Our pre-teen daughter is a competitive athlete. So, in the past year, we’ve spent an obscene amount of time in cheap hotels in the suburbs of major North American cities. New York used to mean Broadway and Central Park; now it’s Syracuse. Toronto used to be a Raptors Game and the aquarium; it is now an East Side Mario’s in Etobicoke.
I’ve always been either a remote wilderness or downtown core type of guy, so while I love seeing my daughter excel in a sport she loves, I could do without the strip malls, crappy continental breakfasts and miles and miles of suburban sameness.
In the past, I had always thought… who the hell spends their weekends in North York, Ontario? What I’ve discovered is that – as different as this is from a weekend in Times Square – it is equally full of fascinating people – all with stories to tell.
Finding a hotel close enough to the sporting venue and far enough away from bed bugs can be a challenge. When choosing our hotel for last weekend, we were intrigued when the first review on TripAdvisor gave it a positive review based on its proximity to a nearly swingers club. Sure enough, when we arrived, there were two couples in lobby who were dressed to the nines (can you use that expression for leopard print skirts and sheer white tank tops?) who were definitely out for a sexy night on the town. We chatted with them as they waited for a few other couples to come downstairs (with our 12 year old daughter in tow). While it was a little awkward for the woman in the tiny, tiny outfit, they were amazing. Like almost all other swingers I’ve met…. fun, friendly, happy. And… not sure if this is a good or a bad thing… my daughter was completely un-phased by the outfit she was wearing out.
This weekend, at the bar/lounge of the Holiday Inn Express we were staying in, I’m pretty sure we were seeing phase 1 of an orgy develop in the booths next to us. Either they are just the friendliest group of couples you’ve ever met – who like rubbing one another’s breasts after they’ve had a few – or there was some upstairs sexy fun that was being foreplayed for our amusement.
And, on the less sexy but equally fascinating side, we recently met a salesman who sells automated pancake and waffle makers to the very hotel we were staying in for their free buffet breakfasts. He knew more about the cheap breakfast biz than anyone I’ve ever met (the bar he had to pass to become the ‘most’ knowledgeable was admittedly low, but still… interesting guy).
Anyway… I never would have chosen to spend my weekends in Butt Crack Iowa hanging out at Denny’s… but as Albert Einstein said “the most important decision we consciously make every day is whether it will be a good day or a bad one’. And today, at the North York Dunkin Donuts, it’s a good day.