From Suits on Sale to Suits of Armour

Even with all the sitting around and not doing very much, our trip to Toronto went quickly. And it’s not like we did very much at all, and I definitely had time to update this, but…well…I didn’t.

Tuesday

Last Tuesday we were meant to go hiking in Algonquin Provincial Park for the express purpose of seeing at least one moose. It would have been the perfect moose-sighting time as well. Bec and Al had had two sightings while there on the weekend, which, combined with their five moose sightings at the same time of year a couple of years ago, meant they’d seen seven. We’d yet to see one.

We toyed with the idea of going anyway, of me sitting in the back with my leg rested on a folded down car seat, but we decided against it. It’s a six-hour round-trip, followed with however long spent in the car with reduced visibility and no guarantee of seeing one from the road. We saved ourselves the trouble and went shopping instead.

Julian had hired a wheelchair with a raised leg so I didn’t have to perch on a crutch underneath my butt. Unfortunately, the footpaths in Toronto aren’t the greatest so there were plenty of bumps and jolts along the way – and that’s without leaving the condo block. We went for breakfast at Croissant Tree and then into Hudson’s Bay to buy more branded merchandise. We almost bought sheets but settled instead for another towel (why we only bought one I’m not sure) and some socks and a couple of mugs. Then I bought a suit.

Reasons for buying a suit:

  1. Glen decided to buy a shirt that wasn’t on sale and in his guilt acquiesced to me buying a suit that
  2. Was on sale and after trying it on
  3. Looked amazing on me.

I can’t wait to get to wear it properly.

After shopping we had intended to go to the bank to sort out our bank accounts but my knee had been jolted enough and was starting to hurt so Julian and I went home while Glen went back and forth to the bank.

A couple of months ago Glen noticed some fraudulent charges on our Canadian bank account. He rang them, they stopped his card, returned most of the charges and said he’d have to go into a branch to get a new card (and internet access to the account again). Apparently all these charges were attached to his Visa Debit Card…which hadn’t been used for at least ten months (if ever as I was the one who always got the cash out). Luckily, we were going to Canada so we could sort this out.

He went to the bank, got a new card, came home, activated it…and found two more fraudulent charges on the account made that very day. He went back to the bank. Apparently it was my card. Why TD couldn’t tell us that to begin with, especially when they’d said it was Glen’s card is beyond me. I rang, cancelled the card (after a long and frustrating phone call) and that was the end of it. I went to the bank about a week later and got a new card.

Most of the rest of the afternoon was spent at Julian’s, however, we did venture down to the Eaton Centre to buy clothes from Abercrombie and Fitch, then look at the new TORONTO sign at Nathan Philips Square before getting a burger.

Again, Tuesday, and in fact our whole stay, was subjected to perfect weather, the kind of summer weather that made the long winter months in Toronto so joyous. It was weather you couldn’t help but feel happy about, with bright sunshine, clear skies, and warmth. Perth summer? Couldn’t care less. Toronto summer? Can’t get enough. Which made it all the more maddening that going outside was such a pain.

In the evening we went to The Carbon Bar with Julian, Pete and Royden, stuffing our faces on their tasting menu. Honestly, there was just way too much food. We didn’t take the wheelchair but instead I alternated between being carried on Glen’s back across the road, then side-stepping like a crab or walking backwards while dragging my bound leg. I looked like an idiot, then and every time since. Still I was able to get around, though doing so mostly caused my knee to swell afterwards and led to more pain.

Wednesday

One of the things I’d been looking forward to for this trip – apart from friends – was going to my hairdresser. As weird and “first world problems” as it sounds, when we returned to Perth this was one of the things that made coming back so hard. Yes, it’s ridiculous but I hadn’t warmed to a hairdresser like this since I was in high school. A couple of months back Glen and I made appointments with Steve and today was the day.

Pete drove us there and kept us company while Glen first and then me second had our hair done. Glen’s was pretty quick, mine took longer. I’d left it to grow for two months and it was already long in the front at that point. My fringe had now gotten down to my chin. Steve had plenty to work with and he didn’t disappoint. It’s now been tamed again, and much shorter (my fringe comes down to the bottom of my nose), and I feel better for it.

After the haircuts, Pete dropped us off for lunch with one of the radiologists that Glen worked with and then afterwards we caught a taxi back to the condo. Half the ride was spent trying to explain to the driver how I’d hurt my leg and where it had happened, despite giving him all this information within the first couple of minutes. He just wasn’t listening. Perhaps our accents were too strong. I eventually stopped trying and left Glen to deal with it. The benefit of sitting in the backseat is you can generally avoid this kind of crap.

The whole trip I’ve had people ask what happened to my leg and being the polite person I am, I respond, though my answers got shorter and shorter. I said to Glen that one time I’d say I got kicked by a horse. It seems that I had become public property and therefore free to talk about. Sure, people might be curious but screw your curiosity.

I imagine it would be similar for pregnant women who are obviously showing, strangers freely asking when they’re due or, worse still, putting their hands on their belly. People ask for their own sakes, not out of concern or to offer assistance. When one of the staff at the Art Institute of Chicago asked me about it, I think I responded in four words and turned away. Out of the other people in the elevator, he honed in on me.

To be honest, it’s even worse than the odd looks I was getting for walking backwards or sideways. At least they didn’t say anything. /endrant

In the evening, Julian, Glen, Kevin and I went to Medieval Times for their dinner and a show. It’s as corny as you’d expect. You’re seated around an arena where knights on horseback perfect feats of skill and act out a tournament to win the hand of the princess. We were seated in green section, and, because of the wheelchair, were on the top level next to the king and princess.

The knights “kill” each other off in their fight to marry the princess and then the bad guy comes in an the remaining knight kills him. With two swords if I remember rightly. Of course, if the six knights hadn’t been too busy killing or maiming one another, there’d be more of them to defeat the bad guy. Men!

The audience, made up mostly of school children, cheered and jeered, barracking for their chosen knight (we were assigned colours and then the knight with the corresponding coloured), ecstatic at the ritual slaughter going on before us. You could easily imagine them getting excited about really blood and real danger. I was more worried about the horses.

The food was better than expected. There were no utensils so we drank the soup out of our bowl and ate the chicken and potato with our fingers. The waitress (sorry, wench), when collecting our plates, poured the remains of the soup over me and disappeared. Julian hurried off to get club soda and all was well in the land.

Apart from all the school children, there was a retirement party taking place. The master of ceremonies read out a long list of welcomes to various schools (even one from Montreal), along with birthdays and anniversaries, and then a list of this retiring guy’s achievements and time with the company, much like a eulogy. I wondered if the guy had chosen this place for his final work hurrah or the company had done it for him.

The night drew to a close and I was wheeled out through hordes of children, ready to shout at any who got to near, and then we were outside. We’ve been to Medieval Times now. It is done. Afterwards we stopped by Kevin’s place to check out his new apartment and then, eager for sleep in our still jet-lagged state, we went home.

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