Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Inside Job

Yesterday I had the chance to finally meet Dr. Brian Goldman. It was quite the adventure, getting there and away. But, how many times do you get to to eat seared tuna with one of your medical heroes?

And how many times do you get to be inside CBC Toronto??

The answer to both is: not very many.

It was starting to unfold like a 1993 comedy. Of course, there was the tornado warning west of Ottawa just a few hours before my flight. Then the flight was delayed. Then just as we were about to taxi for takeoff they grounded the plane on the tarmac for an hour because of a major thunderstorm warning in Toronto. Followed by my arrival in a 31 degree city and a broken down shuttle bus.

Eventually I arrived at the hotel, which happened to be hosting a massive Make-Up-Sold-in-Houses convention. The scene was of drunk middle aged women smoking out front, in completely over the top prom dresses with sashes, proclaiming their yearly sales. Yes, yes I did also see a tiara.

The next morning I arrived at the CBC building in downtown Toronto and had to keep my credit card far far away from the schwag store (I'll take two coffee mugs, one aviator bag, an old-school CBC logo t-shirt and a scarf, thanks). By the way, CBC, if you're reading this I wear medium and I will shamelessly promote you forever on this blog...CBC.....CBC.......CBC.....!

Brian and I did manage to get a lot of work done despite my urges to photograph everything from the security guards to the Anna Maria Tremonti elevator. What do I need to do from this moment forward to someday have an elevator with my face on it?! Seriously. CBC radio is the soundtrack of my life. My earliest memories often involve long car rides with Peter Gzowski's gravelly voice or the As It Happens theme song. 
I was in my Mecca. But I think I behaved. I didn't leave any little Jian Ghomeshi action figures lying around, collect cigarette butts that could have been touched by Peter Mansbridge, or steal pencils off Elanor Wachtels desk. 

I did, however, manage to miss my flight back to Ottawa and ended up having to take the train. All well worth it. Brian and I have worked together on pieces for WCBA before but it was great to finally meet him. Bottom line, if you miss a plane because you're having lunch with a CBC radio host, there really is nothing to complain about.

I was pleased though, to arrive back at Dan and Lisa's for an arctic char feast, and relieved that the final leg of my journey did not involve riding in the back of a pick up truck with migrant workers and hillbillies. 

Though, it would have made a good story, I suppose...

Monday, July 16, 2012

RBC Revisited

12 years ago Keith took the train from Montréal to Halifax to meet me for a mini holiday while I was doing a French immersion program in Pointe D'Eglise, NS. We had very little money and very little idea about local geography, apparently.

After getting halfway to Charlottetown by hitching rides, we somehow found ourselves on the wrong side of the highway with our sign labelled "Bridge". It was only after a couple of long hours that some kind passerby pulled over, manually rolled down the window of her Mercury, and shouted at us that we were on the wrong side of the road if we wanted to get to the bridge.

I should also mention that during that time the sun was hot and we had one line of "Hold me closer, tiny dancer" in our heads. Singing it over and over and over again without knowing any more of the words but being equally incapable of thinking of new songs to replace it with.

We finally arrived in Charlottetown and blew our last $32 on a lobster meal. Somehow we had made a miscalculation of our finances which caused us to discover (too late) that indeed neither of us had any more cash. This was before the days when banks let us have visas or lines of credit. We called Keith's sister (collect) in a panic to have some money wired to us but it was going to take another day to arrive. I knew I had $15 dollars in my bank account so we went on a mission to find a bank machine that doled out cash in $5 bills.

Cue Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah
Eventually we found one and were able to extract my final $15 to make it to the next day. We stayed at a barn shaped hostel run by a tyrant who wouldn't allow any lights on after 2200h. But life was good.

I had completely forgotten about this adventure until I went to visit a fellow blogger / friend this weekend. When I saw the RBC a faint halo appeared around it in my mind and I felt I ought to make a pilgrimage to the automated teller that saved us.

Funny, I thought I was poor then! Oh I had no idea how poor I could go. Sure, I can get wads of cash these days if I want, but I am also six figures in debt with no tangible thing to show for it yet.

Basically, I have the equivalent of a mortgage on the contents of my brain.

Excuse me while I go and put on a bicycle helmet. Always.

Friday, July 6, 2012

And Now for Something Completely Different...

I am waiting to fly across the country (from Pacific to Atlantic) to get ready for my next elective.

Spent my week between gigs trying to cram in as many visits as possible with family, friends, fine dining establishments, and watering holes. More often seeing many people for too few minutes. Soaking up cuddles and Champagne wherever I could. Though I am looking forward to this next experience I am tired from living out of two very heavy suitcases and sleeping in a different spare room every night. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that all my friends are grown ups now and actually have spare rooms...)

Two weeks of elective, a week of limbo in Ontario, lunch with my CBC BFF* and then it is back to Ireland for the last round of doctor school. The major downside to my relocation is no internet or mobile phone at my billet...I repeat no internet or mobile phone at my billet. 

It is going to feel a lot like when I was in Asia, circa 1999...walking the streets hoping to find an internet cafe that doesn't smell like body odor. In other words, I am apologizing in advance for not replying to emails, sending tweets, blog posting, or being on skype. I am sure I'll have plenty of time to catch up as I doddle around Ottawa for a week waiting to fly back to Ireland on the 27th.
Enjoy the sun (but not too much).

Yours in interweb withdrawal...


*My designation, not his.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rolling Stone

Feels like I am back to my nomadic travel nursing days. Once again living out of suitcases and buying tinned fish and microwave meals to avoid over-using kitchen spaces. I had to chuckle when in one day I received emails from several different people all with the same subject heading "Where Are You??". My friend Kara says she has a separate page in her address book just for me. The phone numbers and addresses have changed so many times that she's erased through the paper in some places. I think I have "Z"  all to myself.

I've been planning to spend a few days on the west coast but hadn't quite nailed down when I'd be in specific towns. Kara knew when to expect me (roughly) so I called her yesterday to firm up when I'd be arriving at her house. I had forgotten that I was calling from my friend Erin's American cell phone.

"Hi Kar, how are you?!"

"Hey! Where are you?"

"Sorry I haven't been in touch this week. It's been really crazy and my phone doesn't work outside of the major cities because I am on a crap network--".

[she cuts in]"--Where are you??"

"I am in Squamish! I was thinking of coming to your place....tomorrow?"

"You are in Squamish? Really? Because your phone number says Idaho and if there is one person in the world who could plan on being in the lower mainland but end up in Idaho, it is you."

I think I am going to take that as a high compliment, a reflection of my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-wanderlust tendencies which I often think have long faded away.