I’m now truly a victim of my own circumstances. Having ventured into writing for my own pleasure, I thought about honing the skill. I’m taking a course in non-fiction writing with the University of Iowa, online. Just my luck, though, that life goes its own way: I’ve missed every class so far, as my usually flat Sundays have become the ‘go to’ day, with travel, funeral and family visits taking the space. So, I’ve been in catch up mode. But, I’m traveling again. Will I tell my wife that we can’t move for two hours tomorrow because my class is due to start as we may need to get into a car? We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’m honing my observation skills: it’s one of my assignments but one I love to do anyway.

The confines of an airplane are a great laboratory. Fill that plane with Jamaicans headed to Canada and it’s funner–as kids say.

The lady with the shaved head sides and back, with the bleached blonde straightened top knot just had to sit in my row, although directly next to someone else.

“That’s my seat…I have 12c,” she announced herself. The man looked up, puzzled. He looked at the markers and tried to decipher the image. He moved. “Thanks. Dem have dem lists and you muss sit in you right seat for take off. We can change later,” ‘Blondie’ said, to reassure. 

She started to tell the man about her family in ‘Meeseesaegah’, as she tried to switch up her expressions from raw Patois to something easier for Canadians to understand. She explained how her son’s car was a problem because “him have him pickney dem seat inna it”. I visualized her and her luggage squeezed in amidst the seats. 

Soon after take off, she pulled on her jacket to cover her head and catch some sleep. So much for changing seats.

Our flight had been delayed two hours and we were now due into Toronto close to midnight. 

I don’t go to Canada often, but have fond memories. It’s been much in my news these past months because it’s hosted tons of major sports events this summer. I was looking forward to the trip largely because a spell away from Jamaica’s searing heat was a blessing. I had to laugh as I watched the TV monitor and a news report about water lock off in Vancouver, where we should be headed in a few days. From frying pan to fire, it seems.  

But, that reality of a harsh summer would wait. Meantime I could just enjoy the modernity of the airport. I saw iPad City in the waiting areas.

Pearson Airport Totonto

But, I also had to endure a long wait for luggage. Was Jamaican drug issues bogging things down…again?

After an hour, we got our bags and found a taxi driven by a quiet Sikh gentleman. “Look! Golf Warehouse, Daddy!” my daughter yelled. My eyes were just closing. Golf could wait.

We got to enjoy empty city streets and wondered if the trams still ran. 

Rogers Cup tennis was due to start the next day: my wife could get an early dose of Serena without having to wait for the U.S. Open in New York, next month. 

She marveled at how the city had exploded since she had been at university here. I saw lots of glass.  

Totonto skyline

  The morning brought me close to home and took me far away in one sight: Scotiabank’s logo was right in front on me, looming as a spectacular skyscraper. 

An old school friend, who lives in Canada, sent me an early morning message hoping I looked forward to being on another island. He’s very witty and lives in the wilds of western Canada. 

I need to check the temperature outside. I smiled as I recalled my wife asking the cab driver to turn up the heat in the taxi, last night. Oh, Canada! What shall we make of your summer?