When people hear about the crazy things that happen to downtown newbs, they often roll their eyes and echo “only in Toronto.” Things like crowded streets, impossible parking, and construction areas are normal for travelling downtown. But “apparently” so is being greeted with spit on your windshield (ew!), the middle finger from a total stranger (seriously?), and the sobbing of a crack lady / potential hospital escapee (wtf?).
A friend of mine recently shared a “WTF story” with me that I couldn’t resist blogging about! If you’re in for an entertaining tale of a working girl (who never drives downtown) trying to run a simple errand but runs into a bunch of hiccups, keep reading…
Background story: The mission was to leave at 9 am and head downtown to get paperwork authenticated and delivered to the Brazil Consulate by 1 pm. Everything that could have gone wrong went horribly wrong.
WTF #1: A squeegee kid spat on my window, flipped me off, and then wanted to chat
As I entered downtown, I saw squeegee kids up ahead, so I locked my doors. The biggest kid approached my car and motioned for me to roll down my window. I shook my head, “no thanks.” So he spat on my window and flipped me off, then motioned again for me to roll down the window! Infuriated, I flipped him off. So he motioned for another kid to come over. That’s when I got scared. But luckily the light changed, and I managed to drive away. (Psycho nutcase moment!)
WTF #2: The only way out of a parking garage was a path full of scary hiding spots
As I got closer to the building, I drove around a side street and parked in a public lot, level 3. The whole place looked like a construction site – white tarps everywhere. A classic horror movie scene. I looked for the elevators, but they weren’t working. Wearing 4-inch heels I thought, “Oh, great!” The parking attendant was walking around, so I asked him if there were stairs. He responded, “No, you’ll have to walk the street down. But be careful because there are cars coming in and out, and there are a lot of hiding places for people to jump out.”
THAT was his response!
He didn’t offer to walk me – he just felt the need to scare me. So I clutched my purse and made the hike down. I made it out while only screaming once… when a cat jumped out from behind a tarp.
WTF #3: A crack lady with an IV needle in her arm stopped me in the street… to CRY!
As I walked by a nearby hospital, I saw a strange woman trying to approach and talk to pedestrians. I was almost past the hospital when I heard her yelling. I looked up to see the building number and she was right there in front of me. With an IV needle in her arm, she asked me for a lighter. (The actual IV was nowhere to be found. She just had the needle poking out of her arm!)
A smart person probably would have said, “No, I don’t have a lighter.” But not me. I handed her my lighter, and she BROKE DOWN crying! She was sobbing so much she couldn’t light her cigarette. It was obvious she was so strung out that she couldn’t function.
Here I was, dressed in office attire, standing in the middle of the street with a crack lady whaling at me. People were staring at us, and all I wanted was my damn lighter back. I asked her if she needed help lighting it. She stopped crying, lit her cigarette and walked back to the hospital.
When I finally got to the building, I had to go to the bathroom so badly. This was the most disgusting bathroom I’ve ever seen! (I won’t go into details.) Afterwards, I walked to the suite, took a number and realized that I was number 33 and they had only just called number 13. It was standing room only and my feet were killing me! The only thing that came to my mind: “FML!”
WTF #4: I. Hate. Parking. Machines.
The paperwork was processed fine, so I made my way back to my car. I checked the back seat to make sure no one was in it before I got in. I set my GPS to my next destination (the Consulate) and started driving. I saw the building and tried to find parking. The closest parking lot was 3 blocks down. I parked and got out to pay. The machine asked for $7 in change. I only had $3 and some bills, but it didn’t take bills. I was so flustered that I got back in my car and looked for another lot.
After driving for 10 minutes in circles, I found another parking lot. I parked but noticed that the machine was the same. I said, “screw it” and went to the building to ask where I could get change. The man said the machine took credit cards, but I don’t own one. I only had cash. I spent 5 minutes arguing with him because he didn’t believe that I don’t have a credit card. Finally, he pointed me to the convenience store down the street.
When I got to the convenience store, the lady gave me a hard time because I didn’t want to buy anything. Frustrated, she finally handed me $10 worth of loonies. I walked back to the machine and finally paid for parking.
WTF #5: How do you get to the 11th floor in an elevator with only 10 buttons?!
I made my way to the building and got into the elevator headed for suite 1107. I was looking for the 11th floor button when I noticed there were only 10 floors! The doors closed and I stood there with an obvious “WTF” look on my face. The elevator stopped at the 3rd floor and a lady got in. (Yes, at this point I was just going up for the ride knowing there was no 11th floor button.)
The lady asked me if I was okay. I told her I was looking for suite 1107 but there are only 10 floors. She laughed and said I had to go to the 10th floor and then hop on another elevator to get to 11. I must have still looked pretty confused because she then repeated herself really slowly. She got off the elevator and repeated herself again, “Stay on this until the 10th floor. Then switch.” I did what she said and sure enough, I got to suite 1107… finally!
WTF #6: After all this madness, I have to come back next week?!
I walked into the Brazil Consulate and nothing was in English. I stood in a random line and after 45 minutes, I got to the front. Thank God the lady spoke English. The fee was $50, so I handed her cash. Her response to me: “We only take money orders.”
She said that this is stated on the website. I looked at my watch and it was 12:30 pm. I had 30 minutes to get a money order. I remembered seeing a bank on the first floor and was about to see if I could get a money order. However, I learned from a random stranger that I couldn’t get a money order unless I had an account with that bank (which I didn’t). Even if I opened an account I would have to wait 48 hours before I could get a money order.
On the verge of tears, the stranger asked me where I banked. I told her and she advised that there was a branch across the street. So I ran as fast as I could in my 4-inch heels and almost got hit by a cab. I got to the bank and was served by a cheery and chatty gay man who took his time getting my money order. When I finally got it, I ran back across the street (watching for cabs this time) and back up the 2 elevators before the office closed.
I handed the lady the money order. She gave me a receipt and said, “You can pick up the papers next week.”
WHAT? I have to come back to this freaking city in a week?!
I grabbed the receipt, made my way back to my car, peeled off my 4-inch boots and screamed (literally). I drove back to work (barefoot) and gave the receipt to my boss. She can go back next week to pick up the paperwork!
After this day from hell, here’s what I learned…
- Don’t piss off squeegee kids
- Don’t talk to people with broken needles in their arms
- Pee before you leave
- Always carry change
- Read the fine print on websites
- Heels aren’t made for downtown running
Wow, I couldn’t stop laughing when my friend told me this story, I had to blog about it! Thanks Pam for contributing a great WTF story on Random Dysfunctions.