April 11th, 2007

Scarberia

Yesterday started out well enough: a reasonable amount of dawn-time work, a trip to the gym, delicious lunch with Charming Kerry (guess who remembered how to do links?). Then, though, I attempted a dry run to UTSC in preparation for invigilating an exam there on Monday. I had never been via public transit, as my kindly supervisor always drove me last term, and this term all my hours have been saved for this behemoth exam (between that and my regular jobs, I will be working 80 hours next week, so there won’t be much action here at Rose-coloured). Anyway, I figured the day of the exam was not the time to be experimenting with routes, so I set off to time transit, and things went straight to hell..

You know when you ruin your own day and don’t even have anyone good to be mad at? Yeah, it was like that. It’s totally not Scarborough’s fault I got Kennedy station confused with Scarborough Centre (the concept of “end of the line” messed me up–two different lines, two different ends). Once at Kennedy, I fast realized that there was no 38 bus there, but at that point I didn’t know how I’d gone wrong, so I just wandered around, looking for lines full of student-type people. I tried looking at route maps, but most had helpfully been taken down. Argh.

At TTC stations, there really is no central repository of help info for the lost and disoriented. Once you are on a bus, most drivers are decently helpful, but if you don’t know *which* bus… The message seems to be, “Small incompetencies are ok, but if you really screw up, you’re on your own.” So I got on a couple random buses and asked who went to UTSC, and tried waiting for some red herring busses and eventually got a milk run 116 that took me, ever so slowly, to the campus. By this point, timing out the process had become moot, but if you are interested, it was now more than 1.5 hours since I’d boarded the train.

The 116 driver was gentle in pointing out (I went over to chat with him after almost everyone else had gotten off the bus, 20 minutes into the ride) that I was doing things the most inefficient way possible. He suggested various better ideas. I sighed, and realized I was going to have to do a non-stupid dry run and waste another afternoon. Then I took a little nap and then we got to campus.

I had brought my campus map but not the directions to where I was supposed to go (at this point, all four people who read this blog are saying to themselves, “I’ve got to stop reading this blog, this girl has the IQ of pudding.”) But, points in my favour, I did find the building and then the English office just from fuzzy memories and intuition. I was so thrilled with that success that I wished to present myself at the office simply to say, “Dry run successful, seeya Monday!” but of course it was closed for the day.

So I went back to the food court and got a root beer from the A&W concession. How come UTSC gets a real, mall-style food court and we get Aramak? Theirs is so much better. I think somewhere in that sentence lies the moral of this tale: It’s not Scarborough’s fault. It’s not their fault that they are far away and confusing. It sure seems popular enough a burgh, judging from all those many bus routes it has. And the root beer was delicious, and the girl I asked for directions was very nice. I lifted the title above from a friend who has lived and loved in Scarborough, but I strongly suspect that I, a disorganized interloper, is not allowed to use such a pejorative. It’s like how I can make fun of my little brother, but no one else can. What do outsiders know?

And when I found a 38 bus for the return trip, it was very efficient, and allowed me the delight of the RT from Scarborough Centre to Kennedy. Delight is a slightly qualified term, of course–it’s just as well I was alone, as that thing makes a sound like God gargling, precluding all conversation. But still, it’s an elevated, the only one in the GTA (I think). It’s so great just to be able to look out, even if it is over fields of parked garbage trucks and scrap yards, and some of the most amazing breakfast-cereal-inspired graffiti ever seen.

And so, sadder but wiser, I made my way home, to appraise the post, make salmon and asparagus for supper and plot never again to leave the core-city, or perhaps my apartment, ever again.

I could be your favourite girl
RR

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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