Tomorrow and Friday, Ryan will pack up his life and move it a bit further uptown to a groovy townhouse for the next 12 months. Tonight, I'm going to help him pack. Packing I don't mind. Moving? I hate it! This year I've moved from Aurora to Liberty Village. Back to Aurora and back downtown. The move in August was one of the worst in history. Here's a preview:
- orange flavoured Gatorade;
- credit card fraud;
- a Jeep full of clothes;
- an exhausted boyfriend;
- a dehydrated girlfriend;
- a call to 911;
- police officers, paramedics and a lovely girl on the phone;
- Gigi freaking out on the DVP;
- me freaking out on the DVP after a near fainting episode;
- a second call to 911;
- dead call phone battery;
- friends coming to the rescue; and
- the highway traffic report.
The day of the Kings of Leon concert this summer, also the day before I was moving out of my condo, Ryan snagged us last minute tickets to the show. We both had the Thursday off for the move, so we decided to see the concert and enjoy some tasty beverages throughout the evening. We weren't worried about whether or not I was all packed and ready for Thursday morning, we just figured it would work out. We can skip past the concert, the two bars afterwards, passing out and then getting up late to pick up the moving van for 8am. That's not the fun stuff. It starts to get really fun around 11:30am...
Already a few hours late starting the day, Ryan and I rushed in his car to the rental place. My hair was wet from the shower and still hadn't been brushed as I stood at the counter and watched Ryan swipe the plastic for the truck rental. My orange Gatorade was waiting for me in Ryan's car so I chugged as much as I could stomach before pulling on to Jarvis and heading back to the condo.
I tried directing Ryan as he backed the van up to the moving area, but having a couple direct each other while one drives and the other stands hungover in the blazing sun is a recipe for breakup. Ryan couldn't understand what I was signalling him to do and I could sense his annoyance, but was too peckish to care. Somehow we got the van backed up to the moving doors and then began emptying the apartment.
I don't usually dawdle, but on that particular day I was moving very slowly. Ryan was lugging boxes as I stared at my full closet and wondered how I was going to package all my clothes. I bought garbage bags to cover everything on hangers since I only own four garment bags and that simply wasn't cutting it. As Ryan moved countless boxes from the condo, to the hallway, to the elevator, to the truck I sorta meandered through the jungle of my stuff until I found a bag of rice crisps. Perfect! Breakfast and lunch, plus snack.
Once I finally remembered that I had booked the elevator and needed to actually speak to the concierge about setting it up, Ryan's chores got a bit easier. Now, he was able to almost fill the elevator instead of riding up and down six floors like a crazy person. Let's be clear - I didn't want Ryan to do this all on his own, he just seemed to be more effective than me that day and was leading the process.
With the van packed, Ryan's car parked in my spot, my Jeep full of clothes, Gigi strapped in to her harness and my Gatorade nestled in the cup holder, we agreed that Ryan would follow me to Aurora where we would unload the van and then race back downtown. This particular location didn't allow for after hours drop off and because it was such a busy moving weekend, each hour the van was late would result in a one hundred and FIFTY dollar fine. We were getting that beast back to the rental place on time.
Cruising along Lake Shore and then the Gardiner I told myself I just needed to get back to Aurora and then I could eat something. I had the air cranked and the music on. I rounded the off ramp and then saw the disastrous state of the Don Valley Parkway. Traffic began where the Gardiner and DVP met. This was not looking good. It was just after 3pm and already the road was littered with parked cars.
Here's a little secret about me. I don't like traffic. Not like it annoys me, I mean that sitting in traffic ignites fear in me. I feel trapped and as a result, I can easily have an anxiety attack. Let's review a few details of my physical state that day: haven't eaten, hungover, tired, sweating and now chattering with anxiety. By the time my car had crawled to almost Don Mills I was overcome with anxiety. I felt faint and because I have a history of fainting, I was even more panicked. Luckily, I was in the far left lane so when I felt nausea wash over me, I pulled over and slapped my four-way flashers on. I called Ryan. Twice. No answer. A few minutes later I saw him drive past me a couple of lanes over. He had no idea what was going on. I sent him two BBMs: "pulled over on the highway. gonna faint. calling 911."
With bf rescue out of the question, I called 911. I couldn't risk driving, fainting and then injuring people, but I knew I couldn't stay parked on the side of the road forever. Throughout all this, I'm also completely panic-stricken so I wanted a solution asap. Trembling, I dialed 911. I felt stupid, but if you've ever had an actual anxiety attack you know that it feels like you're dying. My options were few and I needed to do something.
I stayed on the phone with the 911 operator after explaining the situation. She sent two cop cars and an ambulance. While I was on the phone, Ryan and his bestie were both trying to get a hold of me. Ryan had seen my messages and missed calls. When he couldn't get through to me, he called Matt to check on me because his phone was about to die. Gigi was not impressed with all the people surrounding the car or the flashing lights so she basically lost her mind as she watched me disappear into the ambulance. She was shrieking and was also completely panicked. Like mother, like daughter (with fur).
Sitting in the ambulance hooked up to a bunch of monitors, I felt a bit better. Knowing I didn't have to deal with everything on my own was a relief, which also brought my pulse and temperature down. One of the police officers brought my cell phone to me in the ambulance. Matt had texted me and when I responded saying I was in an ambulance my phone rang right away. "Crystal, Ryan said you were going to faint and told me to call you. Is everything okay? Why are you in an ambulance?" I told Matt about the ordeal and asked if he could come drive my car and me back to Aurora. The tricky part is to get to me, he needed a car, but he couldn't leave his car on the highway to drive me, so we needed some more helpers. Matt called two of Ryan's room mates who picked Matt up and drove him to me.
From where I was sitting, I could just barely make out the sign letting me know I was pulled over just north of Don Mills, just south of Spanbridge, on the left shoulder. I texted Matt the details so he could find me. As he read my message, all three guys in the car looked up to see a message posted on the highway traffic board: Car pulled over in left lane on DVP, just before Spanbridge." Matt yelled, "Hey! That's Crystal!" I was news. I was hungover, exhausted, feeling like an idiot, causing traffic and making news happen.
I assured the paramedics that I was fine and told them to leave. One cruiser was obligated to stay and park behind me with his huge arrows flashing so cars would move over. He told me to honk my horn if I started "...going downhill again." Within a few minutes I went from feeling okay to feeling horrible again. I started to tingle and immediately honked my horn and stuck my arm out the window frantically. The cop raced back over to me and called 911 for a second ambulance when I told him how I felt. Why me?
Shortly after that incident, Matt and my rescue squad arrived. They pulled up ahead of me and all walked over to check me out. Gigi again starting barking and panting. We assured the cop that Matt could drive me and my car home and that I would be fine. I shimmied over to the passenger seat and Matt slid in to the driver's seat. Throughout this all, Ryan has no idea what's going on, only that I'm at the side of the road about to pass out.
It was 6:15pm by the time we got to Aurora. Ryan arrived at my house, unloaded the van and then used the house phone to call me. It had been almost 7 hours since this horrible day had started for the two of us and it wasn't getting any better. Ryan and Matt needed to fly the van back downtown by 7pm with my debit card. If they were late, the van would need to be back by 7am the next day. They took off quickly, but there was no chance they were making it to Queen and Jarvis by 7pm. Ryan drove Matt home and then went in search of an overnight parking lot. At 6am he got up - you should probably know that he doesn't like getting up, especially not early - drove the van downtown, called a cab and took it to my condo to get his car and then drive home. This was all before going to work. He scored huge points that day and I have repaid him, but this is one of those instances he can milk for a few more freebies.
Ryan spent Friday exhausted until he was jolted back to consciousness when Visa fraud protection called to tell him his card was compromised at the truck rental place. Of course it was.