As I (slowly and painfully) approach 79, I thought that I was pretty much finished with “new things.” Life had other ideas.
I recently tore a tendon in my left shoulder – probably shovelling snow. I’ve never done that before.
I recently broke a rib – while sitting in my easy chair. I’ve never done that before.
I took the wife to the big, St. Mike’s, downtown hospital in Toronto, first for an endoscopic test, later for a pre-admission appointment, and finally for a difficult endoscopic surgery. I’ve never done that before.
If I thought that traffic problems on the North-side bypass highway were bad, I ain’t seen nothin’ like the strangely-named, lake-hugging ‘Expressway’ I needed, to reach the hospital. About the same volume of traffic, but with two or three fewer lanes to carry it in each direction.
It was a gigantic parking lot, sluggishly flowing along like a huge glacier, at barely better than a brisk walking pace – cars and trucks cutting others off, and drivers darting from lane to lane, frantically trying to gain a little space, and time. I’m surprised that the reported rate of road rage and homicide isn’t higher. I could see the hospital from the road, but the overhead electronic sign said that estimated arrival time at my exit was still 17 minutes.
That’s where the map program told me to drive six blocks north, and turn left onto Queen Street, where the hospital was located. When I reached Queen, street signs said that left turns were prohibited. Instantly, we were lost in a maze of narrow, crowded, one-way, no-turns-allowed, downtown streets, and were half an hour late eventually reaching the hospital.
This entire trip, especially the ‘Expressway’ portion, is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart, and not one that I cared to repeat. The next “New” thing that the wife and I are going to do, is ride a train. We have both ridden trains, but that was over half a century ago, shortly after steam engines gave way to diesels.
What will be “New” about it, will be the fact that it will be on a Commuter Train. Every workday, tens – perhaps hundreds – of thousands of people commute hundreds of miles, from all over Southern Ontario, by means of 12 different rail-routes to go to work in the Big Smoke, using a system called GO-Trains.
The wife and I will use the Kitchener-to-Union Station, Toronto, portion of one of them. Our Osteopath tried to convince us to use the regular Via Rail service. ‘There’s more foot and leg room, and the seats are larger and more comfortable.’ And the difference in ticket costs for a one-way, one-passenger ride is, VIA – $89 vs. GO-Train Seniors’ price – $9. Six trips, times $80/trip savings, totals $480! For almost $500, I’d ride in a sardine can. I was born at night – just not LAST night. Take the GO train – cheap, simple and easy – no fuss, no muss, no expensive gas, no getting lost, no driving stress, no outrageous parking fees.
Assuming that all goes well – and since the best GI endo surgeon in the world, is performing the operation, in the best GI hospital suite in Canada, there’s no reason to assume otherwise – the next ‘New’ thing that the wife and I will try, as a celebration, is to drive to the more-easily and safely reached IKEA store on the near side of Toronto.
We’ll do the tourist thing and people-watch, and have the Swedish meatball lunch, perhaps with a Carlsberg Dark beer, and maybe some lingonberry jam.