Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jason Vs. Toronto: Day One

Today was very interesting.

After spending last night printing out too many references for sketches, I wound up getting less sleep than I should have gotten. I got up before 6 a.m. and I managed to get to the airport with plenty of time to spare. The flight itself wasn't eventful, though it was raining a little as I stepped off the plane outside. The first hiccup came when I picked up my luggage and was getting ready to exit the airport, when I couldn't find the document I had to fill out on the plane and show to the customs agent. Where was it? Right . . . in the men's room, inside the book I put it in.

The cab dropped me off at the Fairmont Royal York . . . or what I thought was the Fairmont Royal York. Turns out I blundered into the Toronto underground, passing the guest elevator in the process. By the time I figured that I screwed up, I had to carry my backpack, laptop bag and luggage up a flight of stairs because the escalator going up was out of service. By the time I got to check in at the lobby, I was a sweaty mess . . . and that's where I met Sylvia.

Sylvia is a regular on the Television Without Pity forums (screenname: keeptrying). We met in the "Meet Market" in the forum devoted to [i]Heroes[/i], and we stayed in touch off the board as well. She's originally from the Pacific Northwest, and she's been in Toronto for about eight years. Her husband is originally from France. Somehow, I think they make for an ideal yet quirky Canadian couple. Anyway, she had seen enough pictures of me to know what I looked like. I managed to get to my room in time to unload a little and change shirts, because I was that sweaty. It wasn't that hot out, but I had done a lot of walking while carrying some serious weight. I'll talk about the room a little later.

We wound up doing a lot of walking and talking, where we compared life stories, views on reality television, and all sorts of other stuff. We had lunch in a market that kind of reminded me of the Reading Market in Philadelphia. I stupidly wound up with tuna sashimi with no rice and an expensive bottle of Diet Coke (gotta remember it's "pop" up here). The original plan was to hit the Royal Ontario Museum (which was on my itinerary in 2007), but I brought up the Silver Snail comic shop, and we took a detour there. By the time we arrive at the ROM, it was about 90 minutes to closing. We wound up chatting outside before walking back to the hotel, where she decided that she had to head for home. I wish we got to spend more time together, but I did enjoy her a lot. Given what would happen later, I'd say she made the smart move.

I wanted to explore Rogers Centre, but I just had to sit in the lobby and read my comics. By the time I got away from losing a game of line roulette, a lady was singing the American and Canadian national anthems. There were a lot of options for food, but I wound up paying $9.75 for a mutant foot-long hot dog cover in baked beans and crumpled bacon. Cheddar cheese was also involved, but I didn't want that. I wound up paying $46 for a front row seat . . . and when I asked the ticket lady for the best possible seat, she delivered. I wound up in the first row. I haven't been that close to the field since I went to see the Staten Island Yankees play. Granted, I paid about a fourth of what I shelled out in colorful Canadian dough, but it was a good seat. First thought: "Wow, I could get a foul ball!" Second thought: "Shit, I could get killed by a line drive!"

Rogers Centre (the complex formerly known as SkyDome) ain't as imposing as it used to be. Sure, the retractable roof set the golden standard (and shamed the hell out of Montreal's Olympic Stadium), but then came Orioles Park at Camden Yards and the other new stadiums that embraced the retro vibe. I was a little cramped in my seat, with no cupholder to put my soda. There was a narrow ledge where I could put my camera, but it was too small for the hot dog and soda. I could've put stuff on the barrier in front of me, but I think that would've been frowned upon.

Writer's Note: It's Friday. Why did I stop here? Because my damn laptop went ka-fucking-blooey, and this was what Blogspot could save. I'll write about my Rogers Centre experience once I get things straightened out at home.

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