Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

The new normal?

As some of you may know, I experienced a *few* issues with my eye a few years back.  As a result, I still have annual check-ups with the surgeon -- as much to make sure the good eye is still good as to check on the iffy one.   Anyways - today was that day.   But it's more of an adventure when I'm not downtown every day.  

And an interesting experience since *nobody* is downtown anymore.  Wow.   Caught the train at mid rush hour am.   In the before times, this would've been a sardine ride at best.  Definitely no seat.  And thankfully express from one stop past where I boarded.  

The world shut down in March of 2020;
this was a pic from Feb 2020.  
Note on this day I was lucky:
I had a seat and nobody I felt obligated to give it to.

Well I pulled into the usual parking lot...  And it was completely empty.   Like growing grass empty.   Drove over to the "main" parking lot, which, since I'm not an early morning person, I've never experienced before.  And it too was empty.  There were people on the platform.   I mean, a couple of them - not the packed several layers deep of the past, but signs of life at least.

You can't even really see the parking lot I used to park in from here;
yet still more empty spots than not.

Found my platform and waited for the train.  A little disconcerted because half the platform was closed for construction and because I couldn't remember where to stand so the doors would open right in front of me.  Not that it mattered - everybody on the platform could have their own car with many left over. 

Rush hour.  I'm not even kidding.

Express trains no longer exist and it's easy to see why.  Interesting balance of eerie and awesome to have the upstairs pretty much to myself (I think there was one other passenger).  Once I got downtown, same thing.  Even exiting the platform - while not social distanced, was nowhere near the overwhelming pack of people that made me hate commuting so much. 

Before times I rarely entered this tunnel in rush hour  because 
people were packed side to side and I found it claustrophobic.  
Today, well suffice to say I didn't bother with the slightly longer
outdoor walk that would let me avoid said tunnel.

So last night I had calculated what the last train I could get that would make me on time for my afternoon meetings was if I was planning to work at my parents, or if I was planning to go all the way home.    And I kinda scoffed at the all the way home one as not possible.

But then I got through the dr process super fast.  Doctor had seen me (all status quo - nothing exciting, nothing scary; we'll deem that a win), and I still had 15 min to check out and have enough time to make the train.  Their checkout is traditionally slower than the average sloth, but maybe?   Except the the doc took my paper and disappeared :(.  And 15 min later, reappeared.  So now I could go to checkout but now was when I had to be walking to the train.  Hmmm

Alright we’ll for the first time ever, not checkout AND the phenomenally slow elevators were aligned in my favour.  Okay so end up in front of the hospital, 11 min before the train will leave.  It’s a 15 min walk and a flight of stairs to get to the platform.  

I used to run for the train all the time.  And, well, there are no pedestrians to dodge, so sb good to go.  

I'm not exaggerating about the empty streets.
This was shortly before 9am.

Lol - used to run.  Used to.  As in, not currently.  But I gave it a solid effort - I still had drops in so couldn’t even see my watch to see if I was likely to make it.  And the worst - about 3/4 of the way there, some dude jogged by me like it was an easy stroll while I was huffing and puffing my sprint to the station.  Talk about demoralizing.  Sheesh

Had a moment of concern that I wouldn’t be able to read the platform board - and there were all kinds of notices on the way in that platforms have changed, but when I got there, I could make it out.  Win!

Had a moment of east or west?  Crossing the bridge has entirely f’d my sense of direction.  But I picked the right one and took the stairs two at a time, jumping into the closest car with more than 30 seconds to spare!

Except - heard the end of a message about “if you want to get off at *insert my stop here*”. Hmmm. So I walked through the train to the customer service person to find out that all was well - just certain cars weren’t opening there for consareuction, but the one I had randomly hoped into was fine.

However, by thiis point I was a hot mess.  Panting and sweating buckets.  Ugh.  So I went and found an empty car (ie - literally the first one I checked) so I could walk a bit till I cooled off.

All good, made it home in time for my call, but what an experience.  Toronto in pandemic time is a very different world.  Will be interesting to see where it lands once those people inclined / required to return to offices actually do so.


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