Feeding the wardrobe
I realized this morning that I had only packed two shirts, when I had intended to pack three. I decided that I'd go out and buy one, since I'd wanted to get a new shirt for a while anyways.
The last shirt I bought, which is the nicest one I have, I got at the thrift store in Hintonburg for $5.29 plus tax. The tie, which goes along with it quite snazzily, I got at the same store for a dollar. Unfortunately, that store and the Phase 2 in the Glebe were both out of any decent shirts. So I had been meaning to buy a new one, but never got around to it.
So today, once I was satisfied that everything would run smoothly in my absence, I trotted off to a store to shop. I didn't want to shop at Tommy Hilfiger, or any of those other brand-name outlet stores. After walking around and noticing surveillance cameras at nearly every intersection, I found a nice place. It had an old-fashioned charm to it--including its fast-approaching closing time of 6 pm. There were two people who assisted me in finding a good shirt, based on my requirements (namely, what colour ties I had brought with me).
It hadn't occurred to me up to this point the price of these shirts, until I had started to narrow down the selection. Each one was at least one order of magnitude higher in price than the shirt I was wearing cost at the thrift store. I bit my tongue and told myself it was the price of small-town charm and old-fashioned service.
I picked a shirt, tried it on, and learned from the clerk that I needed new pants, because there were at least two things wrong with them (the third one--the bike grease stains--I had already pointed out). Who knew? I think I'll check the thrift store first.
I made my way back to my hotel room to scurry away my expensive new shirt. Fine if my laptop gets stolen, but if this shirt gets stolen before I even get a chance to wear it, I'm in total shit!
Dressing the appetite
In my room, I tried to find a place to eat. I eventually decided that I wanted steak. A good steak, from a good steak place. And even though I could get a taxi voucher covered, I'd rather walk, so it would have to be within a few blocks.
The phone book and travel guide weren't giving me very useful information, and my laptop was still at work, so I headed back there to do further research.
At work, I searched for a place nearby that served steak. Unfortunately, none of the places that put their menus online had steak! My mouth watered as my hunger grew. As amusing as it would be for RealGrouchy to eat at Crabby Joe's, I wasn't in the mood for a "family atmosphere". The only other place that I could find was a bit out of my price range.
My boss happened by, and when I asked her about my steak-hankering, she suggested a place not too far away, and gave clear directions, noting the number of blocks and the names of the streets. "It's got a big red sign--you can't miss it!" So at around 7 pm, I went.
When I got there, I--
I didn't get there. Well, I got to the general location that she had indicated, but I couldn't find the place. The only place with a big red sign you couldn't miss was Canadian Tire, and I'm pretty sure they serve grills, not steaks. I walked around the general area--"exploring", then headed back in a more familiar direction in the hopes I might magically find this, or any other, steak house.
Heading back in the direction of my hotel, near which I knew there was at least an Honest Lawyer, I passed the Union Mission (which, unfortunately, looked very large and well-used). I passed one convenience store and considered going in to ask, but there was a customer in there, and I didn't really feel comfortable asking for a steak house right across from the Mission.
Around the corner was another convenience store, where I asked the guy behind the counter if he knew a place where I could get a steak. He flagged down Walter, who I assume lives in the condo building next to the store. Walter directed me back to Crabby Joe's. I asked about the place my boss told me about. Turns out it had been closed for a couple years already!
So I headed toward Crabby Joe's. My hotel was on the way, so I decided I'd step in to ask the clerk if they knew a place. The counter was busy, so without leaving the revolving door, I went back out and asked the security guy. He suggested a place that was a bit higher fare than Crabby Joe's, and gave me what I thought were clear directions.
Following his directions, I went hungrily for yet another walk. I found the clubbing district, which I believe also was the gay district. There weren't as many surveillance cameras here, and there were noticeably more panhandlers. I gave the last two quarters in my pocket to one lady. Anything to buy off the guilt of buying a ridiculously expensive shirt.
(Actually, while there are a hell of a lot of panhandlers here compared to Ottawa, they are all incredibly polite. Last night, on my misadventure searching for the hotel, one guy asked me "Excuse me, sir, but would you happen to have a cigarette?" Maybe it has to do with the panhandling market being saturated, or maybe the cameras.)
I went down to the end of the street, and found no such restaurant. All the places were clubs with their gates still closed until later at night. The record store guy was standing outside his door, so I asked him where I could find the place I was looking for. If I had room in my bags on the way back, and were I not flying Air Canada, I would probably have gone in and bought a record or two.
He knew where I was going, and gave me better directions. It still took me a bit of walking around, but eventually I found the place. I walked in, and asked to see the menu. Turns out, it was the pricey place I had decided against earlier! Fuck it, I was hungry, and damned if I was going to find another steak house!
All in all, I think I would have been better off taking a taxi to the Keg. This place was the kind that puts less on your plate the more you pay. Sigh.
On the way back, I took note of a couple other places I might eat. I'm glad that I'm eating all this rich-people food on my trip, as it reminds me how much I prefer regular fare.