A Series of Misadventures
This past week has been fraught with incident. Nothing serious, of course, but some bizarre, and at times, embarrassing moments that continue to support my ongoing thesis that life is absurd, and that often, there is no rhyme nor reason to it. Some days, it’s Dr. Suess; other days it’s Kafka.
Saturday: I try to have lunch with a good friend.
I say “try’ because this was the first in the series of meanderings that have plagued my week. My friend and I decided on Del Dente’s in Kitchener. She had looked up the schedule and saw that the place was open at 11. When we got there, the parking lot was surprisingly empty, but I just thought it was our lucky day. We went in, and immediately the girl behind the reception counter said, “Sorry, we’re not open”. Turns out they don’t open until 3 in the afternoon on a Saturday, but don’t feel the need to put that on their website. I guess the restaurant industry must be booming if places can afford to miss the lunch crowd. I was feeling a little snarky, so I said, “If you’re closed, then why is your door open?! It’s counter-intuitive.” She explained that it was so people could come in and buy gift cards. Seriously? You won’t serve people food, but you will sell them cards so they can BUY FOOD LATER? Anyway, we decided to go down the road to Ennio’s. IT didn’t open until noon. The weather was horrible and we were starving, so as a last resort, we went to a burger place in the next plaza, and cheered when we walked in to warmth and the possibility of food. The waiter was a younger man, who was awfully pleased to see us, and treated us like long-lost friends, right down to telling us about how his “brown” roommate cooks for him all the time, so he’s used to spicy food. OK, is it just me, or does it seem a little weird that someone would refer to their “brown roommate” in this context, especially when it had to do with the taste of the food. Do waiters of colour tell customers that their “beige” roommate does all the cooking so they’re used to bland food? Plus, there are a lot of derivations that constitute being brown, and the spices which accompany them are vastly different, so I’ve decided that he was trying to be hip more than helpful. When the food came, the waiter announced grandiosely that I was getting 22 ounces of poutine. Isn’t that like 5 pounds or something? Who the hell can eat 5 pounds of poutine in one sitting? Well, not me, that’s for sure. I finished approximately 1 ounce and had to take the rest home. Ultimately though, it was the fine company that made the difference–it was lovely seeing my friend, and by the time we actually found food, we were both ready to eat.
Sunday: I waste the afternoon looking for boots
On Sunday morning, I had a horrible epiphany. I was supposed to be going on a field visit with the CEO of my new company, and I had left all my dress boots at home. While this might seem like an extremely first-world problem, and it is, I’m still a new employee and this would be my first time meeting the boss. What if he was like some fashionista who would be looking at my outfit with a critical eye and wondering why I was wearing Doc Martens? So I decided to nip over to the mall and grab some boots. Which would have been an easy task if a) my feet were a size five or b) I was willing to pay over $300. I went to every shoe store in the region, and could not find a single pair of black dress boots in my size or price range. It’s f-ing February, and all the stores are full of sandals. It makes perfect sense of course, because this is CANADA. Why WOULDN’T we want to wear sandals in February? What was I thinking, looking for boots when the temperature is a balmy -25 degrees, and the snow banks are up to my ass? After 2 and a half hours of wandering around, I gave up. I had pretty much wasted the whole afternoon on this fruitless mission. Then I got home, and discovered a perfectly good pair of black dress boots in the back of the closet. I would have cried a little bit, but I was too exhausted. Also, it turns out that my boss is the nicest man imaginable, and probably couldn’t have cared less about my footwear.
Monday: I get stared out and it freaks me out
Before I was ready to go back to Toronto on Monday, after my field visit, I had to gas up. The Diva on the corner (that’s the name of the gas station, not the guy who owns it) was superbusy, which means there was one car on each side of the pump. I sat and waited patiently, and just as the person ahead of me was leaving, a car pulled up, cut in ahead of me and stole my pump! I couldn’t believe it. I honked my horn, but the woman ignored me and kept being an a-hole. So I decided to go down the street to the new Esso, where they have lots of pumps. They also have people who sit in the window and stare at you while you’re doing it. I got out of my car and put my debit card in the pump, then I realized that there were a couple of elderly people, and the owner of the gas station, all staring at me. I decided I was being paranoid, so I went back to what I was doing. When I looked up again, they were still staring at me. They weren’t even blinking. I started pumping the gas, and they were not only staring at me, but now they were talking at the same time. I got a little freaked so I waved my free hand and mouthed, “What?!” Then the owner came and opened the door.
Me: Is there a problem?
Me: Then why are you all staring at me?!
Owner: Oh, sorry…
I’m never going back there again. Unless the Diva’s busy.
Tuesday: I smell toilet water. And not the good kind
On Tuesday morning, the bathroom in my condo started to smell a little strange. Yes, I know that bathrooms can do that, but this wasn’t a typical bathroom-type odour. It was more like the smell of a restaurant the sells food that doesn’t smell very good and that you don’t want to eat. I started sniffing everything up close—the new towel I’d just bought, the shower curtain, the hair dryer, the waste paper basket–until the only thing left was—you guessed it—the toilet. Well, I’m no stranger to putting my hand in a toilet, but my nose is another thing. When I finally got up the courage to stick my head in the toilet, I discovered that, sure enough, it was the toilet water. It was fresh and clean-looking, but it smelled rank. I flushed it, and the new water smelled exactly the same. Then it occurred to me that the same water was probably coming out of my tap, and that I had been making tea with it. From now on, I’m buying water. I totally understand the whole ‘landfill’ issue, but if you can’t count on your tap water’s germ-freeness, then blame the city of Toronto and not me.
Wednesday: I am so embarrassed
On Tuesday, I went for lunch with a colleague and another co-worker that I didn’t know very well. We went to a great little Korean place, and I couldn’t finish my lunch, so I took the rest back to the office in a Styrofoam container wrapped in a plastic bag. I put it in the company refrigerator, then forgot to take it home, which was OK, because then I could have it for lunch on Wednesday. So I got it out of the fridge at lunchtime, heated it up, and started eating it. It looked a little different than it had the day before, but I put that down to the kimchee sauce making the rice go a little orange-y. I was halfway done when suddenly I saw a piece of broccoli. There was no broccoli in my bulgogi. Also, apparently what I thought were crunchy pieces of cabbage were actually pieces of carrot. My blood went cold. I was eating SOMEONE ELSE’S LUNCH. And it belonged to the coworker I had just met the day before. I don’t think I’ve ever been so embarrassed as I was when I had to tell her. She was extremely nice about it, and said that she would eat my leftovers instead of her own, but I can only imagine what she was thinking. Actually I can’t imagine it, because she’s Romanian and speaks French, and I don’t know what “big loser who steals other people’s lunches” is in either language. Then I went back to my desk, pulled out my office chair, and the handle came off in my hand. I was done at that point, and just stood there in defeat, with someone else’s lunch in one hand and a chair arm in the other.
Thursday: People in Toronto are even weirder than I thought
On Thursday, I went to the grocery store across the street after work. In the space of time it took to leave the grocery store and get back to my building, these things had happened: An elderly Asian man with a long pony tail barked at me on the escalator. And he sounded exactly like a dog, which was impressive and frightening all at the same time. A man riding a racing bike, wearing full racing gear—shorts, t-shirt, and helmet in the minus 25 degree weather, rode past me yelling F- you, you bunch of a- holes at the traffic around him. Then just outside my building, another elderly man wearing a balaclava asked me several questions in a foreign language. I finally got to the safety of my condo, and I wasn’t inside for more than 5 minutes when suddenly my door began to jiggle like someone was trying to break in. I froze in a panic because I realized I didn’t have a baseball bat OR Ken to protect me. Finally, an envelope was creepily pushed through the crack in the side of my door—a piece of mail belonging to the previous tenant. I spent the rest of the night checking the deadbolt and looking under the bed, just in case.
Friday: I break the office hole punch
I put too many pieces of paper in it, and they all got stuck. I had to ask for help to dismantle it and get the papers out. Enough said. The embarrassment continues.
Saturday: Finally things go back to normal.
I got home in good time on Friday night and decided to take a chance on shopping for some mittens on Saturday. Not only did I find the ones I wanted, but they were the last pair and were on super-sale. Then I saw my favourite Lancome Lady, Olga, and she gave me an extra gift with the cream I bought. Maybe all is right with the world again.