Thursday, October 4, 2007

Muscle Memory

I grew up in the Niagara region but I live in Toronto now. It's a little less than 200km, I think from downtown Toronto to my parents' house. My parents live in a small town and on top of that it's not really in the town so much as on the outskirts of it.

The important part is that I didn't have a lot of local entertainment growing up. Pretty much any time I wanted to have fun, it required driving to Niagara Falls or St Catherine's or Welland. All three have movie theatres. Niagara Falls had Clifton Hill, which is the main tourist drag. It's got arcades and haunted houses and really good people watching. St Catherine's and Welland have malls. Any time I wanted to find anything that was even remotely exotic, I had to go to one of those malls. I spent a lot of time in malls as a teenager. There really isn't a lot to do in the Niagara region.

I also spent a lot of time driving around with no particular destination. There isn't a lot to do but there are a lot of roads. I used to really enjoy driving when it was mostly done bombing around those sparsely populated rural areas. I used to be able to find my way home from almost anywhere without a map.

The trip from Toronto to my parents' house is not that hard. It involves 1 highway and 2 roads after the highway. I used to be able to do door to door from my place downtown in about an hour and a half and that was without breaking the speed limit too much. With the volume of traffic these days, and construction, I haven't made the trip in under 2 hours in over a year. One time this summer it took almost 3 hours. Stupid construction.

Fortunately, this time, I had advanced warning about the traffic so I decided to take an alternate route. I exited the QEW at the 406, which goes through St Catherine's, to circumvent the clog. No map in the car, but no problem, right? I grew up doing this. Apparently my brain doesn't remember all that highschool wandering. I drove past the exit I needed to get me back to the QEW. I got off and turned around and missed the exit again.

Finally, exasperated, I got off the highway and drove to the big mall in St Catherine's. Evidently I spent enough time at that mall that I managed to make it home from there without even thinking. Good old muscle memory.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's St. Catharines dammit... Not St. Catherine's!!!!!