If this is what playing in your own back yard is, I dig it.

Adventure! Waking up way too early with nobody around meant one thing. Quests! Journeying! Getting Shit Done. Looking out the window, it was gorgeous and overcast outside. It was above zero degrees (by one or two degrees) so that meant only one thing. Clearly it was spring. Time to jog.

If at this point you straight up assume I’m a dog in human form, that’s acceptable.

After some quick and excruciatingly painful foam rolling, I stretched the fuck out of my poor legs. I pulled on my knee brace, some thermals and scrolled the iPod to Girl Talk. Out the door and onto the pavement, I decided to check out what Castle Loma looked like. I’ve been living here for over two years and there’s a literal castle down the road from me. What better day to take a peek than a day marked out for adventure? Everything hurt after a week of intense physical workouts, but the more I ran the more that residual lactic acid shook out. The familiar mash ups of All Day kept my legs moving to pace, while I raced down the road towards this fantastic medieval building. You know that thing bus drivers do where they wave to fellow passing drivers? The chipper spitfuck that I am, that was me with every single jogger I saw. A knowing nod, smile and wave. Yes, I was that annoyingly excited to be running again. Heart racing along with my feet, nose running in time with my legs. I was warm despite the wind chill. I circumnavigated the castle and slingshot back towards the house. A simple 5km run to start the morning off.

I decided to test out just how effective this Toronto Bunz trading group could be. There’s this niche Magic card I’ve been seeking for years. From an old set, worth about $40. I posted my inquiry and within two minutes someone engaged me for a trade. Old school player, hadn’t touched his cards for 20 years. Said I could come see if there was anything else I wanted. I had a package to drop off to another friend, so I figured I’d do it on my journey. All of this I needed to wrap up before getting to another friend’s 3.30pm play. Shower, shit, shave and out the door.

With my headphones on, I cranked up Girls’ 2009 album, Album. Am I the only person still listening to that album seven years later? Quite very possibly. I can’t even describe why it’s been enduring to me. There’s this kind of jangly indie noise pop quality that feels loose, innocent, angsty yet carefree. If that’s a juxtaposition that makes no sense to you, you should be able to understand my confusion over enjoying it. I subway-ed over to Broadview Station and stopped for a coffee at this place Si Espresso Bar. I remembered liking it a while back. Ruh-roh, turned out to be a shit-show this time. Crappy Rufino beans, a mocha frothed like a cappuccino. Boo-urns. I hopped aboard a street car and headed down to the Bunz trade dude’s house.

A stringy dude answered the door and welcomed me in. He had a couple of boxes stacked on the table. He invited me to sit down and look through. I picked out a stack of old gold, great cards that I hadn’t come across for awhile. I pulled out a few cards I didn’t necessarily want, but thought he should know of their worth. The cards were in surprisingly good condition. I offered him a bit of cash for the stuff I wanted and he chucked in a few other cards on top of it. I noticed an old Transformers dinobot in its box and commented. “Oh, you like Transformers eh?” he asked. He showed me into his bedroom and my eyes widened. Tons of original Transformers, some in boxes but most on display. It was stunning. He said he’d been hitting up toy fairs for years to track them down. It immediately brought me back to my childhood. Years spent in my mum’s second hand toy store. I had a moment, then thanked him and went on my way.

It was 1.30pm and I had two hours to get to my friend’s play. My second meet up was 40 minutes away, so I got back on the streetcar and headed her way. It took 15 or so minutes to track her down, find the exact building. Time was running out. She came down to the lobby, we quickly caught up and I did my drop off. I got a craving for another coffee. A better coffee. I grabbed a cup at Thor on Bathurst by King. Turned out to be shitty again. A newbie who steamed the water far too thin. First coffee was too frothy, second was too thin. If I just got one more it’d be just right. Then I’d be devoured by bears. For an expensive coffee, it was pretty disappointing. I headed towards another street car and onto the subway. Google Maps seemed to think it’d take me 25 minutes to get to my destination, but I didn’t remember the theatre being so far. Regardless, I soldiered on.

Turns out the theatre wasn’t that far, I absent-mindedly read the instructions wrong and went to a different theatre. *Sad trombone*. I had 10 minutes to get there, so I eschewed public transport and caught an Uber. My GPS threw off the driver, so he went somewhere different. Time ticked on and eventually he arrived. I still had five minutes. I could make it. The guy was a nice dude. He’d been a refugee in Russia, but they denied his application to stay and he had to find a new country. It was hard, he said, to be a refugee. “I felt like wood drifting on top of the water. It was like I had no say in where I went, that others decided for me. It was hard to feel powerless. When Canada offered me residence it felt like I started to understand direction again. Then I had citizen and finally I could decide where I wanted to go.” I wanted to hear more, but I also wanted to see my friend’s show. I got to campus and immediately got lost. I arrived five minutes late and caught the performance, but fortunately it was a series of sketches, so I didn’t miss anything too vital. I caught up with my friend after the show, she mined me for suggestions then we had to part ways. I stopped in at A&C games to trade in some of my newly acquired cards for ones I wanted. I did well.

Now, resting up with my girlfriend before we go out, it’s nice to look back on a busy day. I got around. I spent a few hours on transit alone. I met new people, saw unexpected things. It feels rewarding to be able to have a legit journey in your own city. It was nice to make something of a day that began without direction. Like the driver, I feel settled, satisfied.

Now that the night’s begun, it’s time to adventure again.

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