Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Adventure Day 40 Part 1 - #5 & Attempted to complete #25

#5 – Take the bus downtown alone

I’ve been on a city bus before. Actually I took one everyday to school once we moved here, and even to work if I had to. But going down town and stopping somewhere unfamiliar and trying to find a way back on again and perhaps even a transfer to another scared me. Yes I am poultry ok, I’ll admit it. This was also an item that Wally was afraid for me to do, however he is overprotective so it doesn’t’ carry a lot of weight in the grand scheme of things. Anyway I’d left it to the end for a reason: I was avoiding it. But no more! It was day 40 and I was going to take a bus downtown AND get my passport all at the same time – now that’s adventure ladies and gents!

I woke up early and completely unprepared for a day with little sleep. I pushed myself to go out and catch the bus for 8 am – I was determined. I only needed to take a tiny walk to get to the bus that would lead me down town, a little different than the one I’m used to. My usual bus is a brisk five to seven minute walk, and the route is simply: up the street, down the street, up the street, and so on. If you get lost doing that you have big problems.

As I waited I noticed a different demographic in my midst. There were a lot more older and middle aged and working people than on my college route. I was a lucky gal that day because as I boarded I spotted a place to sit for my ride – yay! I settled in comfortably and began to observe. I’m not sure if anyone else out there does this but I ALWAYS do – watch people. It’s actually a fun activity to do while being taken to your destination. I look at their clothes and wonder what they do for a living, or if they do anything at all. I watch their facial expressions to see how they react to the world around them. I take note of what they fill their bus trip with: listening to music, singing music, or just musing quietly to themselves. You have time, why not speculate what people are really like under their perfect bus demeanor? (I know Wally would want to kill me for sharing this but I promised to be honest here). I actually wonder what people on the bus are like in their most intimate moments. Not in a dirty way (well mostly not), but really, sometimes it’s so weird to see people act so robotic on the bus and think that they are actually people when they get off the bus with families and friends (lovas).

This day was no different for me. I saw a middle aged woman who was perfectly dressed for work (I’m assuming). She wore a nice crisp white blouse and red shorts (well she had some article of clothing that was red, maybe it was her purse), anyhow she was ‘altogether’ looking, except that the buttons on her blouse were too far apart and it was sitting so that there were gaping holes which ended up showing her undergarments. I wanted desperately to tell her, but this woman looked so serious and business like that I was not about to say a peep to her. Instead I spent the entire time trying to avoid looking at the ‘train wreck’ – why is it so hard not to look?!

At another point there was a young man in his twenties with ear buds in and playing very loudly (I could hear his music from across the bus). He was seemingly oblivious to anyone else remotely surrounding him; he was rather entertaining to watch. Not because I could hear his music through his ear buds, but because of the dramatic performance he was putting on with his air drumming and mumble humming that loudly accompanied his ear bud music. He had no shame, I sort of wish he had just a little. His moves sort of reminded me of Stevie Wonder – except that I like Stevie Wonder.

Overall it only really took me maybe 8 minutes to reach my stop. I had no idea downtown was so close and this bus was so accessible, and that I could observe so many interesting people in such a short period of time - what a great discovery! I need to remember when my car is in use or out of commission that the transit system is always an option. It even adds a new dimension of free entertainment too!

#25 – Get my passport

Once I got off the bus I headed down (or up, who’s to say?) the street in the presumed direction of the passport office. I was on the look out for even numbers, 400 to be precise. Actually the building was supposed to be down two blocks from the bus stop and to my left exactly. I shouldn’t have had to even look for a number really. I’d been there before (or so I thought) and knew what I was looking for (or so I thought), I figured it shouldn’t be that difficult to find (once again, or so I thought).

Once I walked the two blocks I decided I would cross the street in the direction I thought the building would be (since it wasn’t clearly where the map said it would be). I started towards one direction and walked. And walked. First I passed a parking lot of the city newspaper, so that’s where it lived? Hmmmmm, interesting. Then I walked some more. Oh, I found the organization I wanted to tour that helped the homeless – note to self. Then I continued to walk and found … nothing. At least nothing familiar to me. I decided to cross the street and walk the direction I came from (the crossing of the street was do to the many homeless types that were loitering in front of the building of the organization I had researched – I have a long way to go ok). Anyways I went down at least 3 or 4 city blocks (felt like a hundred in the wooden, not-for-walking flip flops I had on), past the convention centre, and several high end hotels, I was really finding a lot down town, fascinating.

Finally I spotted the familiar location I was looking for. I had to cross back over to the other side of the street but at this point I didn’t care I just wanted to get into the line up. I was actually right on time for them opening up – woo hoo! I made it. Or so I thought…

I got onto an elevator that took me to my floor and I got off to be greeted by a sign on my desired location that said “Passport offices have moved to 700 Far Away St.” (I got the ‘sorry about your luck’ vibe from it too). At this point I was exasperated and exhausted. Not to mention frustrated and ready to kill. Sleep deprivation and blisters can do that to you. Don’t forget the impending threats of rain that clung in the air. At this point I had to make a crucial decision: Do I go back down the street a few more blocks and risk potentially killing an innocent by stander if I couldn’t find the office? Or should I give up for this day and try another time when I was better rested to deal with uncertainty?

On another day with more sleep in me (and better shoes on me) I would’ve stuck it out, but this day I was wiser. I decided that taking the bus was a good enough accomplishment and I would hold this strike against me on my forty day excursion. This was all about living not going to jail for murder over a passport (seriously, when I don’t sleep I’m a crazy woman). I threw in the towel and headed back to the bus stop to see if I could grab a nap before any other outings that day.

**End note: One week later I did in fact locate and enter the passport office and it took all of ten minutes for me to complete. I was proud that I’d finally gotten it done and now I am waiting for my passport to arrive. Can’t wait to decide where I’ll travel to first! **

Adventure Day 39 – Not my best day ever

The second last day of my adventure would not contribute to my list really at all but I do feel it’s worth telling you about. It was a result of some of the things I struggle with; it sort of gave me a ‘slap in the face’ and in the end reminded me that I am surrounded by people who care. So I’ll share it with you anyway…

I didn’t have a lot going on that morning because later in the day I had an appointment to donate plasma. I was loving the fact I was back into my routine of giving and it felt so good to be able to do it again. I made sure to eat a healthy, protein filled breakfast of cottage cheese and fibre one, followed by a couple of tall glasses of water and a tuna sandwich for lunch (lots of protein). My appointment to donate was for 12:35pm so I was trying to make sure I was on schedule.

However my blogging and e-mail checking, then remembering that the dogs needed an outing before I left, interfered with my punctuality. I didn’t think anything much of leaving a bit later than planned until I hit construction. That’s when the fists came out (along with some choice words). After stewing through about 10 minutes of traffic without even getting as far as a block, I raged right and tried to get to the street I was headed to another way. After sneaking through a bunch of unfamiliar streets I made it, only to encounter another bout of my favourite thing – construction. EEK!! Road rage would definitely be a good term for what I was feeling.

When I arrived 10 minutes late and apologizing for my tardiness the lady at the counter was calm and cool saying ‘Oh no problem!’ and me thinking ‘Yeah, I have work to go to right after this, there better not be a delay.’ (Like I have a right to say that after being late). I sat down and awaited my turn to fill out all the regular papers and answer all of the bizarre questions they would ask. (For example: Was your grandmother born in Africa? My response: Take a 3 second look at me and answer that yourself. Have you recently played with monkey feces? My response: If I was that kind of girl do you think I’d be here right now? Where do they come up with this stuff?)

Anyway, I was already thinking ahead to when they would take my blood pressure and hoping it’d be ok. I figured I would be because I tend to have low blood pressure but today I was a bit high strung. I immediately took my place on the scale (had to get it over with since we hadn’t been getting along lately), then observed something miraculous. My BP was 112 over 78 – nice! It was meant to be. I then re-answered all of the strange questions they asked (verbally this time – seriously how do they do it without laughing their heads off?!) Next came the final step, my protein and iron tests. A breeze … I thought.

I ate my wonderful breakfast and I had yet to fail their test. I had come close the first time but I had gotten onto a diet plan rich in good foods so I was confident. Until the lady peered over at me with a peculiar look. She tested it two more times. I failed the test. By one point. No donation for me today. The lady asked if I’d had my period recently – no, any diet changes – yes. And that’s when it happened I felt like I got smacked opened handed across my face. I was found out! My ‘diet plan’ had been abandoned for the past several weeks as I tried another new weigh loss method. This time it hurt, really bad.

I was visibly upset and in disbelief but the lady was really great with me. She said I could come back in 56 days to donate again. 56 DAYS!!!!! What?! I was in shock now, and was just realizing what I’d done to my body. I know it’s only plasma donation. I know it’s not that big a deal. But it was the one thing I felt proud about regarding my body, that I kept it in good enough working order to donate something useful to someone. I got in the car and I cried. I got home and I ate. I was so bummed out.

Then I realized I still had to go to work. Yikes! I am not one to call in and cancel a shift or not go, for any reason really. I am always there when I say I will be – always. This day though I thought (for the first time) of calling in and finding a replacement. I felt deflated and worn out, I wasn’t sure if I could do my job at all. It’s not the kind of job you can get through without some measure of sanity, strength and patience – none of which I felt like I owned this day. After a brief debate I decided I’d go because that’s how I work and so off I went, praying for grace.

When I arrived it was Bro and Muscles working and would be for the next hour. I was relieved because it was just them, no guys to support – one was at camp for another hour and the other would soon be home from a visit. We just hung out and I sort of mentioned my day thus far but tried to slough it off. I was pretty quiet (not my usual at work self), as I had been the day before at the staff meeting. Muscles made a few comments of concern about the melancholy Eva that had appeared, but again I tried to play dumb. My shift went well overall and fortunately it was an easier than usual night – I was so thankful.

At the end of the night when it was just me and the two guys, Sista showed up for some paper work. At this time Muscles and Bro had come back with another male staff to do something footfall related in the office downstairs. By the end of my shift at 11pm everyone was chatting and laughing up stairs and it was decided that we should go out for drinks. All but the extra guy staff separately drove to a restaurant with drinks only to find out that it was closing. Off we went all the way across town to an actual bar (and grill but it was open for hours longer). We found a table and shot the breeze (it sounds weird when you say it that way). It was so late and I was so tired but just sitting around with some friends talking about work (what else would we talk about) just felt good. It’s nice to have people that understand what you deal with everyday.

My day ended at 1am but so much better than it had started out. I left the bar knowing that I had people that cared (as there were many comments about my current status at that time). I later found out that Bro was a bit worried because I ‘looked like a basket case’ and that ‘Eva looked like she’d been crying’ when I came into work. I thought I had disguised myself well. You know those times you see people that don’t really know you after you’ve just had a bad experience and you can totally convince them its allergies or a headache or something. I haven’t known my new family very long and they already see through that stuff and care too. I am so grateful for this.

I curled into bed at 1:15 in the morning wanting so bad to avoid day 40 but knew that in 5 hours the alarm would be calling my name to complete my journey … and I would answer.