Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Last Day in Toronto

All of my worldly possessions fit inside a suitcase and a small bag. Needless to say, the suitcase was heavy as hell, as I discovered when I tried trundling it down the hall. Holding it by the topmost handle would not prevent it tipping upright and scuffling bumpily. I could only manage the correct tilting elevation by tying a scarf to the handle, gripping it with a gloved hand.My second obstacle came when I opened the door; sleet and snow. Lurching around with a bag off my shoulder and tugging on a bescarfed suitcase was, I realised, only the beginning of my troubles. As I rooted through my flawlessly-packed belongings, the singular thought ran through my mind: James Bond never had to put up with this kind of crap.
Swaying madly like Mary Poppins attempting a wind-assisted chimney-top landing, I dragged my suitcase, lugged my bag, and balanced my umbrella through the heavily-puddled Toronto streets, the tiny wheels on the case often waterlogged and besnowed. My hand would cramp as if bewildered at being required to support a 20kg scarf; the pain would grow every ten metres, scream every forty, and cause my grip to completely release every sixty metres. Pedestrians were treated to the spectacle of a small pile of perambulating luggage pause, utter a string of oaths, flex an extended hand, and continue for a short distance before repeated the cycle.
Public transport requires tokens. These are sold at stations and at convenience stores, but no stores within one block in any direction of my station sold such things. The woman at the subway station kiosk refused my bank card. Cash only, she said, everywhere now, tokens are cash only.
I went back to the street, up two flights of stairs (four iterations of dropping, swearing, flexing) to my bank to withdraw the required sum: $2.75. "Are you having a good day?" the cashier asked me brightly. "I have," I replied,"had better."
Two flights of stairs and now five iterations of misery later, I had my token and proceeded to the subway platform, to the sight of my train moving slowly but deliberately away from me. I waited for fifteen minutes in good humour, now being out of the rain and snow and not having parts of my body shrieking in freakish agony. The short trip -- just two stops -- took me to a connecting subway train. This time was much better, as I was able to throw my suitcase at the closing doors with an involuntary wail. The suitcase fell three metres short, which demonstrated either my optimism or my state of surreality. The conductor perked up considerably at my string of invectives; Canadians so seldom witness anything resembling genuine expressions of emotion.
The next train was a mere ten minutes away, and took twenty to reach the end of the line. From there it was a simple bus ride to the airport, where I disembarked at the international terminal two kilometres from the correct international terminal. Once I had discovered this, I took the shuttle to Terminal 1, where I proceeded with all haste to the United Airlines check-in counter. I was pleased that I could see precisely where to wait, and that I was in time to check in for my flight by five minutes.
Attempts to scan my passport proved inconclusive. Eventually a uniformed attendant came to assist. "Oh, yes." he said. "That's an Air Canada flight."
"But it says United Airlines." I protested. "Look, right on the ticket." He looked at me with a countenance more in sorrow than in anger. "It's an Air Canada flight, sir. You'll have to move along."
Air Canada I found similar to United Airlines in one respect: neither would scan my passport. Another assistant bustled along. "Oh yes." she said. "It's too late to check in. You'll have to wait for the next flight on standby. Wait here and someone will assist you."
I had left the hotel three hours before, and I had missed my check-in time by nine minutes.
I waited for fifteen minutes for the single available Air Canada desk.

They expedited my bags and guided me personally through Customs...

...because i's not often you see a grown man cry.


Anonymous said...

Seen: A tearful LL leaving a Toronto airport. Looks like someone has lost their great Canadian dream


Gossip Enis

Anonymous said...

oh man thats grim 9 minutes! what are you gonna do in NZ? I leaving london, this winter is killing me and im sick of avoiding depressed bankers jumping off tall buildings. auckland will seem warm and comfortable after canada


Logan Longbourne said...

If you guys don't leave your email addresses, witty replies will not be forthcoming.

Anonymous said...

Where are you heading now?

We need locations, dates, eta's

But mostly dates



Logan Longbourne said...

I am living in a lower-middle-class level of comfort in Tauranga, where I hope to celebrate Xmas with as few relatives as possible, and New Years with vodka but without pants.
In January I will move to Auckland, as it has suburbs with relatively low levels of the white trash with which New Zealand is heavily infested.

Anonymous said...

Rofl, aka pofl, nee mofl

As they say, "Hardcore, do you want more, cooking raw, with the brooklyn boys"

Love from white trash central,

H-Town Harry

Logan Longbourne said...

So for one last time I need y'all to roar.
Now what the hell are you waiting for.