While I was sleeping, a heavy fog was busy blowing in. It's out there now, even as I type this, blanketing the city. It's winding its way between the buildings, coiling around the CN Tower, pressing up against the side of my Marriott, kissing the window of my room.
Side note: Toronto Fog = OK name for a high school jazz quintet.
I love getting up early in strange cities and walking about while the streets are still quiet and vacant. Traffic lights change then change again without any cars around to heed them. Early on, before everyone else wakes up and starts moving about and making their noise? That's the best time of day to get to know a city.
I usually snap a few random photos of the empty streets, thinking that maybe years from now, when I'm in my dotage, in the landfill of god-awful photos that my iPhone seems to naturally accrue, I'll discover these particular photos and think, Remember that one time I got up really early in Toronto and went for a walk? Man. (Pause...) That was kind of a weird time.
A few years ago, when I was traveling more often, back when game publishers were still flying writers all over the place on silly, unnecessary trips, I had the idea that I would take a photo of every hotel room I had stayed in. When I had accumulated a few dozen of those photos, I would arrange them into a collage, have it framed, and give it a pretentious title like "Vacancy/No Vacancy," or "Loneliness #2," or "Tiny Free Soaps."
Side note: Tiny Free Soaps = also an OK name for a high school jazz quintet.
Who knows. I still might wind up doing that.
Another remarkable thing about my Toronto hotel room: There is no phone in the toilet. In fact, this has to be one of the first hotels I've ever stayed in that does not have the de rigueur telephone located in the can. I've never understood the toilet phone as a concept. Who makes calls on those things? If I need to order room service or extra towels, am I going to use the toilet phone to ring the front desk? Answer: I'm not. I'm going to choose the regular phone which, considering the limited square footage of the hotel rooms I have stayed in, is usually only an additional three or four steps away from the toilet phone.
One more thing: Considering the location of the toilet phone, i.e. the toilet, I'm not sure I'd be terribly anxious to make calls from a phone that previous guests, who were all presumably seated on the bowl at the time of their calls, have also used. Then again, anyone interested in using a toilet phone is not exactly obsessed with good hygiene.
The world, once again, can be divided into two kinds of people: those who are for toilet phones, a.k.a. THE ABSOLUTE PINNACLE OF MODERN LIVING, and those who are against them. The eHarmony people should probably query singles if they've ever used a toilet phone--check YES or NO--and save hundreds, maybe thousands of people from unnecessary heartbreak and ruin.
Imagine this: you are on a romantic getaway to a mountain lodge with someone for the first time. Suddenly you overhear this person, who you think has at least a modicum of potential to be the love of your life (no one goes to a mountain lodge unless there is a modicum of potential), placing a call from the toilet. "Hey Tim? It's Fred. How are you? Yep, I'm at the mountain lodge." Etc.
No one--no, not even terrible people--should have to discover this about a possible mate in this fashion.
Anyway, I'd better get to today's painting.
TODAY'S PAINTING: This one looks like a famished, loin-cloth-wearing giant put an entire jazz quintet--saxophone, clarinet, guitar, trumpet and piano--in his giant mouth, gave the quintet a couple of chews with his back molars, then spit the whole mess out on the ground where a terrible painter was standing by with an easel and oil paints ready to record the whole thing for posterity and/or Bed, Bath & Beyonds everywhere.
Painting Score: 2 out of 10.
Artist: The work is, not surprisingly, unsigned.
Can I remove the painting from the room wall? Answer: I cannot. (Though, I confess, I didn't try terribly hard to jigger this one loose.)