I went to Toronto today to drop Elizabeth off at the airport. She’s flying north to visit her father and sister; we decided it made more sense for me to drive her down to Pearson International (about 90 minutes) rather than pay the outrageous fees to park the Vibe for five days.
Now, I dread Toronto trips. I always have. I am not comfortable in crowds or noise, and that’s what Toronto specializes in. Especially the airport. Of course, I go to Toronto all the time, because life in Canada revolves around it. Just ask any random Torontonian. They’ll confirm that.
I was pleasantly surprised today. Aside from one pukey moment on the 401 (Canada’s largest highway, an Autobahn of madness), it was a fine expedition. Here are some notes:
- The drive down was quick and smooth. While the 401 was jammed with people leaving the city for the long weekend, the journey in was shockingly traffic-free.
- We got a parking space right at the front of the parkatorium, which is larger than most towns. I’ve had to walk miles at this airport after parking; not this time.
- The airport was practically empty.
- We stood in the check-in line for all of five minutes, and Elizabeth had her boarding pass less than a minute after she got to the counter.
- There were bookstores everywhere, so we had a nice hour of browsing, as we had budgeted way more time.
- Then we ate: I had Hawaiian pizza, Elizabeth had sushi. No lineups, and the prices were what they would be in the outside world.
- She boarded (after reminding me to turn off the outside lights and to fix the broken vent in the bathroom), and airport security let her take the jar of plum jam she bought for her father. We were concerned about that, as the airport has this “no gels or fluids” rule. Apparently plum jam is okay.
- I was back in the car and on the highway five minutes later — a rare feat you’d understand if you’ve ever gotten bogged down in the Pearson garage.
- At one point, I was passed by three other Vibes, all in a row. I felt like I was in a movie called The Canadian Job.
- The first snag happened a few minutes later: an accident on the 401. I expected a long delay, but it was really just a few minutes. The problem, though, was the tow-truck driver who was hooking up one of the cars. I was forced to stop for a good two minutes, right beside him, and he was displaying a scary amount of flabby white bum and accompanying bumcrack. It was a few inches from my window, and I couldn’t look away.
- The rest of the drive home was wonderful — quiet roads, a nice new car, the new episode of Nerd Hurdles keeping me chuckling …
- The second snag came when I entered my city and was startled to notice Costco was, for some reason, on the wrong side of the highway … I had missed my exit and had to loop all the way around. Which was okay, because it gave me time to finish listening to Movies You Should See.
- And I was home.
One new and disturbing thing, though: when we got to the airport, we found a kiosk called Express Do-It-Yourself Check-In. Elizabeth decided to check it out. It asked for her credit card, which she inserted, and it told her who she was and where she was going. That was a little Big Brother, a bit too much for my taste. Hers too, considering she hadn’t used that card to book the ticket. So she hit “cancel,” got in line, and did it the old-fashioned way.
I’m a bit of a privacy nerd (despite my oh-so-public musings online), so this bothered me a lot. Well, it did until I saw the bumcrack. Now it doesn’t seem so bad.
Anyway, this is the airport: