I simply don’t know where to start in describing the events of last week, and I’m not entirely sure I should. It was an adventure, nay – an odyssey. There were moments of fun sprinkled on top, but I don’t think I have ever been as happy to cross the threshold of my apartment after a trip. This will take a few entries, but I feel the need to decompress via writing about it.
I arrived in Buffalo on Friday the 5th and walked to the Enterprise Desk to pick up my rental car. I was second in line, but a mass of people quickly built up behind me as the woman in front argued that the price she was being charged was not what she’d been quoted. As her suitcase was held together with duct tape, I quickly assumed the woman was not a frequent flier. The counter person handled herself well and, much to the dismay of the disgruntled hippy, called me forward. “I have never in 7 years seen anyone quoted a price anywhere near that low, ma’am.” Moonbeam pulled out a prehistoric cell phone, claiming she’d call the Enterprise office she’d first talked to, which she promptly dropped and shattered on the floor. I briefly felt sorry for her until I realized I still had to drive 2 hours to Toronto in the pouring rain and that I’d sooner she just shut up and fuck off.
When I got down to the rental garage, after a credit card counter mishap of my own, I was pleasantly surprised to see a PT Cruiser brought around for me. I am not a huge ‘car guy,’ and initially thought the vehicle was pretty sweet. I pictured Frank Nitty firing a tommy gun from the window, or a bunch of surfboards sticking out the back. Little was I to know the level of ridicule I would receive over the next 10 days, as apparently ‘PT Losers’ and ‘those cars for gays’ aren’t that highly regarded amongst my Canadian friends and family. Still, I liked it.
I made it over the border, down the QEW, over the Gardiner Express way and up Spadina to Jason and Amy’s without incident. After a very wet greeting from Marj the border collie (pictures forthcoming) we picked up Richie and went out for pizza. After dinner, a long discussion over what a ‘gusset’ was, and an hour of YouTube back at Richie’s we all hit the hay. If the three of us had read this paragraph 10 years ago, we’d have scoffed. But it was good.
Saturday we got up and took Marj to the dog park where she befriended an ungroomed miniature poodle named Allie. Allie’s owner, a friendly 60-something man, chatted to us for awhile and I quickly realized more of the potential fun of dog ownership. He knew everyone who passed us who even said hello to his little dog by name. Although I love my Boss I think he may be getting a playmate/nemesis shortly after my move. I have no idea as to breed yet, and will have to give this careful consideration.
In the afternoon we went to Duff’s for wings and eventually ended up back at the house with J’s sisters, husband and kids who are all rapidly becoming favorite people of mine. Oh, and Ryan was there too. Then I scooted off to the Rose and Crown as I had… wait for it… a date. When I decided to move to T.O. I changed the zip code on my old Match profile and re-launched it – just to cushion the blow a little bit, as it was not an easy decision. Within a day I had gotten a wink from a lovely gal who I’d chatted with on and off up until my unplanned visit. On a spur, we decided to get a beer. I wouldn’t be mentioning it if it hadn’t gotten interesting.
She was a lot of fun, and we were having a grand old time when I started to get text messages from JV. “Hurry up with the broad and let’s get going.” came the first. I knew he wanted to go meet Richie at TuCats later on, and I told him I didn’t think the date would last long as she’d told me before hand she had to get up at 5am. I texted back that I’d call him when we were done, and to fuck off. The next message came in: “Look over to your left“.
I spun my head around quickly and just caught two shapes ducking behind a post opposite my table. The girl asked if my friends were here, and I sheepishly told her that I thought they were. She stood up, walked over behind the post and said “Well you might as well come over and join us now”. Nick and JV sat down at our booth like two little schoolboys who’d just bee caught peeking into the girls’ bathroom. My date gets full credit for that ballsy move, and I’ll be coming back for her like Chuck Norris when I move up there on the strength of that alone.
We were piling into the SUV a half hour later and headed over to the aforementioned bar where a gang of Welland kids were supposedly waiting for us. As I walked up to the front door, I heard a voice say “Oh my God, it’s you.” I turned to look at the doorman, and realized it was a great guy who had worked for me at the Bullring 10 years earlier. I think that might have been the moment when I really felt 100% good about this move. I have roots and affinities there, and I miss them. I may not stay in Canada past the dealings with my family, but I need to go stay. More to come.