See you on the other side …

Well possums (to steal a phrase from Dame Edna), I’m off to the U.K.

While I’m gone, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do (actually, go right ahead. I want to come back and have people tell me tonnes of stories).

If I get chances during my trip, I’ll try to blog and post some pictures. It’ll most likely be via Flickr, since the ol’ Blogspot won’t let me do it, for some strange reason. And even if you can’t see them, I’ll put them up when I get back.

Time to go cause some havoc!

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Annoying Transit Habit #6 : Seat Crushing

I had finally reached the end of my cross-city travels for the day, having run around for the last several hours picking up much needed items for my trip.

Having just missed the Middlefield bus, I raced toward the McCowan bus, which luckily had no driver as yet. It was barely even full, which was a bigger bonus.

I lugged myself and all my bags (including a new carry-on backpack for my trip) to the very back of the bus – in the corner – and sat down.

Of course, I noticed a couple of the passengers staring at me. I hate people who stare. It makes me feel like I’ve got two heads or something. Plus I think it’s just plain rude. So I stared right back at them until they’d look away. Then I’d catch them staring at me again (or maybe in my general direction), so I’d look right back at them.

Then one of them, a middle-aged East Indian guy with one of those briefcases with all the compartments (who had been standing mid-way down the bus from me), decides to sit down. Not in a seat where he could take advantage of all the space. Not in the middle of the empty back row, which only had one other passenger, sitting at the back on the other end of the row. Right next to me.

And the ride only got worse from there. Until the man got off at Finch, it was like he was trying to crush me and my multiple bags out of my seat. He was practically pressing up against me. At one point, I’m pretty sure I was leaning to the right to avoid his elbow, which was practically digging into my ribs. For serious – he was sitting with his elbows sticking straight out. I kept trying to straighten up to regain some of my buffer zone and to let him know without saying anything that he was crowding me out. Apparently he either didn’t get it or was used to sitting among people smaller than me.

At one point, I straightened up and nudged him. Of course, stupid me, I said “sorry”. (I’ve GOT to stop doing that.) I was so relieved when he got up.

I know that the seats themselves don’t allow for a lot of room. But what happened to respect for personal space?

This isn’t the first time this has happened. I remember getting crushed against the wall of a subway car months ago by this really thick black woman. Not fat. Thick. And the winter jacket only added to it. She pinned me in the bucket seat for, like, 14 stops. It was unbearable. I couldn’t even take a nap, it was so uncomfortable.

Seriously, seat-crushers – ease UP! Maybe I look slender or something to you. Believe me, I’m not. Give me a couple of inches’ worth of buffer space! It’s folks like you that make me hate public transit. Grrr!

She’s no Zanta …

A couple of mornings ago, I boarded the slightly-crowded Rapid Transit out of Scarborough, as is part of my usual commuting routine to get downtown.

So there I was, saddled down with bags, newspaper tucked under my arm and minding my own business, when I heard this unintelligible nattering behind me. And then I felt this hand give me a semi hard tap just above my elbow. I turned around … and saw her.

And by “her”, I mean this crazy Chinese lady who I swear just rides up and down the subway all day. I immediately stood near the doorway and gave her a quick glare.

I was already annoyed by the fact I couldn’t read my paper. But having her on the subway really made my ride a little less pleasant. I’ve seen her a number of times before, so she’s not new to me. It’s not the fact she yammers and sometimes raises her voice in an unintelligible language that’s neither English, nor seems to be Cantonese. It’s not even the fact she sometimes scratches her long, dandruff-y hair, or that she can’t look directly at you because one of her eyes rolls to the left.

It’s this unbelieveably irritating habit she has of snatching newspapers out of other people’s hands like she can’t stand the crinkling and rustling of the pages, stuffing it behind her, and then proceeding to take it out a few minutes later and pretend to read it. I witnessed this later on in the trip to the subway. Some kid was reading a leftover copy of the Epoch Times to pass the time, and Crazy Paper Lady just reached across, past the passenger sitting between them, and slapped the paper out of the poor guy’s hand. Then she proceeded to stuff it behind her, then pull it out a few minutes later like she just noticed it was there, pretend to read it, then stuff it back behind her, only to pull it out again and pretend to read it.

The guy was pretty good-natured, and gave her the customary “crazy lady …” look that anyone would have. But seriously, though – for whatever reason, I was mad. I mean, I know the woman can’t help it – she’s mentally ill. But irrational thought had already taken over. I was trying to picture myself in that same situation and lemme tell you, the outcome wasn’t good.

I pictured myself snatching that paper back, rolling it up and whacking her with it. I even imagined myself towering over her trying to wrestle that paper back from her. For real – is this what white-collar rage is like? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure I’m an eye-twitch away from choking the woman if I ever run into her again.

Seriously, having Zanta on the RT would probably be more entertaining … mmm, wait. Maybe not.

Summer Movie Quota: Filled


Yes folks, just like I said I would, I got in my serving of summer blockbusters, just in time for
vacation.

On Canada Day weekend, I saw Nacho Libre. Yes, I admit – it was a wee bit silly and probably not all that funny. But c’mon – Jack Black. With a man-perm. In stretchy white polyester pants. Enough said. And – spoiler! not really – I thought that song he sang for the nun before his big fight was a nice touch.

AND there was also the brief appearance of Peter Stormare, a.k.a Abruzzi from my favourite show, Prison Break, as the Gypsy Emperor. I need not say anything else.

A couple weeks ago, I went to go see The Devil Wears Prada (which I’d never read). I was pleasantly surprised. It was GOOD. I’m not normally a chick-flick kind of person, but seriously? Who can’t relate to having a job where they’ve worked for someone they don’t feel like they can ever impress with their hard work?

Yes, some of it was exaggerated (loved the one-upmanship with the whole Harry Potter manuscript incident – it was on like Donkey Kong!), but that’s the beauty of fiction. This was a book that actually works as a movie. And plus, I was seduced by all the clothes and sleek movie cinematography. For about a nanosecond, I wanted to live in New York and work for a fashion magazine. Then I shook my head a couple times and my Pepsi-induced haze cleared.

And last night, I stopped the straggling and went with my friend Patty to see the second installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. Dead Man’s Chest was – again, I’m biased – good, and that’s because I knew what I was getting going into the movie. I didn’t need to be challenged, and that was fine.

I do agree with my friend Kristy, who saw the movie before me – it was a bit on the longish side. The special effects were decent. And the white sand in some of those scenes. MAN! Wish I could take up residence somewhere like that, like, right now. But I can’t wait to see the third one and see how it all comes together. Plus I hear Keith Richards is going to be in the movie (not a spoiler, common knowledge!), and nothing entertains me more than seeing the Original Arthritic Cockroach in action. Heh.

I did sneak another movie in there, but it wasn’t one of the overhyped ones. If I do see anything else before I go on vacation, or before the Film Festival in September, I don’t think it’ll be anything above the calibre of, say, John Tucker Must Die or My Super Ex-Girlfriend. A girl needs to flush the junk through her system to make way for the good stuff.

Onwards, theatre-goers!

Jumping the Pond in 10 Days …


Wow! I can’t believe July is almost over. Sorry I haven’t been as bloggy as I should. It’s been a busy month with my job and just trying to be out and about socially.

I also can’t believe I’ll be on a plane to London in nine days … and that I’m STILL not ready!

I’ve got so much to do, and so little time to do it in, I just don’t know where to start. I’m excited but anxious at the same time. Well, at least I managed to buy myself a guidebook of Britain.

Eeeeee!

I’d better start making a list – no futzing around this week.

The Broken Camera Chronicles – Done, for now …

So, my battle for a camera that works has ended. For the moment, anyway.

Prior to last week, I hadn’t called Best Buy in about two to three weeks, as I was busy with other things. I decided to check in on what is now my least favourite electronics store to find out what lies they were going to tell me this time.

On Tuesday, I called Best Buy to check on whether my camera had returned. Keep in mind, I dropped it off for repairs on May 8th. The guy from Geek Squad said he’d check on the status and would call me back.

Went to the gym and came out close to 7 p.m. No call. Took the subway, then the rapid transit into Scarborough. Still, no call. That’s it, I said. I’m near the Best Buy, I might as well trudge over there. So trudge, I did. Waited in the customer service line in my gym clothes and my big hobo backpack. Got up to the counter and told the guy I was checking up on my broken camera, and someone had called me but I hadn’t heard from him. The guy said he’d go and check.

Unbeknownst to me, the first guy from earlier called me, leaving a message that my camera was still “in repair”. This was completely different from the “in transit” I got from the previous guy about three weeks ago. I happened to check my phone about three minutes after he called. Where in the store he was calling from, I still don’t know.

The second guy (presently) helping me returned to tell me the camera’s status was “in transit”. I said, “Well, funny you should mention that, because your colleague who’d called me earlier just called my cell to tell me it’s still in repair, which is contradictory to what you’re telling me.” The guy said he’d go in the back and check, just to make sure.

To fast-forward this story, because Best Buy had my camera over 60 days (63 at that time, to be exact), they had to exchange it for a brand-new camera. Of course, I could only get the equivalent, since my camera (a) was only 4 megapixels (and the new ones are at least 6 megapixels now ) and (b) it had depreciated in value over the last year – $100, to be exact. And the Best Buy extended warranty was used to “pay” for the new camera.

I opted not to get one for my new camera, because it’s a waste of money.

So I got my new camera on Thursday, which I guess means BB and I are even. I’ll ride out the warranty that comes with the camera, until I have to get a new one. Then I’m going to go to Henry’s. Where they KNOW what they’re doing.

Four girls, a spa … and a former Governor-General?


What a weekend!

My friend Helen arranged to surprise our friend Jeannie with a day at the spa as a belated birthday present.

This wasn’t just any spa, as I found out. Nuh-uh. We’re talking about the Haldimand Hills Spa Village, a.k.a. Ste. Anne’s. Also known as, What I Hope Heaven Is Like When I Die.

The day started early. Three of us — Helen, our other friend Veronica, and myself — met at Jeannie and her boyfriend’s condo to pick her up. At this point, she was still under the impression we were going to Sandbanks Provincial Park (which is what Helen told her).

We thought she may have gotten suspicious, but she had absolutely no clue whatsoever. Not when we turned onto the gravel road and we passed the “Welcome to Ste. Anne’s Spa” sign. Not even when we parked and walked up through the beautifully landscaped courtyard into the main reception area.

When our orientation guide sat us down to explain how things worked, she said with a dazed look on her face, “Um … so you mean there’s no beach?” Completely priceless.

Before Saturday, I’d never ever been to a spa in my entire life. If you caught me on the right day, I’d probably even wrinkle my nose and call the whole thing a frou-frou waste of money.

Now you’re preaching to the converted. Yes, it’s still an extreme luxury, but even if I never go to a spa ever again, it was worth every penny (and all the Aveda products that I’ll never get access to again).

It was ridiculous. We all got these robes to lounge around in all day, and a towel. While Veronica was whisked away for a Thai massage, the three of us remaining started off in a hot tub, then a lap pool (you can generate little waves with the slap of a button). Then we moved into an insanely intense steam room, which blasted eucalyptus into the room, like, every two minutes.

I had a yoga class with, may I say, a HOT instructor. (Jeannie said later that she and Helen had the same instructor for an afternoon class, and he touched her foot as part of a demonstration of one of the poses they practiced. Well, dang.) Even though I only cantaloupe bits for breakfast on the drive up, I luckily I didn’t poot and make an ass of myself, so I was happy for that much.

This was followed by a five-minute neck-and-shoulder massage, my first one ever. SO good, I had to make sure I didn’t drool onto the face rest.

We then regrouped for lunchtime, which was great. I got a small homemade pizza. But not just any pizza. It had an almond-flour crust, and even though I apparently could only choose from getting smoked salmon or chicken on it, I managed to get a half-and-half.

The afternoon was the highlight of my day. I got my first ever full-body Swedish massage. Oh. My. God. It was heavenly. AND they have these outdoor gazebos (which are actually like enclosed huts), so imagine getting a massage and hearing nothing but the breeze blowing through the trees … it was perfect.

We met again for afternoon tea, which we enjoyed under a patio umbrella in the sun. I tried not to stuff myself silly so soon after having lunch, but it was a challenge.

Then Veronica and I hightailed it back into the building for our 45-minute facials. Like a massage, but from the shoulders up. I think also actually put cucumber slices over your eyes. I’ve always thought this was something they made up for TV shows or movies.

The four of us met up again, and spend part of our remaining time there in a huge hammock under one of the open gazebos. Pure perfection, I say.

There were two things I couldn’t help noticing:

1) For whatever reason, I was peeing like a racehorse. Usually I pride myself on holding my bladder like a camel stores water. But that day, I felt like I had THE smallest bladder on the property. And I wasn’t the only one complaining about having to use the facilities for the umpteeth time, either. My theory is that there was something in the water. I have nothing to substantiate that, but I haven’t been like that since.

2) I’m pretty sure I saw former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson there. I’m known to be wrong, but I saw this tiny, older Chinese woman in a bathing suit earlier in the day, and while trying not to stare at her to make sure, I had that moment of face-recognition in my mind. You know the one – when you look at someone and if you recognize them, you have a name instantly flash in your mind.

I was thinking, “Nah”, until a little while later, I heard her say something to someone else, and I noticed her voice was definitely a deep alto. And later, when I was chilling with Veronica on one of the long chairs on the lawn, I noticed the same lady about four chairs down, under a huge tree, reading a book. She was kinda turned away from us, but I was pretty sure it was her. Given how expensive the place is — and people book whole weekends there! — it would definitely be the type of place she’d go to.

Beyond all that, I’m so glad I went. Maybe it’ll help me deal with returning to reality. With a thud.