Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Be a tourist in your own town.

Sadly, I realized that it was time to take my car in for servicing.  Something was going wonky with the temperature gauge and I really didn't want to be that person stranded on the side of the highway calling the tow truck on their cell phone looking confused and bewildered.  Maybe with a bit of smoke coming from under the hood.

There is only one place in the Lower Mainland where I can get my car serviced, and it is actually in the City of Vancouver.  I live in North Vancouver and work in Pitt Meadows, so there is just no way to fit something like that into my normal work day and naturally the service centre isn't open on weekends.  So I thought I might take a full day off, because I didn't know how long the car would take, and I thought I would get a couple other things done as well, like stopping by my family doctor to get some prescriptions renewed.

I am now dismayed to realize just how much anxiety the fact that I would be without a car for a few hours caused.  My first solution: ask Tim if he could drive me over to the doctor's office after I dropped off my car.  He was busy and couldn't.  Second solution: take public transit.  So I looked on TransLink's Trip Planner, and was shocked to find out that somehow the amount of time that it was expected that the bus would take to get from Science World to where my doctor's office is (Broadway and Heather), was two minutes.  Granted, I would have a ten minute walk just to get to Science World, but was I really this clueless about how to get around Vancouver that I hadn't realized I was that close?  Apparently I was.

A colleague of mine, Carla, recently spent a weekend in Vancouver, being "a tourist in her own town". So I came up with a third solution to my transportation predicament: I would walk.  Some of you will be amazed that this wasn't a more obvious solution, but I think some of you might be more surprised that I would walk a fairly considerable distance, for fun, no less! MapQuest had informed me that the walking distance in total was 2.3 miles, so I figured, why not?  I had nothing else to do, and quite literally might have had an entire day to waste while my car was looked over.  So I thought that I would take my time, walk all the way to the doctor's office, and make some stops along the way.

If you've never been to Vancouver, there is no prettier city when the sun is shining and it's warm.  Today was not sunny or warm, but it wasn't raining, so I was at least lucky in that respect, particularly since I had left my umbrella in my car when I dropped it off.  I walked up Terminal to Science World and really took in the sights and sounds.

Then I walked along the Sea Wall for a bit.  My phone died after this picture.
During my wanderings, I noticed how little I really ever pay attention to things around me other than to note that they are there in order to help me get where I am going.  I really looked up and around for what feels like the first time in a very long time.  I looked in windows of stores.  I looked at trees and flowers. I gawked.  I smiled at strangers like a complete weirdo (at least that's the reaction I got from them, occasionally they would smile back).  I stopped in at Caffe Artigiano on Broadway for a tea.  It was a lovely morning.  After my doctor's appointment I walked back.  It was just as good the second time around.

I really encourage you to take the time to be a tourist in your own town, wherever that might be, and particularly if you live in a world class city like Vancouver.  I don't think my "trip" would have been quite as enjoyable if I had done it on a weekend, because I always have a lot to do on weekends and I don't think I would have fully relaxed enough to enjoy it.  It is a sad reality for most of us that we have just as much to do on the weekends (if not more) than we do during the work week.  So I suggest taking a day off work if you are going to give this a try, and make it a day where you have nothing else on the go.  Having nowhere to go and nothing to do is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.  Even if it is just for a day.

No comments:

Post a Comment