Adventure is overrated
Colleen Landry A Little Laughter
Based on my nap addiction and general lack of adventure, you’d never guess that decades before the turn of the century I was a wide-eyed city slicker. That’s right, at 23 with my bachelor of education degree and a suitcase full of parkas and uncooked lobster, I moved to Toronto for two years to teach kindergarten. I loved the city! I was full of wonder and I felt like I’d “made it.” I fully embraced my daily five-hour commute via bus, streetcar, subway and Apollo 11. I shopped compulsively, learning life lessons about compound interest that escaped me in Grade 12 math. I went to concerts and musicals and thought nothing of the fact they started as late as 9 p.m. Imagine. That was more than three decades ago and a recent trip to Toronto with my husband solidified what I’ve long suspected: I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house without supervision. We went to visit our older son who’s in his final year of medical school. I wanted to memorize his facial features before he enters his upcoming six-year neurosurgery residency during which he will work 483 hours/day. Poor fella will live to regret it, thanks to my hourly questions: is it normal that I repeat myself so much? Is it true that red wine staves off brain tumours? Is it normal that I repeat myself so much? He and his girlfriend were excellent tour guides and it’s a good thing. I just couldn’t conjure that worldly young girl who reeked of rotting crustacean. I kept repeating, “I’m just getting my bearings back…” but I never did. I couldn’t figure out how to load my Presto pass which has replaced the subway tokens I used back in the day. I couldn’t tell north from left and I spent two days trying to find my way out of Union Station. We toddled behind as they showed us all the sights. It was as if I were seeing things for the first time and I pointed at buildings with childlike awe, “Whas dat??” Our son responded, “CN Tower, Mom. Wow.” He took good care of us (bless him), especially when I said, “I’m off my eating schedule and I’m seeing white spots.” Like the doctor he (almost) is, he averted a 911 call by finding a Krispy Kreme café – after I double-fisted a baker’s dozen Oreo Cookies and Kremes donuts, I immediately stopped blacking out. The days were fast-paced and jam-packed with activity – a musical, comedy club, restaurants and a couple of muggings (the hunger made me do it). In city-dwelling fashion, we covered a lot of territory on foot. One afternoon we even walked to Hamilton, and I’m not talking the musical on King Street West. Don’t say I said so but my husband was a bit whiny. “How much further? How about we take a subway? Help! I have an embolism in my leg!” Honestly. I may have been directionally challenged but at least I had stamina – once I replaced my blood-soaked ankle boots with a new pair of sneakers. It was a blast being in Toronto again and I almost convinced myself I could live there until our last night – when the bartender woke me up to see if I wanted a drink, I realized we still had a 55-minute subway ride ahead of us and my bedtime was in 20. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to go home where my biggest adrenaline hit is figuring out how to use the TV remote. When our son insisted on driving us to the airport (bless him again) 12 hours before our flight home, we hugged and I said, “Thanks for babysitting us! We had a great time! Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask you, is it true that red wine staves off brain tumours?” I’m not sure he heard me because he squealled out of the parking lot, so I made a mental note to ask him later. As we boarded the plane, I got a familiar dopamine rush. The one that comes with knowing I’d make my 9 p.m. bedtime. Colleen Landry is a high school writing teacher, author of humor book, Miss Nackawic Meets Midlife and co-author of the Camelia Airheart children’s adventure series. She and her husband are empty nesters in Moncton, N.B.