The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Canada, Part 1

Just to warn you all, I'm in a strange mood. I think it's the water. Or the long "O's".

On my adventures in Canadia:

Very recently, in the wee hours of Monday morning to be exact, I found myself in Canada. That's right, I found myself there. Sunday started off just fine, but sometime that night, through no fault of my own, I was whisked away on a journey that ended with me mingling with our friendly neighbors to the north at about 1:30 AM Monday morning. In a taxi line. At the Toronto airport. In a blizzard. Through no fault of my own.

It's amazing to me how many people use passive statements like that to implicitly pass off blame for something they caused. Take, for instance, the pilot of my plane during this magical journey. As we were about to land at the Toronto airport, which was experiencing blizzard conditions at the time, our plane was forced to do a "go around", which involves very nearly landing and then pushing the throttles to full power and banking sharply up and the left of the airport. Apparently, we had to do this because "we found ourselves spaced too closely behind the aircraft in front of us." Hmmm. How did that happen? I'm glad it wasn't the pilot's fault. Later, after a successful second try, the plane finally parked and people started to get up and prepare to deplane. During the process, however, the pilot came over the intercom and asked everyone to sit back down so the plane could be moved backward. Apparently, we were "experiencing problems with the jetway because we'd found ourselves parked too close to the terminal." Hmmm. Once again I ask, "How did that happen?" Did the hand of God move us too close to the terminal? Did I just witness a miracle?

So, as I had begun to tell you, I found myself in a taxi line of approximately 100 people at the Toronto airport at 1:30 AM in blizzard conditions. Good times, good times. There was a steady stream of cabs (approximately one every ten minutes), so I needed to get creative. Luckily, the black market was in full force. But first, a comedic interlude. As I was standing in line, I witnessed a guy accuse an unlicensed limo driver of breaking the law (no way?!) and then proceed to verbally berate the driver and his family. The limo driver replied that he hoped the man enjoyed the two-hour wait he had in front of him. While I understand the need for some controls on airport transportation, the legal avenues were obviously not meeting the demand. And at that point it was utterly ridiculous for the man in line to get so upset about people stepping in to fill the gap. I was lucky enough to find a driver who didn't understand the hopelessness of my predicament, allowing me to talk him down from $60 to $40 Canadian (roughly 5 US Dollars). This gave me the distinct pleasure of riding 25 miles with three other strangers in a 1947 (est.) Lincoln Towncar with rear wheel drive and balding tires, which I promptly dubbed White Lightning (in my head). Sweet. White Lightning managed fairly well on the highway, but had trouble when we finally exited into the unplowed metropolis of Toronto. As ol' Lightning fishtailed through the streets of Toronto, I nearly lost my life no fewer than three times. The first two involving city buses and the third a cement abutment directly outside the door of my hotel. That would have really sucked. When all was said and done the driver and his trusty steed, White Lightning, dropped me off in one piece at my hotel at 3 AM for the low low price of a small stack of paper that's much too colourful to actually hold monetary value. Seemed like pretty good deal to me.

I hope they put White Lightning out to stud soon. He deserves a bit of fun after that brutal ride.

To be continued...

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