Monday, July 15, 2013

A Weekend in the Hot Sassy City

A pint at Bellwoods Brewery, the name of which, I do not recall.

Lately, I have been what you might call slothful. Not just lazy but practically inert. I'm not entirely to blame nor blameless either. The tumultuous weather and the resulting headaches or migraines have meant my preferred position recently has been horizontal and drugged — though I prefer the Elizabethan sounding "druggéd". Sounds romantic. As though I were an English poet recumbent on a chaise lounge incapacitated by opiates, dreaming of stately pleasure domes. But I wasn't really. In reality I lay in a sticky, bright but airless Parkdale apartment (albeit with views of sailboats on the lake). 

One problem is I gain weight like a plant absorbs carbon dioxide — very efficiently. Also, I appear to have developed a tendency for being a hermit. To counteract both weight gain and hermitage but mostly to avoid the heat of my apartment and the noise of the nearby Molson Indy car race I took a longish bike ride then attempted rehydration at Bellwoods Brewery.

Let me say the staff at Bellwoods do not lack charm nor attractiveness. It is a small place that doubles in size by opening its patio area but by my count there are 11 staff - oh wait - make that 12 - 9 women (think: sexy librarians on their weekend off) and 3 guys (think: hipster Lumberjacks who can run a 5-minute mile). I am sat at the bar; on my left, 2 nerds who are kept to themselves; on my right, two dudes who had just come from watching the Indy and immediately had an easy rapport with the server who yes, if you care to know, did look a little like the actress Jennifer Garner.

I drove to Bellwoods Brewery after leaving my most expensive bike (like a parent, I don't have "favourites") in the capable hands of some greedy mechanics whose very special skill is being able to tell when a man has more money than sense. It's as bad as owning a car. Though I don't have to own a car. I have since joined a second car-share program but this one, Car2Go has a rather unique and useful proposition. See Car. Get in Car. Park Car. Leave Car. It's funny that the best way I can explain it is be comparing it to a bike-share program. It's like Bixi bikes. You find one of their cars in one of many Green P parking lots; enter it with your access card; enter your PIN; drive to your destination and park in another Green P parking lot and you're done. It's less than 25 cents a minute. Cheaper than a cab ride and in this case, cheaper than the bus. I would have loved to have driven home but after being dehydrated from a 95 km bike ride, and then downing two pints of beer, I thought better of it and walked home. Unfortunately, riding and cooking yourself in the hot sun for four hours, quickly drinking a lot of beer and filling your gut with a large platter of cheese leaves one feeling… how to put this politely? Terrible. Yes. That's right. The locally sourced cheese found a local short cut somewhere to the bottom, while the beer took a shortcut to a hangover. Eventually, I slept fitfully. 

Sunday was less adventurous. After watching Chris Froome attack Mount Ventoux in (suspiciously) super-human fashion (if the man isn't on drugs then the British army should clone him forthwith for battle duty) in the Tour de France, I slackened my grip on any To-do lists and did what any man with more money than sense does. I shopped. I purchased. Sometimes I think I make more purchases than I require at MEC so I may have more things to discuss with (if I'm lucky) the attractive woman at the cash (think "sexy librarian who hikes and camps"). The young woman recognized me which is surprising as I shop in a rather improvisational manner. Always forgetting something, going back for another thing, then buying something entirely wrong which reminded me of what I required in the first place. I suppose that could have been my cue for more conversation outside of the store. Instead I immediately went to a 3:30 showing of Pacific Rim in an air-conditioned theatre. The movie was very loud, but still a pleasant respite from the "Roar by the Shore" aka the Molson Indy which was taking place very loudly near my apartment.

As soon as I left the theatre, the heat hit me and though the bike ride home had a cooling breeze as soon as I stopped it was like being in a cooker. Walking in my apartment, I knew I couldn't stay there. If you had checked in on me I would have said to turn me in 30 minutes and add a little sea salt and vinegar and I should be done. Completely roasted. I had looked at the swimming schedule online and knew the High Park outdoor pool was open for another hour, so I grabbed my kit, made the trek up the hill in High Park (no easy feat) and was surprised how few people were there. The pool was amazingly cool and I eked out a few dozen laps slowly as to absorb the coldness of the water. The ride home was thankfully downhill and it was easy to enjoy the rush of air. Once home, I poured a drink as cold as a liquid can be without being a solid and relaxed in the withering heat knowing at least that if I die, my remains will evaporate and if I'm lucky, condense in cold enough air that they will crystallize and fall as snow. Then I might finally be cool again.

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