Day one of the Pan Am Games. At least for me. It’s day two for some of the athletes, and day negative-three for the official kick-off. Who’s runnin’ this show anyway? A bank, which ought to say enough. Leaving Ottawa our first stop was at the McDonald’s Adult Play Place, also known as the Pan Am Accreditation building, which, conveniently to most, deadly to myself, was colour-coded so you could follow pathways through the line-ups.. They also kept calling me Bob, so I’m not sure if my fake name has taken over as my real name, or if Wendy at reception had a case of lost spectacles. Either way, it all got sorted and I have my regular boring English name back on the access card, along with the first of 37 pieces of flair, acquired during my error-filled search for the exit, which was truthfully but inartistically, through the gift shop.
Next stop was the ho(me)tel for the month located in the middle of all the people in the middle of all the Fog: downtown Toronto. Now, I think Ottawa is too congested, so this one will require an adjustment period precisely one day longer than my stay. On the plus side, there’s cheap valet parking, though the valet claims that it is I who’s the cheap one. Potayto potahto I say. I was under the impression he could buy a whole bag of Mary Jane with that dime.
He fetched my car anyway, for the third time this afternoon, so I could wander over to the local rowing club and accomplish nothing. (I do this at home so it wasn't much of a shock to the system).
Follow me here please … there now exist telephones and computers. It is possible to use such devices for phone calls and emails, respectively. Still with me? Well the rowing community isn't. These beautiful technological phenomena seem to fade as one approaches the shoreline. They are (or at least claim to be) regular turf-dwelling beings, albeit somewhat socially awkward variations of such. Yet I keep having to truck myself right up to their front door and just before I can claim squatter’s rights at the boathouse they open the door to say “Hi, there’s really nothing we can do.” And why didn’t you just email us? Oh okay. Okay now. Yes, noted. I noted that, what you said there. Thank you.
A door-to-door travelling oarsman has no place in this world.
I was at the last club within a reasonable distance in this big TOwn and it just so happened that their afternoon practice was cancelled, so only one water-pusher was present to inform me of the goings-on. I told him I’d return tomorrow and hope for better results. He asked me to bring some of those better results to his competitive crews. I laughed because it was I who actually said that.
He also told me to just email the club to save time. So I told him to get back into 3-seat and be less foolish with his mouth and the words it was making.
At the very least I can cross one item off the list: I finally located a boat to use for the summer, without which I would sink, naturally.
It was a surprise both to myself and eventually to my wallet. I’m heading to a different club in a different town tomorrow in search of said shell, as soon as I finish my meetings and fulfill my real working purpose here in the Big Smoke, which surprisingly to you, isn't to "sport." Alas, if I don’t work I can’t afford my lavishly stupid water-frolicking lifestyle in the wee hours of the morning.
It is much cheaper to stay in bed until breakfast.
Money-wise, I just last night installed a new roof rack on Lauren, my red Corolla, and now I need to affix a boat rack on top of that and then a boat on top of that, so I can drive the carbon fiber sandwich back to the Smog and knock on that unmanned door again hoping for a spot for myself and one for my new floating friend, which I’m convinced I’ll name Chapter 7, for bankruptcy. Then I can start looking for some oars, a thought that conveniently slipped my mind during the celebration of boat-finding earlier today, and later on Wednesday I can give up all hope in this sport.
It’s now 10 o’clock and I’ve read enough about amateur athletes to turn pro, so I suppose now I can end day one as fruitfully as it began, by crawling into bed and kicking my legs until maybe, just maybe, one of the corners of the sheet comes untucked and I can feel a slight breeze on my foot.
A man can dream.
And remember, Lupé, that’s one tuck, one no-tuck.
P.S. I didn't get a chance to take any photos today (other than that grainy hotel room iPhony view, so here's one to keep you occupied. I call it "Nails for Days Yet None For Tomorrow"