Lately I keep getting lost when I venture somewhere in the northern parts of Toronto. Before I leave, I make sure I have the address, check it out on Google and Mapquest and even ask for directions from the person I’m going to see. I might as well be wearing a blindfold. Is there some reason I’m not supposed to be travelling “up north in Toronto?” Or is there some other deeper reason, like maybe I’m feeling lost in some part of my life?
Perhaps these current electronic guides just don’t cut it like my late Mom did. Mom and I would travel around Toronto together and I don’t remember us ever getting lost. As I write in my memoir You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons
To get around in life you need guides, signs and a healthy dose of paying attention – on all levels. As Dad was to riding the rails, Mom was to city transit. Travelling by the feat of my public transit savvy really began when Mom and I trekked around on Toronto’s buses, streetcars and subway. She was my guide. I just didn’t realize then how much of a guide.
(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)
In the here and now, I had quite the “merry” journey trying to find my new opthamologist’s office. Armed with the online map printed out and the knowledge that I visited that medical building seven years before, I headed “up north.” When I stepped off the TTC bus and started walking towards the specific street I didn’t recognize the area – more tall buildings had sprung up. Okay. But I saw no street sign; however did turn and walk along that street until I decided I was in the wrong place, so headed back for the bus stop, boarded the bus back to where the medical centre street crosses the bus line. When I got off I had to take stairs down to this street and had no clue where to go from there. This street crisscrossed many other roads and street numbers didn’t help. I started asking others. An older lady going for a walk had to literally show me the winding way. Yup. You guessed it. I had been on the right nameless road before – if I had continued another block and a half I would have found the medical building. I arrived late.
A couple weeks later when I headed to my new lawyer’s office – again in North Toronto – I had no trouble finding the building with its number big and bold on the side, which I saw once I could figure out how to exit the subway station. However, getting to the actual building proved a big problem as I came to an overpass but I stayed on the same street because that was the building’s address. As I neared the building I couldn’t see how to get from the sidewalk to the actual building as there was a slight hill with trees and grass up from the sidewalk to the building and no way in. I kept walking and finally found an entrance on a side street. I arrived late.
Yesterday I had to interview an optometrist for a story I’m writing for a magazine. After lunch with my son and his girlfriend, they dropped me at a subway station before they headed up further north to visit Martin’s dad. This “getting lost” must be family-contagious because Martin took the wrong entrance to the subway drop off — yet he had been there many times before and said he always got the entrance wrong.
Continuing in this vein, when I exited the subway, I started walking in the wrong direction. Because I was early I had decided to surface a stop before and check out a small shopping mall. I finally found it but when I wanted to go back on the subway I couldn’t find the passenger entrance to the subway, just the bus entry. I walked north a block and found the subway station’s back entrance. Because entry was automatic, I had to use my pass electronically and it didn’t seem to work – another passenger had to slide it through and, of course, the revolving door magically opened then.
The optometrists’s office? No problem finding it or the mall it is in. I arrived 15 minutes early.
I’m beginning to see a pattern here. As an only adult-child. out of necessity, I’ve become used to manouvering my way around alone. Obviouusly I need a guide like my late mom. The question is who? Sure, I did get lucky in a couple of the above instances and with the third (the lawyer’s office building) my own persistence paid off. Maybe the lesson here is to be open to help from unexpected resources. Certainly many of the expected ones don’t pan out. I ask my friends for help and sometimes I receive a no. True, they have their own lives to lead and unless they break promises made to me I can’t hold it against them.
Or maybe the answer is to tap deeper into my own instinct and not panic. Especially as on my way to and from grocery shopping later yesterday my intuition was bang on about when buses arrived – including one showing up three minutes early.
Or I could stay out of North Toronto.
Only Child Writes