Easter Monday was a Day Off. I needed it. As glorious as it feels to push through marathon-level stamina of consecutive on call shifts that is our roster (Mon to Thur normal hours, Fri to Thur straight 10.5 hour shifts and second on call overnight then Friday normal hours) I’m more of a sprinter. I broke my on call into two halves for this week and was glad to have a day at home in between. Dan made plans. Big plans. Cycle down Jarvis to the Allen Gardens Conservatory. Cycle across to the ROM. Cycle to another museum. Eat lunch at the Parliament.
We started off with high hopes. It was chilly outside, cold enough for gloves and a beanie. Dan sped off down the road, leaving me behind, as usual. A Policeman at the corner of Jarvis and Charles approached him. I wondered for the millionth time if it was compulsory to wear helmets while cycling, as it is back home in Western Australia. I also felt guilty for never getting around to getting a TTC-approved Student Card from Sherbourne Station during business hours because I never got around to it. The very friendly policeman was just curious how the bike rentals worked. Dan sped off again. having been on evening shifts my body had decided that it was still in a rest phase and my legs felt like lead. I had none of the sprint energy I’d cycled home w
ith the night before, at 22:30.
We’ve travelled so much in the past two years that it spoils the experience of new things, that aren’t as good as something similar we experienced somewhere else. Allen Gardens Conservatory was a prime example. A few weeks ago we wandered into a huge conservatory in San Francisco, with a million orchids and more flowers than bees. A few days later we saw another conservatory in San Diego, which had a lot of cacti. Although there were many pretty flowers and it was nice to be in some warmth when it was so cold outside I wasn’t as amazed as Daniel had been when he came home one day, soon after our arrival in Toronto and excitedly told me about the conservatory. I was more entertained by and interested in observing the two burly men in the dog park outside fiercely arguing while walking their dogs, other dog-walkers pretending to ignore them close by, yelling at each other over a squeaky ball. One man had a squeaky ball and his use of it in a crowded dog park caused umbrage from the second man. It was farcical. To emphasise his disdain at the other man’s contention that a squeaky ball in a dog park was impolite to other dog owners Squeaky Ball Man kept squeaking the ball, as he yelled and kept walking the circuit in the small enclosed area. The park was also full of other interesting people, who may have been living in different realities to most others as well. We left quickly.
We cycled West and a little North, to the Douglas Coupland exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum. We bought 2-year memberships when we first arrived in Toronto and it’s been an excellent investment; I rarely have the attention span or stamina to spend more than 30 minutes in a museum or gallery exhibition and so we waved our passes, wandered up, wandered around and left. I was comforted by the thousands of collected objects, arranged as they were. It reminded me of my childhood; my Mum’s an artist who loves to work with found objects. She once decorated our bathroom mirror with hundreds of plastic toys and buttons and old toothbrushes super glued to the frame. I think I copied her process with papier-mâché and shells. The interpretation accompanying the works was a bit wanky though. We wanted to eat lunch in the restaurant on Level 4 that all the signage everywhere directed us towards but we couldn’t find it; it no longer exists.
Afterwards we walked South, through Queens Park and around the Parliament building. I work across the intersection of College and University every day yet I’ve never been inside the Toronto Parliament building. Dan found that they have a restaurant, just like the ones in every other Canadian Provincial capital city that we’ve visited. It was closed. The non-public holiday but public holiday for the hospital also held true for the government. We cycled home, and I got my hair cut on the way. In the afternoon I ran 3 km on the treadmill, got a time under 20 min (18 min 10 sec). Haven’t made it every day but more than once a week.