Thursday, December 06, 2007
So today I had a meeting in Welland, Ontario. Nothing special, except that it's just past the distance limits of what my company feels they want to reimburse me for using my own car. Therefore as a good corporate citizen I rent a car today. The day started well, great service from the manager at the local Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and a nice drive to Welland enjoying XM satellite radio (especially the uncensored comedy on XM Comedy) - a sunny, 90 minute drive.
The first of my (petty) annoyances began when I was trying to find a reasonable stop for lunch. I had at least a 30 minute window before my meeting and drove past a Tim Horton's by the meeting location to find a better option. After circling around the depressing downtown area I decided back on Timmy's because the state of the local greasy spoons wasn't really appetizing.
The meeting went well and quite long. I knew I was facing rush hour traffic heading back home. But first I had to fill up. I circled the small downtown core of Welland without finding a decent gas station (i.e. one I could use my express transceivers, thus limiting my exposure to sub zero temps and making a speedy getaway). No luck, so I thought, hey I'll hop back on the main road and check out the next major exit, ok a few more clicks, past one-second choice gas station to a preferred Esso. Some of the pumps were cordoned off, and the opened ones had plastic no-gas covers on the pumps. I head in - are you serious ? Yes, we ran out of gas ! Pause - the traffic lights in Welland must be on some old-timer timing schedule - man they're long - or is it just me? So I settle on Canadian Tire gas, but the place is jammed, cars in all directions, some maintenance guy working on one of the pumps and a line up out of the pay cube hut !
So, I'm fueled up, warm and heading home with a fine selection of XM satellite music and comedy.
A quick check on the traffic report provides some guidance on avoiding an incident on the 401 East (I take the the 427 route). Traffic warning at Burloak. Not a biggy. I'm back in Toronto in predictable time and traffic. Ok, I can deal with this. But there do seem to be a few more nutters than usual on the road today. I head off the 401, thinking the worst is over, for the last stretch down the Allen - ouch ! Huge back up across 3 lanes all heading off at Lawrence. I play the 2 lane game trying to discourage the lane 3 drivers, it seems to take forever with cars separated by inches.
Off at Lawrence, almost home. Then the little things start bugging me. A poor last-minute manoeuvre has a car's ass end in my lane at the Bathurst light - sure go ahead idiot - 2 cars go through on red.
Turn on Avenue, almost home. Typical wait for left turn at Castlefield, but cars going out of order, and taking handfuls of my patience (I'm trying not to curse too much at this point) with polite little F* waves.
I actually drive past home to park the rental car at the lot at the end of my street. A few close passes avoiding protruding cars in snow banks (yes, we have quite a lot of snow and ice at the moment). The street is narrowing and becomes more and more clogged as I get closer to the last left turn of the day. I'm almost there, ok about a dozen Volvos and Lexi picking up little "preciouses".
I'm looking for a gap to turn into the lot, but no. So I'm stationary, signaling left and a car passes me on the left to get ahead to the next light - sure go ahead madam. Another car passes on the left - I go left block the road with I'm-almost-home-optimism. Then one guy can't reach the ticket dispenser, sure ticket lady give 'em a hand...
I'm in. I pack up my stuff and about to lock up, when the nice manager spots me - he's locked up but offered to take the keys - sure I say, here you go, great service mate ! Hold on, briefcase still in the car, got it, Good night.
I get home. My Blackberry is still in the car, for the night.
The story was going to end there, but I just got home and remembered where I'd put my Blackberry - ending the day on a good note.