Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day Trip to Kingston

Reg is even more anal about planning than I am. And if he doesn't know or understand the plan, he panics. Which is why he is never able to sleep the night before he travels. Which is why I won't do a day trip with him again soon. 

He was exhausted to begin with. He didn't sleep the night before, and we were launching into an entire day without his usual afternoon nap. And when he's tired, he's not at his best.

It started before we'd even pulled out of the retirement home. 

I signaled to turn right. 

"Why are you going right? You want to go left. Go left."

"I'm going right because I'm going to get on the 416." 

"No, you don't want the 416... you want the --" he struggled here to find the words. "Go left." 

I sighed and turned left. "I want the 416, Reg."

"No, it's the..." again, more pausing. "It goes right into Kingston by the... the..."

I realize now that he wanted me to take the 15. But I was in no mood to take a route I didn't know. I know the 416 and it's faster. I don't like being uncertain when he's in the car. It just creates panic.

"Why are you turning on Moodie?" he asked, as I pulled into the left lane to get onto Moodie so I could turn around and take the 416.


"Well..." he shrugged moodily. "You're the driver," he muttered.

"Yep, I am. And I'm taking the freaking 416."

Took the 416 to the 401, no problem. 


I should mention that I've tried to discuss plans for this trip with him several times, and each time I make suggestions about stuff to do, or ask him what he would prefer, he waves me off and says, "Whatever you want. Anything. I'm fine with anything."

So I outline the plan as I drive: "I was thinking we go right into the downtown and stop at the Tourism Bureau, and we can pick one or two things we'd like to do. I would like to see Bellevue, but if you would rather do something else, that's fine, too. We'll hit the information bureau and get some ideas and decide. By then it will be time for lunch, and we can have lunch before heading off to whatever we're going to do."
He pronounced this fine. He also indicated he'd like to see City Hall - he installed the telephone system there about 40 years ago.

As we approached Kingston, he said, "You'll want to get off at the first exit." 

"I was thinking I'd follow the one that takes us right into downtown."

"No, no, take this one - THIS ONE - and we'll go to the base where Phil is."

"Yes, but we're not picking Phil up until this afternoon."

"Go this way. I used to come this way all the time. Go this way - it will take us into Kingston by the... the.... GO THIS WAY."

I can feel my blood pressure rising at this point, and I take the exit against my better judgement. 

We drive along.

He says, "Well, I don't where the hell we are. Do you?" 

I screeched the car to a halt at the side of the road. "No, I don't know where the hell we are - you made me take this exit because you said you knew the route. Are you telling me you don't?" 

I didn't wait for an answer. I yanked out the map, swearing under my breath. My blood pressure was through the fucking roof. I was furious. 

We had turned so early that it wasn't even on the map. When I pointed this out, he shrugged his shoulders. He never apologises, so I wasn't expecting him to.

"I'll keep going this way and we should connect with Highway 2," I said tersely, and continued along.

We approached Highway 2. "Turn here," he said with authority. I just looked at him, and then turned.

We got into Kingston without further incident, but I did end up partaking in some yogic breathing to calm down. 

Our first stop was the City Hall - we both had to use the bathroom. We discovered that they offer free tours, and someone was available to take us around. We committed to half an hour. 

Reg's first question: "Is the telephone equipment still under the stairs?" 

The guide stared. 

I explained. "He installed the phone equipment here over 30 years ago and was wondering if it is still kept in the same place." 

She, not surprisingly, had no idea. 

The tour guide was great - she spoke nice and loud and was able to answer our questions. I especially enjoyed seeing Memorial Hall, which is beautiful, and learned about how that particular type of architechture is based on symmetry, so there are a lot of false doors. Reg enjoyed the tour very much.

Then we went down to see the jail in the basement. I quickly realized why Reg was so eager to get down there. 

"I think we installed it this way," he said, scurrying off toward an office. With my help, the guide intercepted him and explained for the third time that we must follow the tour route. He rolled his eyes as though he didn't believe her. 

"Reg," I said, "this is a working building. We can't go barging into offices. The guide is only allowed to bring us to certain places, and the area you're looking for isn't on the tour route." 

Again with the eye roll. (He firmly believes that rules are for other people and is always amused by my attempts to follow them.) He made a second run for it toward another "employees only" area, and I had to drag him back to the elevators by the arm. The guide was trying to be really nice about it, but she looked pretty stressed.

Then we hit the Tourist Information office, and got a couple of glossy guides to Kingston. We perused these quietly over lunch. 

Then I spoke up. 

"You know, you have to trust me. You have to trust that I wouldn't plan a day trip to Kingston and not know how to get there." 

He smiled serenely. It was maddening. 

We hit Bellevue (I had to again convince him that I knew where I was going). We went into the Visitors' Centre and watched the intro film - they were nice enough to include captions. We toured the house at our own pace, and I think he enjoyed seeing it. We were asked if we wanted to stay for tea and theatre, and he said he'd be interested in the tea, but not the theatre. But as they kind of intersect, I told him we'd have to be discreet and quiet when we decided to leave. (I also cleared this with the staff, and they were fine with it.) 

A short lull in the performance offered a good opportunity. I whispered, "Do you want to go now?" 

"Just a minute, just a minute," he replied impatiently. I sat back, happy to stay a bit longer. 

And then right in the middle of a song, he said, nice and loudly, "Let's go, I've had enough of this." 


As it was getting closer to 4pm, he grew concerned about how Phil would reach us. I explained for the seventh time that he had my cell phone number, and that he would phone me when he was ready to be picked up. 

"How does he know to phone you?"

"I spoke to him yesterday."

"And he has the number?"

"Yes, he has the number."

We sat down by the water for a while, and then we decided to drive up to Fort Henry to see the view. As we drove, he looked at the cell phone, which was sitting on the dashboard.

"How will we know when he's trying to reach us?"

"The phone will ring."

"And you'll be able to hear it, with it sitting over there?" 

"I'll be able to hear it. It rings loudly." 

(doubtfully) "I hope you're right."

I'd had it. 

"Reg, sometimes it seems like you really think I'm an idiot." 

He stared at me. "I never said you were an idiot!" 

"I didn't say you did. But it seems like you think it." 

"That's a horrible thing to say! I don't think you're an idiot!"

"Then you have to trust that I know what I'm doing." 

Nothing more was said, but I think the message got through.