Random Notes from the Field

When we boys were little, we would spend the summer “out in the field” with our father the geologist, who was doing ressarch fieldwork along the Great Lakes. We watched the moon landing in the back of a VW Microbus on a battery-powered television, which is about as close to living the Arlo Guthrie lifestyle as I am ever likely to get.

When Catherine was a girl, she would spend the summer “out in the field” with her father the cattle farmer, doing chores. We used to think our chores were hard — mowing the lawn, weeding the strawberries, etc. — but Catherine had actual chores, like “mucking out stalls” and “fixing the grain truck.”

Here we both are, 25 years out, “in the field” for a week, attending the wedding of Catherine’s cousin Pam in Ontario.

We flew the excellent JetsGo from Charlottetown to Toronto on Wednesday. But for the time inconvenience of a 45 minute scheduled touchdown in Montreal, I can’t see how, in any way, this is inferior to the Air Canada jet to Toronto.

Arriving in Toronto I did my now familiar dance with the car rental agency (in this case it was Dollar, which apparently has merged with Thrifty) over “the coverages.” It goes like this: agent says something very quickly like “accident… responsibility… pay upfront… disaster… accident… totality… destruction” and I say “okay.” And then I get the invoice to sign and it’s got a $200 charge for “the coverages.” And I say “that’s covered by my credit card.” And they say “accident… pay upfront… are you sure… destruction… mayhem.” And I say “no, that’s fine, thanks.” And we proceed. In this case we then entered another phase where they told me I was being upgraded, for free, to a Jeep Liberty. When I told them I just wanted a regular car — both because my credit card doesn’t cover SUV rental accidents, and because, well, I hate SUVs — they acted like I was crazy to look such a wonderful and special gift in the mouth. Eventually they relented — it took a lot of phoning around to get an actual car beamed in — and we went on our way in a capable if uninspiring Chrysler Sebring.

We have spent the last couple of days here at my parents in Carlisle. Oliver has been luxuriating in the extra attention offered by Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Mike. Catherine has been able to sleep a little. And I have been squeezing ever hour out of the day working on some deadline-heavy projects.

Today we’re heading northeast to the southern shore of Lake Simcoe for the big wedding. Tomorrow we’re back to Peterborough for the first time in almost a decade for a quick overnight stay with our old friend Stephen Southall. Sunday it’s on to Napanee; Catherine and Oliver are staying with her parents for a week and a half, and I’m spending a quick few days there before jetting back home for a lonely, but no doubt productive week and a half myself.

Ontario is much as it ever was: more urban sprawl, more acronyms (everything’s “GTA” here), more smog, more varieties of juice in corner stores. Amazing to find the Tim’s drive-thrus are so slow here — makes the Murphy bunch on PEI appear positively sprintly. Sad to see “the models” get kicked off the island last night on The Amazing Race — they were growing on me.

Off to Keswick…


Alan's picture
Alan on July 11, 2003 - 16:12 Permalink

Give a shout if you get close and want directions to fast Tims.