Posted by: sharethewhine | September 6, 2010

First Night

Well, in a remarkable change of life events I have moved! The move is only temporary, four months to be precise, but I am still feeling uprooted. I am trying to embrace the new city and view this as another of life’s adventures. In that spirit, I decided on this, my first night, that I would walk to a Subway restaurant to retrieve dinner. To facilitate roommate bonding, I offered to pick her up a sandwich, too.

I felt confident in my directions, as I recently bought myself a GPS unit, which I have named “Henry”. I don’t know why “Henry”, other than that was the first name that came to mind. That, and I have the voice set to “Australian male” and I didn’t like the name associated with that voice. Anyhoo, with Henry in my pocket (on mute, sadly), off I go. At first, the only other soul on foot was a man walking very oddly– partly a hobble, but not quite a limp. As I passed him, he apologized for being slow (o..kay?) and complained of having back pain, which he stressed by groaning loudly and grabbing his back. All right, then. Fortunately, Mr. Bad Back and I parted ways soon after and I went deeper downtown. This was early evening, so I really had no fears about being by myself. I’ve walked in the downtown core of many big cities, usually alone. I often went downtown Calgary by myself when I lived there, usually at night. Just recently, I walked through downtown Vancouver alone and at night, after seeing the Lion King. Even Toronto (OK, that was in daylight) and Manhattan (OK, that was at night but not alone). So, this little city should be no problem…

Approaching the heart of downtown, I start to see more evidence of the local homeless population and I also notice that the pubs and bars are quite busy (not surprising, being Sunday of a long weekend). Quite a few interesting characters are out and about tonight. Finally, I see the yellow awning and…… closed. Shit. It was hard to tell if this location was closed permanently, or just for my inconvenience. I promised my new roommate a sandwich, so I got Henry out to look for options. I tried to be discreet, but standing still is apparently an invitation to approach. A young, blond guy asked me for spare change, I declined and started walking away from him. Henry tells me that there is a Quiznos just around the corner. Hallelujah! I am still trying to figure out which direction Henry is trying to take me, so I am walking slowly now. From behind me, I hear murmuring. I look up in time to see what some would call a vagrant walk past me while shouting “F*ck you, you f*cking piece of sh*t!”, topping it off with a nasty glare. I stared back blankly at him, nonplussed, and did not engage him. I am savvy enough to know that wasn’t personal, but I still fail to see any reason behind his rant. Not exactly the warm and fuzzy reception I was hoping from my adopted city.

Walking obviously wasn’t deterring interaction, so I stopped on a corner to get my bearings. Wouldn’t you know it, blond guy asks me for change again. Now I am starting to feel like I am in one of those role-playing games where you keep bumping in to the same random character who asks you the same question over and over. I am finally heading in the right direction, when I get surrounded by a swarm of people all heading in the opposite direction. My first thoughts are, “Do they know something I don’t know? Should I turn around?”. I eventually spotted a woman with a bag of popcorn and realized that a movie must have ended. Whew. I turn the corner as directed by Henry and again find myself on a deserted block. Henry, where are you taking me now?? Sure enough, “Quiznos” turns out to be a tattoo parlor. Henry’s map must be out of date.

It is starting to get dark and I am rapidly losing my enthusiasm for this venture. If I was getting dinner for just me, I would have picked up take-out at the Indian restaurant I found, but I promised Subway and I don’t know my new roommates stand on curry. I halfheartedly look for delis on my walk home, but I have decided to still go to Subway, but a suburban location and by CAR!! When I finally reached my destination, I even tried to get beer (“Boy do I need a drink!”), but the directions I got from the Subway guy were vague and typing in the name of the pub/cold beer store he gave me into Henry yielded directions to Vancouver. Screw it!

Better luck tomorrow… I hope!!



  1. wow! sounds like a not so great start….

    nice to see you back on your blog..hope your summer was a good one, have fun over the next 4 months…..
    mine seems like a VERY distant memory when in fact it was only a year ago!
    looking back i wished i had enjoyed the experience a little more…kinda hard when you are so aware of the ‘friggin’ book that has to be filled up 🙂
    before you know it, it will be exam time!

    su 🙂

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