Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Day in the Life of an Urbanite

The strangeness of living in a city has worn off and I find myself walking around with that blase expression everyone else had on their faces when I first arrived. I cross the street sometimes even if the light is red because I know the rhythm of the traffic and that it's safe to do so. I know whether it's better to walk outside, hop on the train or take the Plus 15 (the tunnels) depending on the weather and how much time I have. I know where the best coffee shops are. It's official. I'm an urbanite.

This morning I had to go to a lab downtown for some routine tests. I allowed myself 30 minutes to walk there. I left my apartment, took the elevator downstairs to the garbage room and dropped off a bag. I took the elevator back up to the lobby and taped a note for the UPS man by the mailboxes, telling him to call me on my cell phone because our intercom isn't working.

I zipped up my jacket and headed out on to the street. Chilly air hit me in the face, but it wasn't too bad. I was glad I opted for shoes with good traction because there was still snow on the ground, though the sidewalks were pretty much reduced to little puddles of water.

Those two quick errands inside my apartment building took longer than expected, so I decided to take the train to save time. The nearest station is only a block away and within downtown it's free. FREE! We live on the edge of downtown, so there isn't much traffic. Still, I had to wait at the light on our corner to cross up to Seventh Avenue to catch the train.

I found the building easily enough, but the address for the lab indicated it was on the third floor. The elevator doors opened to a quiet medical facility with various offices. A directory pointed the way to the lab with a downward arrow. Naturally, I walked down one flight. All of a sudden I was in the middle of what looked like a mall food court, with people in business suits bustling around, buying coffee and crepes. (Crepes?)

I eventually found the lab (upstairs!), had unspeakable things done to me (ha) and returned to the "food court" to feed my poor, starving body. (I had to fast for 12 hours before they took blood.) There were the usual coffee shops and a Wendy's, but I was curious about those crepes, so I got in line behind a man whose computer bag keep poking me in the leg.

Sadly, it was too late for a breakfast crepe (whatever that is), so I settled for yogurt and fruit. I had to hurry home to catch the UPS man, so off I went, sipping my coffee and clutching the yogurt concoction in my other hand. I wanted to walk it, but holding my hands out in front of me, trying not to spill coffee as I worked my way around people was...well, frankly, it was pissing me off. I headed for the train station.

Every now and then you'll pass a busker on the street or inside the Plus 15 in Calgary and it always breaks my heart a little. There are so many talented, musical people in the world who can't make a living at it. I always hope they have a paying gig at night and are just picking up extra cash on the streets during the day. Just let me believe that.

None-the-less, I like to give them some spare change when I see them. No way could I do that with my hands all full of morning sustenance. I gave this day's musician a weak smile and continued on to the train platform.

I needed to get on the right train, the one that takes the tracks straight to the end, a block away from my building. If I get on the wrong one, it'll curve around a corner and head over the river. (Been there, done that.) The correct train arrived, full of empty seats, so I smugly walked on, leaving the rest of the poor, cold bastards waiting on the platform for their own correct train.

(You know what? I didn't really cop an attitude, but I couldn't stop my fingers from typing that. I thought it sounded funny. Haha!)

We arrived at the end of the line and an announcement was made that we all had to get off. We dutifully did. The train would sit for about five minutes as it filled with new passengers and then finally, it would head in the opposite direction.

Two crosswalks later and I was back in front of my building. The whole outing took about two hours. I was pleased about that. That unpleasant chore was behind me and I picked up "restaurant food" along the way. (Yes, in my world yogurt and coffee is restaurant food. ha!) Not a bad morning.

P.S. I missed the UPS guy. :(


Mar said...

Nice to tag along with you on your excursion to the lab. Glad you finally got those trains sorted out. :)

caryl said...

thanks, Mar! It's a little bit boring but I wanted to be able to go back sometime in the future and remember what it's like to live here.

Anonymous said...

Nice daily diary. Makes me want to live in a big city again.


caryl said...

Yeah, PFS, having to deal with a yard again and having to get in the car for every little thing is gonna SUCK. lol

fellow Calgarian said...

what, you're not ever leaving Calgary, are you??

caryl said...

We're Americans, here temporarily. We're going to hate it when we have to go!

How did you find my blog, fellow Calgarian? Welcome!

fellow Calgarian said...

you don't have to go! how we met is: I'm the crazy person who offered to swap for your Flames sweater, except I didn't swap.

Anonymous said...

Yup your broken in city folk now, know your way in and out. Thanks for taking us along!!


caryl said...

Oh, OK, fellow Calgarian! haha. I'm glad we didn't trade. I like my sweatshirt!