It’s the little things that tend to drive us to distraction. All of us usually rise to the occasion if something big happens, but it’s the little soul-sucking moments that eat away at you. And after enough of them, you can usually be found whimpering under the covers with wine, chocolate, lottery scratch tickets, Netflix and caramel corn.
I went on a trip to Toronto as part of my book tour. Like a fool, I bought new boots for the occasion.
Never wear new boots when you have to walk on city streets, especially cobbled city streets. Never wear new boots when there are old boots in your hotel closet. Never wear new boots when you have to walk for miles to get to an airport gate. Never wear new boots, because for some reason they make the alarm bells go off in security and you have to take them off and discover you have a hole in your sock in front of 30 other travellers. Then you have to put them back on and they’re stiff and it’s not easy to put them back on and you hold up everyone in line while you struggle with them.
Never wear a thick sweater when you have to get up on stage and read to a roomful of people, especially when there is a spotlight. Those babies are hot, which creates dampness on your face and fogs up your glasses. Have you ever tried to read through foggy glasses? Have you ever tried to wipe foggy glasses hoping no one will notice? It’s not pretty. You just want to slink away and find a wad of Kleenex. Now I know why my mother always had tissues up her sleeve or down the front of her bra. It comes in handy.
Never get in a hotel elevator while distracted and looking at your phone. I turned around, pressed the button and suddenly there were men running toward me in gym shorts. I screamed. Luckily, I was alone. It took a moment to realize it was a mural plastered on the inside elevator doors advertising the hotel gym on the fifth floor. Who thought it was a good idea to have a picture of life-sized men chasing you in a confined space? It’s spooky enough to be a middle-aged woman alone in the big city without this sort of nonsense. My blood pressure went through the roof.
Never believe your boarding pass. Never sit at an empty airport gate for an hour and casually wonder where all the people are. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s usually not right. Never be in the washroom surrounded by your luggage when a mechanical voice announces last call for your flight at a different gate. It’s hard to jump up in boots that pinch your feet, gather three carry-on bags in a jumble and try to get out of the stall without toilet paper trailing after you.
It’s also a good idea to never try raw oysters for the first time when someone is taking a video, unbeknownst to you. The look on my face was not attractive. And then I had to chew. The things you do in the big city. But you know the saying: what happens in Toronto stays in Toronto.
And I know it’s impossible, but try not to get on a plane with a couple seated behind you, who sneeze and cough for two hours straight. Naturally, between them, the germy air vent blowing on me and now the CBC Marketplace report telling me of filthy airline headrests, food trays and front-pocket petri dish disasters, I am, understandably, in the middle of a miserable head cold and coughing saga.
But it’s also the little things that make you feel much better, like hot water, lemon and honey, flannel pyjamas, your own bed and pillow, a purring cat and comfy quilt. And not having to go outside in your stupid new boots.
Lesley Crewe is a writer living in, and loving, Cape Breton. These are the meandering musings of a bored housewife whose ungrateful kids left her alone with a retired husband and two fat cats who couldn’t care less. Her 10th novel, Beholden, is being released this fall.