Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Derby Queens

Last night Emma and I went up to Toronto via the Queen Elizabeth Highway (the QEW) for two reasons: (1) to look at an apartment for rent and (2) for derby practice - for Emma not me.

Emma had spent last weekend looking at a whole bunch of potential homes (she wants to leave her current apartment) and she had narrowed it down to one. She wanted me to give it final approval (especially since the landlord preferred if I co-signed the lease). We left work at 5:30 p.m., sailed up the QEW to Toronto and arrived at her 'future abode' in plenty of time.  We cooled our heels on the curb for about 20 minutes, watching the passing traffic (foot, bike and car) and assessed the rhythm of the neighborhood. So far, so good.

We met the landlord at 7:45 p.m. and I put an hour's worth of coinage into the meter.

We left in under 15 minutes.

This place was a dump. I have no idea why Emma originally thought this would work for her. Good Grief! And the woman wanted $1450 a month. That's FOURTEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS. I would have committed suicide within the week if I had to live there. Emma's excuse was that she had originally looked at it during a torrential downpour and it had felt "cozy". Last night at 8:00 p.m it felt claustrophobic and filthy. The current tenants had thoughtfully left a large plastic bag of rotting apples in the kitchen. Maybe they didn't want to move and were trying to sabotage the move, but the odor, coupled with the closeness and lack of natural light accelerated my descent back down to the front door.  I couldn't wait to leave. Emma could tell by my overly polite manner and raised eyebrow that I was nixing this place. Ugh.

We left the apartment and headed up to the Downsview hangar ( a semi abandoned Canadian air force facility) where Emma's derby girls had a scrimmage scheduled. On the way north Emma vented her frustration about house hunting and wondered if allowing me to have a veto was the right decision. She was torqued - to put it mildly.

She strode into the old Downsview hangar with an attitude that I would describe as  'pissed' - only to be met by about 20 rough and tumble roller girls suiting up for practice. Let me draw you a picture of the scene:
  • A hangar from WWII  with a painted track on the floor. The floor was sticky. 
  • The stench of millions of previous athletes trapped in the rafters. The smell was only slightly better than the rotting apples we had left downtown.
  • The temperature was a good 10 degrees hotter inside then outside despite the fact that the huge airplane doors were wide open. And, it was a hot night. 
  • Scantily clad girls racing around a track - shouting instructions and encouragement and trash talking the other team.
  • A dull roar from other parts of the hangar where soccer, street hockey and lacrosse were simultaneously being played.
Emma mixed in with the roller girls and, two hours later, emerged drenched, drained and HAPPY! She got in the car and said  "I am so over this apartment - that was the right decision".  Endorphins are a wonderful drug!

We left practice, got on the QEW and sailed back home. Emma was driving and was coming off the high of working out with the girls. All was right with the world... until we got to the Ford plant in Oakville. All 4 lanes came to an abrupt halt. Construction at midnight had begun and we were in the midst of it. It took us 1 hour to travel 1 mile as the 4 lanes were forced to merge into one.

Uncharacteristically, Emma and I did not swear and gnash our teeth. Instead, we laughed and joked and told stories while we inched our way forward. And, a lot of the stories were about Bill. We both know him so well that we can tell stories in short-hand and laugh without really finishing our thoughts. We were probably a little punchy since it was so late and we'd had an emotional evening. But,  we made the best of a bad situation.
 It was kind of like waiting in line at Tim Horton's .... without the promise of coffee. The payoff was the time we were spending together.