My Week 20 – Stuck In Traffic, and Revolving Doors

Thursday : I find ways to amuse myself when I’m stuck in traffic.

Now that I live in Toronto during the week, I have the best commute of my life. I go down one elevator, cross a street, and go up another elevator. It’s 2 minutes, if the walk light is green. I don’t have to get up at 6’oclock anymore, and even though it’s absolutely frigid outside (Toronto keeps having “extreme cold weather warnings”), I’m never outside long enough to care. I worry about the homeless though, which a lot of Torontonians don’t seem to understand. I told someone the other day that there are no homeless people in the town where I live and she was shocked. Well, there are only 500 people in town and they all know each other—if anyone didn’t have a home, someone else would take them in, or they could stay at the pub. Or my house, but the food’s better at the pub.

Anyway, my commute during the week is amazing, but I come home on weekends. I’ve only been there for two weeks so far, and both my commutes home have been a nightmare. Last weekend, it was three hours, for no apparent reason. There was a LOT of traffic, and when I got to a certain spot on the highway, two cars and a tow truck were at the side of the road. After everyone had a good look, it was smooth sailing, but it still took an hour and a half longer than it should. Then, last night, I headed for home around 4:10. Things were congested and slow, but once I left the Toronto area and hit the 401, I was flying. Until I got another 40 kilometers down the road, at which point everything got slow again, Like 20 km/hour. Then, as I got close to Guelph, I thought I should turn on the news, and I caught the tail end of the traffic reporter say, “If you can, get off at Guelph Line NOW before you hit the shut-down.” Which would have been fantastic, but I’d JUST PASSED Guelph Line and the traffic stopped dead. Do you know why? Because there was a bus on fire on the side of the road. I called Ken:

Me: I’m going to be really late.
Ken: Why, what’s going on?
Me: There’s a bus on fire and the 401 is closed.
Ken: What?
Me: A BUS. A F-ING BUS ON FIRE. I’m not joking. The universe hates me.

We agreed that I would call once the traffic started moving again. After ten minutes of sitting in a three lane parking lot, I put the Sonic in “park”, and began to amuse myself. So here, for your reading pleasure, are the top 5 ways I am able to entertain myself when I’m stuck on a highway and can’t get home to my family.

1) I contemplated the exact procedure for evacuating a burning bus. Now, I haven’t taken a bus in probably 20 years, but it can’t be that different. So I thought, if I’m on a bus that’s on fire, what should I do? My first thought was, obviously, get off the f-ing bus. I would climb over anyone, I mean ANYONE, to get off a burning bus. But wait—how did the bus set on fire in the first place? Was it that guy at the back with the creepy smile and minimal luggage, smoking on the bus? What an a-hole! Or did the under-qualified mechanic at the bus place (Ken says it’s called a “depot”, but whatever) put in the wrong spark plug because his student loan had run out and he had to go to cheap-ass bus school instead of college? Is that why I’m on a burning bus?! Was it like “Speed” with Keanu Reeves, where an insane bomber hijacks a bus and all the passengers sneak out before it goes below 55 miles an hour (or in Canada, a gazillion kilometres an hour (I’m not sure of the exchange rate on that)?) My best idea was to always wear steel-toed shoes on any bus, and then kick out the window for an easy exit. I’m going to buy some today, just in case—you know me and worst-case scenarios. But it will probably be a useless purchase, because after reading this over, I have definitively decided to NEVER travel by bus.

2) I told myself stories. I have a lot of stories in my head, so here is one that I was thinking about whilst stuck in traffic. It’s about the time I was a DJ at this sh-thole in Waterloo called “Shooters”. One night, the manager, who was fairly Neanderthalic, decided to have a “wet T-shirt contest”. I was supposed to play “sexy music” for said event. Eventually, however, the girls became very drunk and very desperate for the prize money, which was $100, and began taking their shirts OFF. At this point, it occurred to me that not only was I participating in something that was probably illegal, but obviously immoral, and these poor girls were being egged on by the crowd to do something they would regret. So I stopped the music and told the skeezy manager that if he wanted me to start playing again, he needed to end the contest. Boy, was he pissed. The girls, on the other hand, seemed kind of relieved, and the crowd was too drunk to notice that the music had stopped anyway. But that was the end of my career as a DJ at Shooters, which closed down not long after. I worked for a DJ service called Doctor Music. My boss was a really nice man who paid me cash under the table and, as it turned out, was a cross-dresser. I have no problem with that, but he was 6 foot 5 inches tall and about 300 pounds, so I often wondered what he wore aside from muumuus. He met a tragic end, but this is a humourous blog, so there’s no place for that here. I have many stories about that job, but the best thing is that I used to put on an “extended version” of whatever song I could, so that I could go to the bathroom. It’s amazing what 8 minutes of Milli Vanilli will allow you to do.

3) I made up 5 new sweary insults.

4) I used them all in a grumbly voice, directing them at the cars around me, the stupid bus, and the universal misfortune of having driven by the only exit that could have helped me escape from this highway of hell. Three of them involved variations on the word “anus”, which, if you’ve read my earlier blogs, is a favourite term, thanks to Sherlock Holmes. My favourite right now is “ani-faced dilettante”. (Wow, spellcheck didn’t even FLINCH at that one).

5) After almost an hour, I was faced with a choice. I could swear at the universe (with my new favourite curse words, of course), or I could literally face the music. So that’s what I did. I put on Bohemian Rhapsody, turned it up to 11, opened the windows, and rocked out a la Wayne’s World. When that was finished, I created a playlist for the situation—kind of an “I can’t move and I hate the highway. And fiery buses”– and spent the next half hour dancing in my seat and singing along at the top of my lungs to a variety of kick-ass songs. The guy in the car next to me thought it was very amusing. I hoped it helped him pass the time because it helped me immeasurably.

When I finally got home, I collapsed into Ken and T’s arms. Then we sat down to dinner, and I had recovered sufficiently to make fun of the Shake and Bake Chicken he’d attempted. Seriously dude—it’s Shake and Bake. How can you mess that up? He claimed the coating wouldn’t stick to the chicken. Whatever. It tasted fine, and it was 100 kilometres better than sitting on the 401.

Wednesday: I hate revolving doors.

There’s only one thing that disrupts my awesome commute during the week–my building, and the one I work in, both have revolving doors. What the hell is with Revolving Doors? Who invented these insane death traps? Yes, yes there are regular doors next to the revolving ones, but they all have signs begging people to conserve heat and NOT use them (apparently, that doesn’t apply to the people who stand inside my office building waiting for the bus who sneak in when the concierge isn’t there, which is a lot of the time). So, I’m torn between my need to obey authority, and my sense of self-preservation. Because people in Toronto have no sense of etiquette when it comes to many things, but especially revolving doors. You can be in one, going through at a manageable pace, when some a-hole comes in behind you and pushes the door with all his might, forcing you to stumble out the other side. Why is my access to any building contingent upon someone else’s consideration for my personal well-being??!! And In order to even get IN a revolving door, I have to bide my time, like I’m waiting to jump into a double-dutch skipping rope. Or off a diving board. Revolving doors suck. That’s all I have to say about it.

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