Hostage night in Canada

Whaddya do on a rainy night in Toronto?

MacLean & MacLean – What Do You Do On a Rainy Night in Toronto?

It started off so well. A good friend and writing colleague of mine, Patricia Flewwelling, asked me if I was interested in going to an event put on by the Crime Writers of Canada, CWCbetter known as the CWC, announcing the short lists for their Arthur Ellis awards. A handful of authors, including three I had books from, would be reading, cool people like Jill Edmondson, another author, would be there. Possibly even Paul Alves from Bookguys.ca I really wanted to meet him, but unfortunately, he didn’t make it.

bookguysSide note: if you’re interested in books or movies, check out bookguys.ca. It’s cool.

Anyway, the event sounded like an interesting Thursday night out. So I said yes.

Pat, who’s from Montreal, was staying in a Howard Johnson’s (better known as “HoJo’s”) in the extreme east end of Scarborough. So, I drove there and parked my truck. We would take Pat’s car, which is smaller than my ridiculously big fat Dodge Ram Hemi, and much more amenable to parking in downtown Toronto.

Pat shifted the detritus from the front seat to the back and I climbed in. The next half-hour was rather hilarious as I watched Pat, who is used to driving in Montreal, proceed to sputter and rage at the drivers on the 401 and Don Valley Parkway. It was then that we realized this was, in our thirteen years of knowing each other, that I was in the passenger seat.

We made it into Toronto, running late. The CWC event started at 7:00, and we were parking right around then. Pat found an underground spot, we drove in, got the ticket, and parked, then rushed out to the event.

arthur ellisOf the event, I won’t say a lot, except that I really enjoyed Howard Shrier‘s and Robert Rotenberg‘s readings, as well as a couple of others. I got my books autographed, met Jill and it was decided that a few of us would head over to a bar for a couple of drinks. I didn’t mind horribly, though I’d hoped to be home by 10:00. Howard Shrier mentioned he’d likely only have one as he had an early meeting with a publicist for his new book in the morning. Good, I thought, we won’t be late then.

Around 10:30, I started making noises about leaving. More drinks were ordered. Around 11:00, I made some more noises. Around 11:30, it looked like it was going to happen, then I realized we hadn’t paid yet, so we had to wait for checks. That led to another round of drinks and toasts.

Finally, we got out at 12:30.

Pat and I hit the streets, wet with light rain. We made our way back to the parking lot. I figured, well, it’s 12:30 now, so it’ll be at least an hour before I’m home. I’d better grab a coffee for the road. So we hit the Tim Horton’s across the street, then laden with coffee, tried to get to the car.

The garage door was down. No matter, there was a stairway leading to an entrance. I walked down it, jiggled the doorknob. Locked.

Locked?

Heading back up, I looked at the sign. Yes, it said it was open 6 am to 7 pm and, forgetting for the moment how ridiculous it is to close a public parking lot at 7 pm in downtown Toronto, I looked for the note that said something about “no entrance after hours.” There was none.

I called the number on the sign and it went something like this:

“Hi, I’m parked at the 1075 Bay Street parking lot and I need to get to my car.”
“Come back at 6 am.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“No sir.”
“Look, I need that car. I’m from Courtice and I’ve got someone here from Montreal that needs to get back to her hotel room and her dog.”
“There’s nothing I can do.”

1075 Bay Street Parking...better known as the Ninth Circle of Hell

1075 Bay Street Parking…better known as the Ninth Circle of Hell

So I swore loudly and disconnected. As I did this, it immediately started to rain much harder.

With nothing else to do, Pat flagged a cab and we headed back to her hotel room in Scarborough.

We’d just gotten into the cab and were discussing options (both of us needed to work in the morning, we were trying to figure out ways to get Pat’s car) when the Wife called. “Are you planning on coming home tonight?”

I explained my situation and told her I was on my way back to the truck. As I told her this, I had a flash of a memory. A memory of me looking at my keys and weighing options.

“Oh shit,” I said.

Both the Wife and Pat said, “What?”

“I just realized,” I said. “I left my keys in Pat’s car.” I let that sink in. Pat’s car. Currently receding behind us at 110 kmph. “I can’t drive home.”

I have a real problem with keys. To find out more, read this.

My first thought was to get the Wife to drive out and meet me in Scarborough, but she reminded me that our daughter had taken the car and was sleeping over at a friend’s place. They were celebrating the end of their first year of college. “She’s likely had a couple of drinks by now,” the Wife said. So that was out. I could tell by her voice she was not happy.

It was decided at that point that I would sleep on the floor in Pat’s hotel room. Pat warned me that, because she’d been drinking, she’d likely snore. “I snore too,” I said. “No biggie.”

I apologized to the Wife, Pat apologized to the Wife, and I hung up. $70 and 30 minutes later, we got back to the HoJo’s.

Pat’s mother had been dogsitting, and offered me a ride back, but with my daughter out, there was no way I would be able to get back to Scarborough, or to work in the morning.

Now, Pat’s mom is nice, but by now it was around 1:00 am, and I’d made the decision to get up at 5:30 to go get Pat’s car right when the garage opened at 6:00. So I just wanted to lay down and sleep. Pat and her mother chatted about the dog, about pizza, etc.

I’ll be honest here. When I’m tired, I can get rude. I’m sure I was rude, but neither Pat nor her mother mentioned it. They’re both far too nice to say anything.

Me? I grabbed a couple of pillows, dropped them on the floor, took off my button-down shirt so I’d look a little presentable in the morning and stretched out in my jeans and t-shirt. Pat’s mother left shortly thereafter.

Ever tried to sleep on the floor of a hotel? The carpet’s thin. It smells. We hadn’t thought to request an extra blanket, so there I was, fully clothed, contacts still in my eyes, trying to sleep. Let me break the next few hours down for you.

1:15 – 2:00 am:
Pat and her dog Dixie settled into bed, and both started slow, regular breathing. I tried to ignore the discomfort of the floor and focus on getting to sleep. Instead, I felt the slow thrumming of that last coffee jangling my nerves and popping my eyes open. Cars and trucks drove by. Dixie breathed. Pat breathed. Then I heard the shift of Pat’s breathing and thought, wow, if that’s what she calls snoring, that’s nothing. Ten minutes later, it got louder. Then louder still. It crescendoed to a room-rattling snarl, before reaching a peak, a snort, and a sound like glib-glab, then stopped. Then the whole cycle started again, taking about fifteen minutes from first heavy breaths to final glib-glab.

2:00 – 2:30 am:
The snoring was now done for the night. Next came the argument in the front lobby. I could tell the one guy was the poor bastard manning the desk of a Scarborough HoJo’s in the middle of the night, but I couldn’t tell who the other guy was. And the yelling didn’t serve to educate me any further

“I’m gonna call the cops.”
“You aren’t gonna call the cops.”
“Yes I am. I’m gonna call the cops.”
“You won’t call the cops.”
“I’m gonna call them. I’m gonna call the cops.”
“Go ahead! You call the cops.”
“I’m calling the cops.”

Seriously. If I wrote conversations like that in my fiction, I’d immediately delete it.

Not able to sleep, I pushed a pillow up against the wall and sat, arms on knees, head on arms. Did nothing.

2:30 – 3:00 am:
Two dogs. Two separate occasions. The first, some little pipsqueak of a thing, out in the hallway, yipping, then it was quickly cut off. The second was a bigger dog, and it barked five or six times.

Gave up and stretched back out again. This floor wasn’t getting any more comfortable. Smelled like dogs and dirty feet. I tried not to think about how many feet had walked the spot where I lay.

3:00 – 4:00 am:
Gave up, turned on my side, got as comfortable as I could. Fell asleep for fifteen minutes or so. Woke up, turned to other side, got maybe another half hour’s sleep.

4:00 – 5:00 am:
Got cold. Dreamed of my warm leather jacket, sitting not a hundred yards from where I lay, locked in my truck. Pulled my button down shirt off the chair and draped it over me. Watched the time go by in ten minute increments. Amused myself by counting to six hundred to see if I could accurately predict ten minutes. Nope. Had the Canadian comedians MacLean & MacLean’s song running through my head. Whaddya do on a rainy night in Toronto? Though their answers were funny, mine were just sad. Lose a car. Lose my keys. Lay awake on a floor. Curse the world that allows parking garages to close too early.

I can’t express the precise toll sleeping on a hard, cold, malodorous floor will take on you. How badly it stresses you to want to sleep, to need to sleep, to beg to sleep, but sleep doesn’t come. Instead, the night is spent staring up at a small green light on the smoke detector, the only point of interest in an otherwise dark room. The thoughts, every time the time is checked, of, That’s XX less minutes of sleep. I have to get up in XX hours. And too soon, that last thought changes to I have to get up in XX minutes. And finally, pushing up off the floor, tired, depressed, frustrated, and feeling two decades older than four hours before.

Though I’d originally planned to get up at 5:30, boredom and my bladder got me vertical at 5:00.

Called a cab company. The cab that should have been there in five minutes took more like fifteen. The cabbie called me to ask me where the hotel was. He later admitted he was a little concerned about picking someone up in Scarborough (he normally worked the western end of Toronto).

He finally found me, and by 5:30, I was on my way back to Pat’s car.

$75.00 later, he dropped me in front of the despicable 1075 Bay Street location right at 6:00 and I walked in, ready to drop a can of whupass on whoever happened to be working that morning.

There was no one. The entire place was automated.

Tell me again why a parking garage with no humans, only automated systems, needs to be closed at fucking 7:00 pm?

Found the car, pulled up to the exit, plugged in the ticket. Wasn’t surprised to see the daily maximum of $12.00 had, of course, been doubled. Why shouldn’t they hold your car hostage overnight, then bill you $24.00 for the privilege?

At this point, as I pulled out my credit card, I could only laugh. I stopped at the exact same Tim’s and ordered a big, fat coffee. Because, you know, there’s always time for Tim Horton’s.

I drove back to the hotel in Scarborough, got there about 6:30. Parked Pat’s car, snagged my keys, took her keys back to her, then got back in my truck and, bone weary, headed home.

Got home about 7:00. Got my son up for school, walked the dog, had a shower, ironed a new shirt and headed back out to spend a full day standing in the Oshawa Centre to observe how one of my company’s stores run.

The next time I get invited to an event in Toronto, I’m still going to say yes, but I’ll be goddamned if I’ll park at 1075 Bay Street.

And it will turn out to be something better to do on a rainy night in Toronto.

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I’m only sleeping

Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me
Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping.

The Beatles – I’m Only Sleeping

I’ve been feeling quite fatigued the past few months, to the point where I have an almost irresistable urge to have a nap, every single afternoon. I don’t know if I somehow fell into the European way of living after the cruise, or if I’m just getting accustomed to being an old fart.

Either way, it’s been prevalent enough that I mentioned it to my doctor, who promptly suggested a sleep study. I’ve participated in a sleep study before, but it was at least a decade ago, so I’d forgotten most of it…well, aside from the go in and sleep part.

Last night, I did the sleep study again.

The first hurdle to cross was, I had to pass at least three Tim Horton’s along the way to the sleep clinic and it seemed each one called my name just a little bit louder. I wouldn’t be lying when I told you I had the “You’ve always got time for Tim Horton’s” jingle bouncing around in my head all the way there.

I parked and headed in. There was a creepy old guy there ahead of me. How creepy? You know in those movies that take place in Transylvania or some place like that, and the hero always encounters an old woman who’s creepy and has a bad eye? The old woman from the movie Drag Me To Hell fits the bill nicely.

Not necessarily someone you wanna sleep with

Not necessarily someone you wanna sleep with

Yeah, well, that was this creepy old guy, right down to the bad eye. I’m not even kidding.

When I came in, there was a TV on up in the corner, but he just sat, staring off in a different direction. Sort of toward me, but not quite. I said hi to him. He said nothing back.

Then a couple more guys showed up, not creepy, but also a solid decade or two older. So, even though I was the youngest guy there, scenarios went through my head. Creepy old guy takes over other old guys’ minds then come after the younger dude to…

I don’t even want to think about it.

The only advantage I figured I had was, he was heavier and they put him on the first floor and I was up on the second. I would have heard him tromping up the stairs.

Anyway, we hung out in the waiting room watching possibly one of the stupidest excuses for reality television show. House Hunters International. Seriously, who the hell wants to watch people go through three or four houses and pick one? Just don’t get it.

I was so happy when the staff dude came along to collect us. Then as we walked up the stairs, I saw the Tim Horton’s cup of coffee in his hand. “You’re teasing me, aren’t you?” I said. He just laughed.

Because I was the first one going to bed, I was the first to get wired up.

Now, for those of you who have never done a sleep study, there’s no way to adequately describe exactly how much they wire you up for one of these things. So, instead, I took some pics:

The full frontal

The full frontal

The overhead shot

The under-the-chin shot (or the up-the-nostrils shot)

The right side

The right side

The wrong side

The wrong side

I'm electric!

I’m electric!

To get those wires to stick to my scalp, they have to use substantial amounts of goopty-goo that’s actually conductive gel. He took one look at my stubbled face and slathered it all over my chin too. The he stuck the leads in, then glued it all down with generous helpings of tape.

I also got the tubes in the nose so they’d know if I stopped breathing. Got a couple of leads near my eyes so they could measure R.E.M. (rapid eye movement, not the band from Athens, Georgia) and more to see if I ground my teeth and more to watch for swallowing.

Are you Sarah Connor? Do you have my teddy bear?

Are you Sarah Connor? Do you have my teddy bear?

After about a half hour of getting wired up worse than the Terminator, I got to head off and read for a while. When I was ready for bed, I just needed to let him know and that would start Round Two of the wiring procedure.

After reading for about a half hour, he was just about wiring up Guy Number Two. I let him know I was ready to be tucked in, and he said, “Okay, I’ll be there in a minute. Do you want to use the washroom one more time?” Then, he added a strong, “Please.” Not, “please?” but “please.”

He didn’t want me having to get up in the middle of the night, needing a late-night tinkle when I was wired up like a Christmas tree.

Finally, I was ready. He pulled back the covers, I laid down, then he jacked in the various leads to a couple of boxes beside the bed. then he taped a small piece to the end of my left index finger that glowed red. It would let him know how oxygenated I was. I thought it made me look like E.T.

etHe said he just needed to test a couple more things, and I would hear him over the speaker. He left the room, and I heard him heading downstairs. Then, after checking to see if I could hear him on the speaker, he had me lay with my eyes open, then with them closed, then looking up, then down, then up then down. Switch to looking left to right, back to left, back to right. Then breathe deeply, in and out. Then hold my breath for ten seconds. Then breathe normally. Then, not breathe, but move my stomach in and out (which took me a second or two to actually get working). Finally, I was to move my feet, first pointing my toes downward, then up, down then up.

Apparently all was well. Then it was time to sleep. Even with all these leads, I was still surprisingly mobile, and could sleep on either side. I sometimes sleep on my stomach as well, but that just wasn’t comfortable for me.

I have to say, on an average night at home, I can drop off pretty quickly. The Wife gets pissed at times, because it typically goes something like:

Me: “‘Night, honey.”

The Wife: “Night, babe.”

Me: “Love you.”

The Wife: “Love you too.”

Me: Snores.

But not last night. I started on my back and it wasn’t bad, but I usually fall asleep on my side. So I moved to my left side. That stupid tube going from nose to ear to throat was making itself known by digging into my cheek a bit. Then, of course, along come the thoughts. What if I can’t fall asleep? What if I’m up all night?

Then the dude in the room next to me started snoring. Not loud, but enough to hear it. I felt the frustration the Wife likely feels when I drop off in seconds. Bastard. I was still wide awake. Tired, but wide awake.

So, back to my back. Though it feels like I didn’t fall asleep there, I very likely did. Then I woke up again. Over to the right side. Tubes digging. Not comfortable. More discouraging thoughts. I should have read more, made myself really tired.

Back to the back.

And so on, through much of the night.

I knew wake up was around six in the morning, but being in a room with no windows, I had no idea what time it was. I had decided before going to bed that I would not use the desk clock feature on my phone, because I didn’t really want to know what time it was if I couldn’t sleep, and I’m glad I did.

But it’s interesting, because, of course, the dude watching the monitors knows exactly when I’m awake. So, when I woke up and rolled over, I heard him on the small speaker. “Good morning! Right on time. It’s 5:58. Just relax and I’ll be in soon.”

Yup, that’s me. It doesn’t matter what time I need to get up, I usually wake up a minute or two prior to the alarm going off. Good to see it still worked here as well.

He came in, unjacked me and we headed back into the room where he dewired me and handed me a small towel and facecloth to scrub some of that goopty-goo off. I went into the bathroom and, looking in the mirror, realized exactly how inadequate one little facecloth was going to be for the task.

I scrubbed it off my chin and anywhere else it was visible, then ran my hands under the water and finger-brushed my hair back. It was only 7:00 am and it was a ten-minute drive home. I had planned on grabbing a coffee on the way, but nope, it was straight home and right into the shower.

On the way out, I got an appointment card for about a month from now, when I’ll get my results. I already know what they’ll be. “You sleep fine, and if you want to get rid of that snore, lose forty pounds.”

Mark my words. In the meantime, I wait.

And now, here I sit, tired as hell. Though I can honestly say that I got wired on a Saturday night, and had to sleep it off.

Time for a nap.

Shop the madness! Or, grocery shopping etiquette in 11 + 2.5 easy steps

Anyone who reads this blog knows how much I love shopping (and for those who haven’t read this blog before, “love shopping” is total, unadulterated sarcasm). If I die and go to hell, the devil will give me a shopping cart and tell me to shop ’til I drop.

devil

Today, due to a confluence of evil forces, I was forced to shop in my local No Frills, as well as WalMart, and finally, at Costco. And I also had to shop not only for my family, but for my mother as well. Pretty damn close to that hell scenario above, right?

Anyway, likely because the stores were closed yesterday for Good Friday, today should have been renamed Evil Saturday. Everyone seemed to need to feel the smooth plastic of a shopping cart in their hands. Everyone seemed to need to line up endlessly. And here was I, caught in the middle of this retail maelstrom. In fact, at one point, when I was in an aisle that could accommodate at least four carts side-by-side, and I was locked in position for a solid five minutes, I looked over at my wife and said, “kill me now.” Several people snickered. But no one moved.

Anyway, having spent so much time in line, I hereby present Tobin’s Rules for Shopping.

parking_lotRule 0: Don’t park like a douchenozzle
Yes, I’m starting at rule 0, because you haven’t even started shopping yet, and already you’re pissing people off. I’m going to try and be as clear as I can here: A parking space is an area of pavement usually bordered by three yellow lines. You park your vehicle so that it is contained within those three lines. To do anything other than this is to park like a douchenozzle. How does a douchenozzle park, you ask?

  1. A douchenozzle will take up two spaces, either on purpose or because they lack the basic talent to navigate a vehicle. You can tell the difference, because the one that does it on purpose will likely park it at a rakish angle, where the no-talent will just be over one of the lines by a foot or two.
  2. A douchenozzle will park where there is no parking space whatsoever. Usually closer to the store than anyone else, often right in the path of other cars.
  3. A douchenozzle will foolishly believe they will only be a few minutes, so they don’t need no stinkin’ parking space. Instead, they’ll park right up at the curb beside the store, usually blocking everyone else’s access to and from the store. Often, the douchenozzle themselves will stay in the car, smoking and playing obnoxious dance music at an obnoxious volume while they wait for their significant other (usually the one with the clothes that were in fashion in the 80s, back when they were twenty, or they’re wearing clothes that are five sizes too small for them because it makes them sexy, or, as they say, “schmexy,” or they look like they just came off a welfare-cheque financed bender) runs in for the stuff.

Don’t do any of this. Douchenozzle.

Rule 1: Don’t block the entrance
When you have made your list, grabbed your coffee, somehow managed to find a parking spot, remembered your bags, dug out a quarter and snagged a shopping cart then you’re already ahead of the game. So why the hell do you feel it’s necessary to get just inside the doors, then stop? Why? Get your ass all the way in, find a quiet, or at least an out of the way spot by all that weird fruit that no one buys, then get your shit together. Dick.

Rule 2: Watch where you’re going
Yes, there’s all sorts of things to do when you’re shopping. Keep track of that shopping list. Drink your coffee. Avoid all the morons. Scan for sales. Compare prices and sizes because it’s stunning how often they rip you off with the jumbo sizes. Etc. Etc. Etc. But seriously, it’s no worse than driving a car. So why do so many people simply choose to look sideways, or at their list, instead of where the hell they’re going? If you do this shit in the grocery store, I guarantee you’re the type to text and drive and I trust you will end up on the Darwin Awards shortly. And if you do this, and don’t know what the Darwin Awards are…don’t worry. You’ll find out. Moron.

Rule 3: Don’t walk forward and look backward
If you’ve already passed something, then you should have damn well looked at it then. If you didn’t, you have two choices: Back up safely, or loop around and check it out on the second pass. You should not be staring at it, trying to decide if it’s right for you, as you continue to walk away from it. There’s people’s heels in front of you, moron. Those damn carts hurt when they nail you right on that tendon. Again, if you do this here, you likely do this when you drive and obviously the sidewalks are no longer safe to walk. Shithead.

Rule 4: Don’t block the lane
So you’ve read the first three and you’re feeling pretty satisfied because you can honestly say, “I’ve never done any of those.” Well, then how about this perennial gem: Instead of slamming into people by looking backwards or sideways, you leave your cart to go on an exploratory side expedition, because those Ballpark Hot Dog-flavoured Potato Chips are strangely intriguing you. So you leave your damn cart in the middle of nowhere while you go off to scan the product. You’re like that stupid geologist from the movie Prometheus that sends all those flying robots to map out the place, then gets lost. Because no one leaves their cart for a second. They leave it, a large, grocery laden, steel-mesh chunk of flotsam, for a few minutes while everyone else now has to navigate around it. Watch out for me, because I’ll toss that damn cart down the nearest aisle and I don’t care how much stink eye you give me. I’ve done it. Fool.

Rule 5: Paying more attention to your phone than to the task at hand
Okay, yes, they’re convenient. Yes, people can now call you/text you/FB you/Tweet you and every other thing they pack into mobile devices these days. I use mine to hold the shopping list. So, they have their uses. But it is not acceptable to stop in the middle of a crowded grocery store to update your FB status.
FBIt’s not cool to slam your carts into other shoppers’ carts because you’re texting your BFF. That’s not an LOL. Or a ROFL. That’s a GTFOOMW (Get The Fuck Out Of My Way). That’s a WWTHYD (Watch What The Hell You’re Doing). Asshat.

Rule 6: There’s always someone behind you
Which means, when you decide to take twenty minutes to decide between the President’s Choice Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies and the President’s Choice Decadent Chocolate Chunk Cookies, you’ve likely chosen to stop your stupid cart directly beside the person who is updating their FB to complain about the dude taking twenty minutes to decide between the President’s Choice Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies and the President’s Choice Decadent Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Meanwhile, there’s a logjam of people stuck behind you both. Now, most people are polite. But if you hear a low, menacing, “Jesus H. Christ on Toast!” behind you, that’s me wondering if I hit you hard enough, will you press into the mesh of your cart and have to explain to your significant other why you suddenly look like you came out of a waffle iron. So move. Cretin.

express-lane-is-THIS-manyRule 7: Learn to count prior to jamming up the 8 Items or Less line
So you’ve managed to navigate the hazardous waters of the grocery store and now you’re ready to check out. Then, after a flawless performance, you then blow it all by parking your sorry ass in the wrong line. This one’s a particular pet peeve of mine. You can read further adventures here. Here’s a crazy suggestion: Try these steps.

  1. Read the sign and ask yourself, “How many items do they allow in this aisle?” It could be 8. It could be 10. It could be 12. Hell it might even be 15. In any case, between your fingers and your toes, you have enough to count them. Do so.
  2. Don’t be a bitch and say, “Well, I’ve got three loaves of bread, but really, they’re only one product, so that counts as one.” No it doesn’t. If you’ve got three, then count three.
  3. Count up all your items.
  4. Now here’s the tricky part. If the number of items in your cart or basket exceeds (which is a fancy-schmancy word for “is more than”) that number on the sign, then you cannot go in that line.
  5. Judge yourself accordingly

Trust me, this will save you a lot of harrasment at my hands if I happen to be the dude standing behind you, counting your items loudly, then bemoaning the fact that our school system no longer sees fit to teach our youth how to count. Pus bag.

buttRule 8: Don’t butt in line
So you’re looking at those horribly long, slow moving lines and even the 8 Items or Less line is stunningly long (likely with those that can’t count past five), so you find someone with a cart that’s bulging with food items and groaning under the weight and, when the person looks the other way, you choose to just deke in front of them. After all, you’ve only got a few little items, right? They won’t mind.

Yeah, they will. There’s a reason we use the terms butt and ass interchangeably. Your time is no more important than that poor bastard you just cut in front of. You are no more important than anyone else, no matter what your mama told you back when you were four years old. Buttmunch.

Rule 9: Next in line means next in line
There’s five of you in line, but then a new cashier comes in, opens up her register, smiles and says, “I’ll serve the next person in line.” Okay, just to be clear on this, what she really means is, I’ll serve the next person in line. What she definitely doesn’t mean is, I’ll serve the person that can elbow their way here the fastest. What she doesn’t mean is, I’ll serve the asshole who thinks they’re far more important than anyone else next.

I know it sounds crazy, serving the person that’s been in line the longest. But that’s really what they mean. So don’t be that jackass that shows they don’t understand rudimentary English, ‘kay? Jackass.

Rule 10: Don’t leave your cart or your fat ass in the laneway while you pack your groceries
This fits with rule 6. Because you’ve chosen to block the laneway with your cart and your ass while you pack your groceries at a glacial pace, the person behind you can’t even get up to the cash register to pay, even though they’re trying to get out of the way of the dude behind them. And you’re all doopty doopty doo, look at me packing my chocolate chunk cookies! The corollary to this is you getting the hell out of that laneway, but then scooting around to the far side and parking your fat ass in someone else’s way while you’re all doopty doopty doo. Doo-doo head.

Rule 1 Revisited: Don’t block the exit
You’re now heading out of the store. Again, rule 6 still applies. So don’t stop just before, or just after, the exit doors to dig your sunglasses and keys out of your purse. Don’t stop to adjust your junk before you head on out. Don’t stop and choose that moment to put your change/debit card/credit card in your wallet. You’ve made it this far, just keep going, stay the hell out of other people’s way, get to your car, then you can do all that shit. Bunghole.

shopping-cartBonus Rule…Rule 11: Put the cart in the corral
You’ve likely invested a whole quarter for the use of that cart, don’t you want it back? And even if you don’t, the rest of us don’t want to have to dodge the carts scattered willy nilly through the parking lot because you were too frigging lazy to walk it the twenty or thirty feet to the corral. Really, is it that much of a chore? The cart’s empty, it’s light. And besides, this is where you can have fun, putting one foot up on the cart and scoot it up to 15 mph and ride it across the parking lot, the wind blowing wildly through your hair. Yes, you look like a five-year-old, and some other asshole will likely blog about what a shithead you are, but who cares? It’s fun.

Otherwise, you’re just leaving a big chunk of metal around to scratch someone else’s car. Dork.

Rule 0.5: Learn how to back up
You’ve done it! You’ve run the gauntlet, you’ve gotten out alive, hell, you even had a little thrill returning the cart to the corral. Now, you just have to back the vehicle out of the space and get home. So how about this? When you’re backing up, actually look where you’re going. I guarantee that old dude with the walker, or the mother with her child in the cart weren’t really planning on a visit to the Emergency Room because you plowed your back bumper into their fleshy parts. Other cars are running up and down that parking lot. People are walking. Carts are blowing by. So when you back out, ease out, look behind you, look to your left and right to ensure nothing is coming at you, then and only then, can you vacate that space and get your ass gone.

Because, honestly, you wouldn’t want someone calling you a bad name, would you?

Of course not.

The endurance of nicturation (peein’ lots)

Went with the Wife to see This is 40 last weekend (great movie, by the way), but on the way out, I noticed something.

I pee a lot.

I don’t mean I urinate frequently. Though that does happen when I have a couple of cups of coffee. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Seriously, what coffee does to me isn’t fun. If you’re busting to find out how I turn into Michael friggin’ Flatley’s Lord of the Pee Pee Dance, click here. But I’m not talking about that.

And I’m not talking about stagefright. Stagefright, for those not in the know, is the inability to pee when someone else is in the room, like what happens when you’re in a public washroom.

I’m also not talking about stepping up to a toilet, then waiting several minutes to get in the flow. I don’t think I’ve ever had that problem.

No, I’m talking about the actual act of urination. For some reason, it seems to go on for quite a while.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ah, but Tobin, you said at the beginning that you’d gone to a movie theatre and that’s where you noticed you pee a lot. You likely ordered a Coke in what they laughing call “regular” size but could be fitted with a diving board and comfortably accommodate six.

Biggest-Gulp

Nope. Not the case. Had a very small drink, about the size of a kid’s sippy cup.

sippy cup

But still, when the movie finished and I hit the facilities, something happened that I’ve become increasingly aware of lately.

I went up my urinal of choice, always choosing one with a at least one empty one between me and the next dude. In this case, the row was empty, so I take the end one. That’s just courtesy and allows for comfortable breathing room. I hate those guys that come into a room with three urinals and take the middle one. Not cool, man. That means the next guy through the door either has to stand right beside you or choose the stall and make you wonder whether he suffers from stagefright (see above).

urinal

While I’m on the topic, can someone explain to me why a significant percentage of males have to get up there, unzip, whip it out, then, prior to letting fly, they have to lean forward a bit and spit straight down into the urinal first? Why do guys do that? Do women do that?

Anyway, I chose the end one, initiated nicturation and noticed someone else come up and grab a urinal. He stepped up after me, did what he needed to do. Then another guy came in, saw there was only one open urinal, made for the stall. Meanwhile, the first one zipped and left (without washing his hands, I might add…just gross…I know where your hand was last). I’m still peeing. Then the stall guy finishes, flushes and washes his hands and leaves.

I’m still peeing.

peeing

At this point, several things go through my head…

  1. Are the other guys thinking that I’m standing there with stagefright?  Cuz I’m not.
  2. Are the other guys thinking it’s a little weird that the dude on the end seems inordinately attached to his urinal? Cuz I’m not.
  3. Is the guy on the end doing something other than peeing in that urinal? Cuz I’m not.
  4. Do they think I’m recreating that Tom Hanks scene from A League of Their Own? Cuz I’m not.

And this event that I outlined above…this isn’t the first time this has happened. It kind of happens every damn time I’m in a public washroom. It probably would at home too if someone else were competing with me.

So, now I start to wonder…

  1. Am I holding it too long? But I know I’m not.
  2. Is the opening or piping extra small, meaning the same volume takes longer to travel the distance? Doesn’t seem to be, from what I can tell.
  3. Is my bladder exceptionally large bladder? Looking it up, it seems the average bladder can hold about 700ml (about the size of a Tim Horton’s extra large coffee) to one full litre of fluid, but the average human usually gets the urge when it’s sitting around 150 – 200 ml full, or about half a regular can of pop. There’s times I wonder if I somehow got an extra stretchy bladder, or it got inadvertently super-sized at birth.

Tim Hortons Cup Sizes

All I know is, I have a lot of time to think about it while I’m standing there at that damn urinal.

And, pardon the pun, it kind of pisses me off.

That video is not me, by the way…