s not a time that will EVER be acceptable to an employer – and definitely not for the sort of work that I do.) In contrast, it took me about 1.5 hours to drive there on Wednesday afternoon.
By the time I got home I was cured of any desire to commute to Toronto. (I would still like to move back there, though.)
The traffic in Toronto was another lesson.
I consider myself to be a decent driver. Yes, I often exceed the speed limit (ahem) but I’m consistent and I use my turn signals and I leave space for other cars and, in general, I’m considerate. I’m not too passive but I’m also not like a lot of the people in Toronto who made me literally scream profanity at the top of my lungs. There’s a big difference between driving defensively and driving like a complete fucking lunatic – - and several people crossed that line in a big way. I wished I had a camera on my dash for some of the moves that people pulled in traffic.
(Note to self – if moving back to Toronto, sell both cars.)
And that’s it. That’s my update on my trip to Toronto. TA DA.
(There were no exciting hijinx on the Wednesday night because I had a migrainey-headache and ended up staying in my hotel room watching the aforementioned crap TV and playing around on Facebook. I had hoped to tell you about my city wanderings but, alas, no.)