The other day I was taking a break from the daily routine and took a walk around a park near a marina. The area is peppered with a few small, non-chain restaurants and bars, but they were relatively quiet since it was a weekday in the middle of the afternoon; happy hour wouldn’t begin for a while.
Shortly before I was ready to head back to my car I decided to walk along the busy Lakeshore to look at some of the shops. Many of them were closed or out of business (thanks politicians for the lockdowns), including a bead store I never knew existed but would have been thrilled to visit what with all my jewelry making lately…
There was a pub I walked by that intrigued me. I saw it before, several times, and always wanted to pop in and check out the vibe. I never did. But yesterday, I realized I hadn’t eaten all day and the patio looked inviting; not too busy but mostly populated by couples. The name and decor reminds of a fire hall, which incidentally was the name of the pub. They offer discounts for firefighters, police and EMS as well.
The weather that day was summery and dry, and I almost, almost walked up to the door to ask for a table on the patio when something stopped me.
‘I better check the website first to see what the protocols are,’ I thought to myself and took out my phone while standing next to a bus stop.
This was the message that popped up:
Gone are the days when you can just pop into an establishment when you feel like it. Everything is a production and needs to be planned out.
Look. I don’t mind planning things ahead, but I was by myself and not with kids or obligations at that moment, and I really just wanted to sit with beverage, and maybe a snack, and hang out, you know? Do some people watching or something.
I ended up walking past the Colombian coffee shop instead and debated if I should get a coffee from them. I’ve been wanting to try that little establishment, which allows people to walk in and order their coffee from the counter, but it was after 3 pm and I don’t typically drink coffee that late in the day… maybe I’ll head down there on a morning one day next week and give it a try. Could this become my new favorite non-chain coffee shop? Time will tell.
I kept wandering and saw the ice cream shop the kids used to go to with their grandma. My mom often cycled down to the harbour with them when they were quite small (6 and 8 or so) and then treated them to a nice big scoop of their favorite ice cream flavour.
That shop was closed, but not out of business. I guess they don’t have enough ice cream eating patrons during the school day…
Another shop further down the road featuring the best carrot cake in town also offered ice cream but they, too, were closed. Boo.
I really felt like treating myself to some pistachio gelato.
So I went down to the lake next to the marina and parked myself in a Maskoka chair.
Someone left a newspaper in it and I picked it up thinking I’d scan a few headlines, just because. Then I saw the election headlines and put the newspaper away. I don’t give a flying fuck about what their predictions were post-election day. (Meanwhile, Trudeau won again, albeit in a minority government. He dissolved the government because he had a minority government, hoping to grab a majority, so off they went to campaign in the middle of a pandemic, spending an ungodly amount of the taxpayers’ money because politicians are [_____] (enter your own expletives).
Sorry. End of rant.
Anyway I didn’t read the paper and took out my phone and stared at it for a few minutes. The sun was really hot. I looked around to see if there was a shadier place to sit, and there was, underneath a willow tree.
So I moved my ass to that bench, sat down, took out my phone and half glanced at it, half glanced at the boats coming into the marina. I then got chilly in the cool wind and moved once again to another bench. This time beside a bunch of Canada Geese.
They ignored me so I ignored them.
I pulled the Fire Hall menu up and noticed they have really tasty-looking poutine. Maybe I should have tried to enter the restaurant – I wonder if they would have turned business (little old me) away without a reservation? (Probably not but I don’t know…)
As I type this I am reminded of my If Not Now, When mantra. I should have just gone to the door or flagged down a waiter in the patio which was right next to the sidewalk I was strolling on. I’m sure they would have accommodated me…
It’s so unfortunate we can’t just pop into a place anymore without it turning into a big production. I’ve been writing some essays about my University days recently, posting to my medium, reflecting on my social life back in those days, reminiscing and remembering. It’s difficult to socialize without a concrete plan and foresight these days.
To be without a schedule, a reservation, or some other Gestapo-type mentality is going to be challenging in the coming weeks and months, especially with the cooler weather returning. They’re already all freaked out about the next covid wave.
It’s going to be a long winter. I will have to be creative and innovative and find ways to manage socializing. But I will. 🙂
Anyway, none of it matters. I will adjust, maybe conform some, and find a way to navigate these new normals.
But I’ll tell you this: the Colombian coffee shop and the firehall pub have not seen the last if me. 😀