Eight Trips to Toronto, in Ten Days

Over the last ten days I have made eight trips to Toronto. For those of you who are counting, one way is approximately 134 km (according to the signage on the highway, and depending where in the city I’m going), which can take anywhere from one and a quarter to over-three hours. During the summer months, I can squeeze 600 km out of a full tank, which costs about $65-70 to fill. Factor in traffic, and, um, aggressive driving behaviour, and it takes about one half tank to make a round trip.

Where are we on the math? A lot of money on gas, and a lot of time spent sitting in my car. Square?

Why would one be willing to spend so much time and money travelling back and forth from the city, when one could enjoy the simpler, comfortable life offered by Mariposa? I could have spent my afternoons by the beach, soaking in the sun. It has to do with more than trying to catch up on unheard podcasts, of which there are no more.

I’ve been looking for an apartment in Toronto, because I’m moving to Toronto. Looking for an apartment is a pain in the arse. You find a place, you check out a place, you lose out on a place, you argue negotiate with landlords/landladies, and you finally fork over a certified cheque in an amount you can’t afford with the hope that your credit check will clear. On four of the eight trips, I dealt with apartment rentals.

I also got my teeth cleaned by my cousin, who is finishing up dental hygiene school. She needed a “D4” which is apparently pretty bad, on the mouth-cleanliness scale. I fell in at a cool “D3”, which ain’t good, but it wasn’t bad enough for her. She was looking for someone who really needed a good scrubbing. Anyway, she held on, and let me sit in a dentists chair for a solid 12 hours while she did whatever she needed to do, with regard for my oral hygiene. I’d like to say that is was nice to catch up with her, but I couldn’t really speak for most of the experience. I’m sure she appreciated this. This took up three of the eight trips.

The most pleasurable of all of the trips was this past Saturday. A couple of my friends were celebrating birthdays, and we went for dinner. I’ve become incredibly anxious about being late — huge change for me — so I arrived an hour and a half early for dinner. It was fine, because I sat myself down at a nearby pub and read some articles that I’ve been meaning to read.

Dinner was nothing short of a pleasure. The gift purchasing process, however, was stressful. I decided that I would get my friend a clutch, which is basically a small handbag. I stopped in at the outlet mall, while on my way into the city.

I should back up. I called my sister while sitting in my car — because I really want to wear in the bucket seats — outside the Starbucks, and asked her if this was a good idea, the buying of a clutch for my friend. She said it was a nice gift, and that my friend was sure to like it. I also texted a woman, who I’ve been in casual conversation with over the last little while, and asked her the same. She, too, agreed that it was a good idea. Perfect, right?

I walked into the shop that I decided I would shop at, because I was not shopping in the mall but only in that one store, and was immediately surrounded by women with the semblance of taste, and the few men who were accompanying these women. I stopped, dead, in front of the smallest “bags” I could find, and stood bewildered, mouth gaping. Then I saw it: pretty colours. I took a picture of the “bag”, and sent it to my sister for her approval.

She wrote back saying that what I held, tightly, in my hand was a wallet, and not a clutch. I should mention that I held onto this “bag” for about five minutes, while I stood in one spot, waiting for my sister to reply. Fuck.

So, I gently put the wallet down, took a step back, and turned in a circle, looking for the next smallest bag. That’s when I met eyes with a very nice sale representative who was more than willing to help me find what it was that I was looking for. I said that I was looking for a clutch, which turned into her and her colleague showing me approximately 13 variations of bags known as clutches. Fuck.

So, I took pictures of the outside and inside of my two favourites — the ones in the prettiest colours, of course — and sent the pictures to my sister and the woman who I’ve been in casual conversation with over the last little while. They disagreed. Fuck.

So, I picked the one with the most pockets.

After making this stress-inducing purchase, I got lost in the mall on my way back to my car. If you turned left to get into the store, you need to turn right to get out.

Anyway, back on the highway, I made my way down to Toronto for a lovely, though damp, Saturday evening. Because I arrived early, I had some time to kill. I pulled out my umbrella from the trunk of my car, and held it over the newly purchased clutch, wrapped in no fewer than three layers, as I walked down Roncesvalles, a street lesser-known for its haute couture sensibilities, while I looked for a place to duck into and have a warming beverage. I felt like a complete douche, carrying this thing around, but it was all made up for by my friend’s joyous acceptance of the gift.

We proceeded to have a fantastic evening together.

The only reason that I went on about this whole thing, other than being a good, though traumatizing, story, is that it makes the fact that I’ve been hired on by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) even more fortuitous.

Today, the eighth trip to Toronto, was spent at my orientation with TDSB and finalizing my rental application. I can’t wait to be living and working in Toronto, in a job that I really enjoy and within decent proximity of my friends.

If all goes well, I’ll be moving to Toronto with the next three or four weeks, and I’ll start working in just over a month. After today’s orientation, I’m already starting to think about how I’m going to supplement my income (anyone looking for a tutor?). Moving to Toronto is not promising to be easy, but it’s totally worth it.

In fact, it’s completely unsettling. This will be the third time that I’ve moved in two years. I’ve got to pack up an entire apartment, move it south by approximately 134 km, and put it back together again. I’ve got to reacquaint myself with city life — there are people everywhere in the city, all of the time. I have to start waking up at 5:00 am, and be ready for a call anytime after 6:00 am. Finally, but not exhaustively, I’ve got to commit to settling down.

I’ve decided that I’m going to pay ridiculous rent for the same apartment for at least the next three years, barring any major life changes. Rest assured, I’ll be paying the $2.99 + HST for a three-pack of horses, if I happen upon another fortuitous encounter, and manage to stay awake long enough into any evening.

Fuck, am I ever tired.

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