January 24, 2008 (Part One)
Current mood: contemplative
As per usual, I overslept by almost an hour. I hurriedly showered and packed the last minute items. The sun was shining. it was cold as hell, but the driving conditions would be perfect.
As it came time to leave, my mother gave me one last "Do you really have to do this?" and just as I was leaving, started to cry. It was the first time in my 43 years, I had never knowingly made my mother cry. Not a good way to start my day by any means. I started up the car and turned my cell phone on. Instantly I got voice mail and text message notifications like never before.
Including from Laura who told me to call her "no matter what" so I did and I got her voice mail. (She never called me back, btw)
I started out and called JR (Jerry Rich) because it was his birthday and then called my
friend Nicole. Though both calls were happy ones, it was hard fighting back my own tears based upon my lousy start at home and their strong support.
I had to make one out of the way pit stop in Concord to deliver something a friend needed from Newbury Comics. Normally I wouldn't have minded but here I was already running behind and now I was losing about another 30 minutes.
I finally got back on the road and started heading up Route 89, a road notorious for accidents and lousy cell phone service. I started playing a series of Beatles cds I had put together quite a few years back. It was every song in alphabetical order, with out takes, alternate versions,
and live tracks. It consisted of 21 cds. I figured it would get me to Montreal and back, no problem. The first track to play? "A Beginning" truly fitting.
As I rounded a curve, "All You Need Is Love" was playing (editors note: in a bizarre twist of fate, as I'm typing this, that song just popped on my IPod, out of over 2800 songs), my cell phone started going crazy with additional text messages. All off which dealing with "Love" and "Lots of Love"
I decided I had better have the directions to the convalescence home on the ready, so I dug through the folder of paperwork. I found two sets of directions to the hospital. One set of directions to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel (where John & Yoko recorded "Give Peace A Chance"). No directions to the home........I must have left them on my desk at work and grabbed
the extra set of hospital directions.........DAMN IT.
As I started approaching the Vermont border, I was doing another mental checklist of the things I needed to bring. DAMN IT. In the midst of the smoke detectors going off last night, I had placed some of the shirts (Racersbored and N.E. Patriots) I had intended to bring with me, down and never saw them when I completed packing. They were still at home.
About halfway through Vermont it clouded up and started snowing. As it was getting slick, the first cd got stuck in my cd player. Great the roads are getting slick, on a road I haven't driven in at least twelve years and I'm fighting with the cd player. As I'm already late. As I got closer to
Burlington, the snow stopped and I noticed northern Vermont (sky country) had less snow than we had in southern New Hampshire. I stopped just outside of Burlington to get gas and grab lunch to go (Gas & Amatos, one stop).
The closer I got to the Canadian border, the snow levels were lower and lower. But they must have had a lot of freezing rain. because the roads were white from salt, and I was kicking up quite a dust trail behind me. The Canadian border was much smaller and quieter than I had expected. But then, I was used to the ISMA days and going over the border closer to
Buffalo, Detroit, Niagara Falls or 1,000 Islands. Getting across was very easy. I simply handed them my passport and license without them asking. They never bothered to look (or care) the gender marker. Just inquiring where Iwas going, how long I was going to be there, did I have any alcohol, tobacco or fire arms to declare. I had to smile internally when they asked if I was
leaving anything in Canada.
As I drove through southern Quebec, it reminded me very much of being in Ontario. The only difference being the signs were in French. But the area was very, very flat and mountains stood out from a long distance. You go from virtual farmland and suddenly it becomes quite populated very quick. Finally I could see the city in the distance. It's quite impressive and I never knew the city of Montreal was an island......great my friend Michelle is arriving on Saturday and is scared too death of bridges. And this was one long bridge! I wasn't gonna tell her!
Fortunately I remembered the name of the street the convalescence house was on, Goiun West. All I had to do was find the street and I'd surely recognize the house from the website. I keep a small atlas in the car and there was indeed a small map of Montreal. One of the streets listed, Gouin West.
I'm all set now............or so I thought.