I’m in Toronto. Flew here on Monday. The alarm went off at 7am. Took a moment to realise that it was the day of my flight, that I couldn’t hit snooze, that I had had had to get out of bed. I’m not good at filling time, though, between being ready for something, and that thing beginning. With 15 minutes to kill before the cab was due, I could’ve sat down, read something, but no: I went downstairs and stood outside the building and just waited. Taxi came, suitcase in the boot, off to the airport. About 20 metres down the road, he confirmed that I was the guy he was supposed to pick up from apartment 305. I told him that was the case. I was lying. That’s not my apartment. I’d taken someone else’s cab. Oh well, it’s not like Señor 305 won’t have a cab waiting to take him to the airport in a few minutes. I
At the airport, the Air Canada desk wasn’t open. I was the tenth person in the queue. As soon as the dudes came along to open the check-in, I was the 25th person in the queue. Several of the folks in front of me had been saving a spot for their travelling companions, one of which was saving a spot for a bunch of nine school children. Got it done, changed my aisle seat for a window seat, and outside for a smoke. Still two and a half hours til my flight, but I can’t relax. Even when I not relaxing, I’m aware that I am not relaxing. Damn annoying. I smoked fast, stubbed out half the cigarette and went through security. All the time knowing, I should just sit down, get a coffee, and relax, maybe have a read, use my laptop, and bide my time so I can have another cigarette with, say, an hour to go. Nope. Not me. Idiot.
Bought some duty free cigs and a bottle of mezcal. Listen to podcasts and waited. On the flight, got my seat, strapped in, cracked open my book, and the stewardess asked if I wanted to sit in the seat next to the emergency exit, the one without a seat directly in front, because the Asian woman currently sitting there didn’t speak English, French, or Spanish. Yes, please. Lots of legroom for the four and a half hour flight. Sweet.
Enjoyable flight, too. Watched “The Fighter,” read a little, flipped off the United States as we flew over it and ahead of schedule — actually, on schedule, but we left twenty minutes late — I could see the CN Tower and SkyDome out of the window. I could see a park I played softball in last summer, I could see the neighbourhood where I stayed for five months. It was exciting. Of course, I was a tiny bit paranoid that I’d lied on the customs form. I had brought more than the allowed 200 cigarettes with me. But goddamn it, I’m not paying $10 for a pack when they cost about a third of that in Mexico.
Somewhere between the Air Canada desk at Benito Juárez International Airport and the baggage claim area of Pearson International Airport, one of the four wheels on my suitcase got broken off. Which made a bit difficult to manoeuvre around, so instead of using public transport, I treated myself to a cab. Nice cab driver, too. Friendly Punjabi guy. We chatted all the way to my friend Scott’s house. Toronto is hot. Hotter than it was when I left Mexico City. Which is kinda strange when one looks at a map.
But it is fantastic to be back here, if only for three weeks. It’s been wonderful to walk along the street and hear people speaking English. It’s been wonderful to see familiar things again. Great to see some of the friends I made last time I was here. Great to drink the expensive beer. And great to be here for what is pretty much entirely vacation, rather than busting myself every day to write the book last summer. I signed some stock in a book store here (Chapters, on John St., next to the cinema, in case you are a Torontonian and want one), and I participated in the Getting Blanked podcast, talking about me me me and baseball. And tonight, I’ll be heading to the SkyDome to see the first of four Blue Jays v. Yankees games I’ll be seeing this weekend.
It’s great to be back.