Great Blackout of 2003 continued – the weekend

Before I was rudely interrupted by a “rolling blackout”, I was recounting my indecision as to whether I should ride to Jenever’s in the darkness. After much deliberation, I started packing a few necessities. I stopped a few times, knowing I was insane to even attempt the trip. I finally decided to make the journey, mapping out an easy route along Eglinton, southbound on Laird to Donlands, then east on Danforth to Victoria Park and finally south to Kingston Road. I figured Eglinton and Danforth would be well-lit by cars, but knew that Laird, Donlands and Victoria Park would be pitch black. Opting for some visible gear, I made my way out the door.

Riding on Eglinton was quick and fairly easy. At some points, I managed to keep up with the cars. I was pedalling as fast as possible so that my ride was as short as possible. Laird was less travelled but still a relatively easy ride. As with earlier in the day, there were few cars heading southbound, but enough to light my way. I couldn’t quite make out the street signs and so was navigating by landmarks alone. At one point I reached an intersection which looked familiar, and took it to be Danforth. There were quite a few cars on the road, so this confirmed my belief. Travelling further, however, the road became increasingly dark and less like Danforth. When I crossed St. Clair, I knew I wasn’t where I thought I should be.

I stopped a few blocks to ask a group of people which street I was travelling on and how I could get to Victoria Park. I felt like an idiot, but what was I supposed to do? To my dismay, I found out that I had turned off too early onto O’Connor Drive and was now heading north towards Eglinton and Victoria Park. My resolve and confidence sagging, worry and regret finally started to seep in. However, I couldn’t turn back. It was really only a matter of riding down Victoria Park.

Unfortunately, Victoria Park was darker in parts than I had feared. It would have been easier if there was more traffic. I often found myself hoping for a car to pull up behind me so that I could see what was ahead. The worst were the parked cars, which often appeared as only a gleam just in front of me. To make matters worse, cars travelling northbound temporarily stole precious moments from me, blinding me with their headlights. Several pedestrians yelled or muttered, mostly in disagreement, as I passed them on the road.

When I finally reached Kingston Road, I knew I was home free. A street car rested in the dark like a slumbering behemoth, undisturbed by the cars making their way around its body. I was able to get a few cars to stop so that I could cross and make my way to Jenever’s. Moments later I was in her friend’s yard, greeted by the smells of barbeque.

With power resumptions an uncertainty, I spent Friday and most of Saturday as a guest of Heather and Jeff, who own the house in which Jenever lives. Without them, I don’t think that this weekend would have been enjoyable in the least. I rode back to my place on Friday to check on things and pick up some extra clothes to stay another night. Even though the power switched back on at my place early Saturday morning, and then back on again when I returned Saturday evening, I was not taking my chances. I am very grateful for Heather, Jeff and Jenever’s hospitality, for their food, their spare bedroom and their company.

All in all, the weekend went pretty well and, frankly, was better than average, even considering the outage. I missed my niece’s birthday party at her grandparents’ because of the weather on Saturday (the heat and humidity meant I would have arrived on my bike drenched in sweat) and because I was much too tired from all the riding (over 100km in a few rapid trips) to make it out to High Park. However, I was still able to catch The Lion King with my niece and the rest of my family this afternoon.

Leave a Reply