Riding the Red Rocket

From our new home in the city, we have several options for getting to the subway station: taking the bus, walking through the park, or driving a few blocks. The only problem with the last two options is the 60-step staircase up to the subway platform. We consider ourselves fit, or at least eager to be fit and so we approach the staircase with great gusto. “Yes! The stairs!! Let’s go!!”

We jog up to the first landing; only 45 steps to do! We climb upwards to step number 30. We plod along to the third landing, stop to look at the view, and catch our breath. Slowly we put one foot in front of the other, huffing and puffing, up to step umber 60. We did it! Only a short walk around the corner to the subway. Then we stop and ask ourselves: “Did we remember to lock the car?”

One of the delights of living in the city is our proximity to the red rocket. No waiting in traffic jams. No snow storms or slippery roads to contend with. No worries about finding an expensive or elusive parking spot. No night driving on busy streets where the roads reflect headlights and the view is not clear. Nope, we can leave our car behind and take the subway almost anywhere.

Once inside the station we pull out or Presto cards. (Well OK, first we search frantically through purse and pockets until we find them. THEN we pull them out). Such a great invention these are -no line-ups for tickets, no counting change, no smartass young clerk asking our age. Just a swipe and we are done. And the ride is usually pleasant enough. If it’s crowded many people offer us their seats. Actually, TOO many people offer us their seats. Do we really look That Old? Should we turn down their kind offer just so we can feel young?

After we gratefully take their seats, we try not to stare as we sneak glances at a pungent-smelling thing the teenager beside us is eating; or a heavy-set man wearing a conservative leather jacket and a pink straw hat with bows and ribbons. We study the woman who appears to be petting a ferret in her purse. But mostly we try to coax smiles the babies and toddlers, pretending they are our grandchildren.

When the survey of riders is done, we look at the ads. Sometimes one company, for example Starbucks, will buy up an entire car of ad space; posters everywhere telling us to “say yes to mornings!” Who are they kidding? Most people do love mornings – for sleeping! Other ads are impactful, like the blue ones highlighting disabilities one might find on the subway. But all the ads are eye-catching and keep us from nodding off and missing our stop. We should have gone to Starbucks after all.

The trip is usually uneventful, with only occasional minor delays for shift changes or medical alerts. Which is why we were shocked one day not long ago when our plan was thwarted. We drove towards “our” parking area underneath the subway station, preparing to head up the long staircase, when suddenly we were stopped – by water – a huge torrent of water, flowing out of the Humber River, and flooding our parking lot. Two cars were partly submerged and the staircase was underwater up to the 5th step. Climate change had come to the subway.

We backed up pretty darned fast and looked around. Not having anticipated this delay, we had not given ourselves any extra time. Where could we park that was nearby? Uphill on a side street we found an empty spot. The spot was not expensive but it sure was elusive – parallel parking required! After only a few tries, we managed to manoeuverer into the spot. We sprinted over to the subway station and got to our appointment just in time.

Living in the city has benefits. Not having to drive everywhere is definitely one of them. Riding the subway with our 7-year-old grand daughter is another. Did I tell you about the time she…..? Ah, but that’s a post for another day.


2 thoughts on “Riding the Red Rocket

  1. Hi, Sue! I got a big chuckle out of this! It reminded me of taking Denny, Hope and Linda on their first transit experience – GO train, subway, and street car to Kensington market to discuss the book “Bellevue Square”. You shoulda been there! We were mortified when offered seats on the streetcar and almost missed the King City station on the way back because we were gabbing so much. It looks like you are having a great experience in your new setting and doing the blog – very inspiring! Garry and I spend too much time lamenting the state of the world – time for a change?



  2. Hi Sue,
    Congratulations! I really enjoyed reading your blog and will look forward to new posts. Keep up the great stories. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s