Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Thelma and Louise

I had printed off a map of the downtown core and used coloured sticky dots to indicate where the hotels were. Our goal was to check out 5 ballrooms in 3 hours.
“Do you know where we’re going?” she asked as we pulled out of my driveway.
“Vaguely. See, I’ve written down the addresses and put these dots on this map…”
“Can you navigate? I’ve got a better, more detailed map. Here. Use this.”

Oy. It was a map book. With lots of colours and streets and codes and it was all printed in very small letters.
“You know… I made a decision this morning. And now I’m regretting it.”
“Oh, what was that?”
“Well, for the past year I haven’t been able to read while in bed. At first I thought I needed a lightbulb with higher wattage. Then I thought I needed a taller lamp, one that shed light on me, not just the night table. Then I acknowledged that maybe my eyesight was going. On December 31 I promised myself I would buy a pair of reading glasses. On Feb 17 I bought a triple pack of 1.5 magnified reading glasses from Costco for $20. On Sunday night I opened the package. Last night I tried the glasses on. I’m taking little baby steps with this whole visual impairment issue. I’m just not ready to take the next step, which is to wear them in public. But. I can’t read this map. I really wish I’d put one of them into my purse.”

It is so humbling to admit to your boss that you’re an immature idiot.

By fluke or luck we made our way to each appointment on time.

Our inevitable Thelma and Louise moment came when we were in the lower parkade at the law courts and we took the wrong door. The one that said, “FOR EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY.” The heavy red metal door boomed shut behind us and we found ourselves in a narrow concrete passageway. We moved forward, took two turns and realized we were definitely in the wrong place. We backtracked to the big red door and found it locked tight with no handle. Having no option but to turn around and continue down the dimly lit and claustrophobic corridor, we tried to open other locked doors. When we came to a sinister set of concrete stairs we pulled out our cellphones, fully prepared to call 911. Of course, cell phones don’t work in concrete bunkers so we carried on. Through more doors that locked behind us and up three flights of stairs. The walls were made of concrete blocks, at least 8 inches thick and all the doors were made of metal – fire doors. Who would hear us if we called? Was there something we could bang on that would attract attention? I noticed all the pipes running along the ceiling, and the scene from the Goonies (which has been viewed 9 times in the last 2 weeks in my home) came to mind. What if we pulled and banged on them? Broke one? Would we cause a flood? Would that cause someone to check out our hall way? But what if the water couldn’t drain away because the hallway is sealed? Would we drown? “Two women from the suburbs drowned in the downtown area this afternoon due to a freak flood in a long forgotten emergency fire exit under the law courts.” Or… what if those pipes were gas pipes? And if we started messing with them we’d inhale noxious gases and die? How long before our bodies would be found? Or what if, we just ran out of air? Suffocation. What a horrid way to go.

Obviously, because I lived to write about it, we found our way out onto the street. But hosting our Gala Event at the Law Courts dropped down to become our last place option. We can’t expose hundreds of guests to the same nightmarish experience we barely survived.

1 comment:

Christine said...

Oy, yeah. Not a nice place for a dinner -- what with Concrete Bunkers!, sinister sets of stairs. Aside from that -- wonderful alliteration.