Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.
Or maybe it’s me that’s crazy.
Actually, it’s probably both.
Today sucked like the vacuum of space. It sucked so hard that it’s barely credible. There was a confluence of events this morning that beggars the mind.
Well, okay, maybe not. But it was pretty bad.
It started out OK. I took the bus to the Skytrain. Sure, the walk is only two and a half blocks, but it was nice to go in a nice warm bus. I even timed it perfectly so that the bus was at the red light when I was crossing to the bus stop practically right in front of it. So I got on and was deposited right at the Skytrain station.
And that’s where the fun stopped. So much for omens.
The first inkling of catastrophe took the form of an unusually thick crowd at the entrance to the Skytrain station. It was quite crazy, like something from Tokyo. The fellow that hands me my copy of Metro was quite overwhelmed with all the people flowing around him. It’s usually not even a quarter as busy even during rush hour.
So while I was still somewhat cheerful, a warning light was blinking in my mind.
And another came on when, after going through the fare gate, we were stopped by a transit employee before we even got onto the escalator because the platform was so packed with people they couldn’t let anyone else go up to it.
Uh oh. That can’t be good.
So the throng about me and myself had to line up and wait. And when we finally were allowed to go up, it was, of course, absolutely packed up there.
It’s times like this that I really appreciate my Paxil. Without it, I would have freaked out and gone home from sheer claustrophobia.
Turns out, the bottleneck was that some kind of technical difficulty had the result of making the Skytrain trains show up at half the usual rate.
Normally, during the morning rush hour, you get a train every 7 minutes, like clockwork. This morning it was 15. The results on the system were cataclysmic.
In retrospect, it’s not a huge surprise. I had noticed that on the Canada Line, the line I take to school, the instances of the train I was on having to slow way down for some reason were escalating in both frequency and duration. Quite often lately the train crawled along for some time at roughly the speed of a brisk jog.
This didn’t concern me too much because I just want to get where I was going. I am not, by nature, someone all fired up to get where they are going as fast as possible. In fact I usually enjoy my commute times. I find them relaxing. I can do a crossword puzzle, read, stare out the window. And for some reason, I have always, since I was a wee sprog barely up off the floor, found being in a moving vehicle relaxing.
Not sure why. Perhaps the sensation of motion drains some of the overcharge of mental energy that seems endemic to my particular make and model of brain. I dunno.
Anyhow, it takes forever to even get close enough to the Skytrain to get on, and then the seat I was about to take gets occupied by a little old Asian lady and I am stuck in the middle of the car with no hope of making it to an exit with all those people around me.
That means that the unthinkable has occurred : I was going to have to stand for the entire trip from my station to Waterfront.
This is not something I can do without coming to significant harm. I am not built to stand for that long. The circulation in my legs and feet is too compromised to allow it. The one time I tried it before today, I ended up feeling nauseous and dizzy and the muscles on the back of my legs seized up and began cramping painfully.
Oh, and of course, my feet were goddamned killing me. My dog weren’t barking, they were whimpering with the occasional pained yelp.
And today was no different, except that the trains were running way slower than usual, so the trip (normally 25 minutes) took 40.
And it was a very Zen experience. Which means consciousness-expanding levels of pain. By the time I finally got off at Waterfront, I couldn’t feel my calves at all, my feet were screaming at me, and I felt like I was floating in cold syrup.
But I plodded down the street to school anyhow, finally making it to my Writing for Games class at 9:45. Story over, right?
Nope! Turns out today was the day we went to the gaming campus of VFS! So I got to sit for like five minutes and then we had to walk the ten blocks or so to THERE.
I’m a writer, goddamn it, I am not built for this walking. Especially after having to stand on the Skytrain for 40 goddamned minutes.
And today was a cold and clammy day, the exact kind of early spring day I loathe because the snow is still there, chilling everything, but it’s also raining.
It’s the perfect weather for making every muscle in my body ache.
And once we got there, we had to take a tour of the place. This is normally something I would greatly enjoy, but I was too cranky to think of anything but sitting.
Finally, we got to the reward : getting to play video games. I played Batman : Arkham City for a couple of hours. It was very cool – the combat system is tons of fun, very Batman in the way you can take on huge crowds of bad guys and kick their asses – but I can’t help but think I would have enjoyed it more had I been in a better mood.
After that, I was turned loose on the mean streets of Chinatown again. Now I had to find my way to the Skytrain from wherever the hell I was. More walking.
Luckily, it wasn’t that bad. Once I got to the International Village (mall), I had some idea where I was. From there, I got to Stadium Station (up four flights of red brick stairs) and got on the Expo Line for the first time in like, a decade.
Which explains why I got on the train going in the wrong direction. That turned out cool, though, because I got out at the Main Street/Science World station, which is in this retro-future tunnel of plastic windows which I loved.
I mean, check this shit OUT. Futuristic!
And you should see the Skytrain cars they have on the Expo line. Very cool looking… but freaking tiny compared to what I am used to on the Canada line.
As a result, I had to stand for that Skytrain ride too. Un fucking believable. Finally I made it to Waterfront Station… but to get to the Canada Line, I had to go all the way up to the main concourse, then back down, then down a loong ass tunnel on the Cordova Street side of the station, and only then could I get on my beloved Canada line and go the fuck home.
I hadn’t even had a chance to do my crossword!
So today has really taken it out of me. So far the health repercussions have been mild, but this kind of thing can cause problems further down the road, so I am wary.
Luckily, I don’t have to be back in class until next Tuesday, four days from now.
It might take me that long to recover.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.