Long Nuit

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to keep up a blog when you're working eleven + hours AND commuting for three hours each day? I feel tired. And let's not even talk about how much weight I've put on via stress eating. Ugh.

After Camera Guy and his busy hands/vacuum mouth, I knew I was growing tired of the online dating scene again. It's time consuming, exhausting, and I have to take breaks to keep myself from going crazy. I knew someone would really have to grab my attention in order for me to meet up with them. Enter: Polish Dude.

Polish Dude looked "excellent on paper", as my friend Gyn would say (hi Gyn, love you!). A fellow graphic designer, full head of hair (sorry, Frank), 5'8", average build, cute pictures, good sense of humour. Win! After chatting on MSN, we decided it was time to meet up, and he suggested we attend Nuit Blanche. For those of you who don't live in Toronto, Nuit Blanche is a free all-night (sunset to sunrise) contemporary art event.

I had never been, but I'd heard great things, so I agreed to meet up with him, and found myself waiting nervously at the Eaton Centre on a very cold night in October. He called my cell phone and told me he was waiting just outside the doors, so I took a deep breath, stepped outside, and…5'8" my ass.

We shared an awkward hug, then decided to start wandering down Queen Street West.

There were people EVERYWHERE. I was careful not to lose Polish Dude in the crowds as we walked to Nathan Phillips Square to see a drive-in inspired multimedia installation. Slowly, I took in all the people hanging around giant screens displaying strange shapes and colours, along with sound I could barely hear above the crowd.

"I don't get it," I said to Polish Dude, and he smiled.

We headed back out to the street and continued west, chatting as we walked. I babble when I'm nervous, and he didn't seem to mind, or have much to say.

Another art project: crazy hippies balancing rocks.

"Uh, what the fuck?" I said, as we stopped to watch. One of the hippies started preaching new-age nonsense, and I began to wonder if they were actually part of Nuit Blanche, or had just found a perfect venue for crazy town.

Just then, one of the balancing rocks fell, and I burst out laughing, garnering dirty looks from the hippie and a few people around us. "Oh, come on!" I said loudly, and Polish Dude chuckled beside me. We decided it was time to move on.

More walking. An art project in the form of an awards ceremony, which had been taken over by a bunch of giggling teenage girls requesting awards for each other "for being so cool!"

"Polish Dude, do you have a smoke?" I finally asked.

"Yes. Wait, I thought you cut back?" he replied.

"I did. And now this weird art is making me want one."

He smiled and handed me a cigarette from a black case.

"What brand are these?" I asked.

"Native," he replied, and I made a face.

For the record, Native cigarettes are GROSS. They are ├╝ber strong, burn fast, and taste like ass. Sigh. Beggars can't be choosers. We stood and smoked, watching a band play on the back of a flatbed truck.

Walking. Rocky Horror Picture Show theatrical production in a window.

Walking. Giant playground in a park. Closed to those who wanted to play monkey for an hour (why? I don't know.)

Walking. Group of strangers sitting at a table. Woman reading poetry, dressed in white.

I was getting tired. We had been walking quite some time, it was late, and my feet were starting to hurt. Polish Dude suggested we stop for food at The Drake Hotel, and I agreed.

We both ordered burgers and fries from the special 'Nuit Blanche' menu, and he asked me questions about my dating history. My first story didn't get much of a reaction out of him, so I switched gears and told him some of my VERY BEST material to get him to loosen up and laugh, but he would simply chuckle and shake his head. It was beyond frustrating, and I had no idea if he even liked me or not.

"Where do you want to go next?" he asked, and I realized it was going to be a very long night with Captain Stoic.

"I dunno," I said, and he handed me the book to look through. I flipped it open and my eyes grew wide. "Omigod!" I squealed, "Lower Bay is OPEN?! We HAVE to go!"

"Okay, but what's Lower Bay?" he asked.

Good question.

Lower Bay is an abandoned subway station in Toronto, situated under Bay Station (Upper Bay). It was used for only six months in 1966, when trains ran along three routes instead of two as part of an 'interlining' experiment. Due to confusion and problems, the experiment was deemed a failure, and Lower Bay was closed to the public.

For years, many Torontonians believed Lower Bay Station was an urban legend, until some urban explorers happened upon it, and then the TTC used it to bypass Upper Bay Station during repairs, and opened it for a number of events, such as Doors Open Toronto, and now, Nuit Blanche. It has also been used to film many commercials and movies. Abandoned buildings and urban exploration have always fascinated me for some reason, and I'd always wanted a chance to see Lower Bay.

"Okay then, let's go," he said.

"It's far. Really far. Like 6 km far," I replied.

"So? We've got all night."

Right. All night. First date. With Mr. Humourless. Awesome.

We left The Drake and headed back east, taking a few shortcuts to avoid the crowds. I asked about his dating history and he informed me that he was just out of a long distance relationship with a 21-year-old. By just, he meant a couple of weeks, and by long distance, he meant ENGLAND.

Sad and confused, he sounded like he was still processing the break-up. Red flag.

When we finally reached Bay Station, it was one o'clock in the morning, and I was TIRED. So much walking, and it was way past my bedtime (stfu, I'm old now). We found the start of the lineup and followed it around the corner onto Cumberland Street. It kept going…and going…and going. We passed a sign that marked a 30 minute wait, and continued walking. We got into line, quite sure that the wait would be at least an hour.

We were running out of things to say and I was getting very cold. My teeth began to chatter, and I rubbed my hands together.

"Give me your hand," he said.


"Give me your hand," he repeated, and took my left hand into his. And we stood there. Not talking. Just facing forward and holding hands. SO awkward.

About an hour later, we descended the stairs into Lower Bay Station, which had been transformed into an interactive light show. The platform was crowded with people, and the artist was running around in the dark, yelling at people to clap their hands so the weird fiber light sticks would flicker. For the first time ever on this blog, I'm including a short video (isn't technology grand?) I took that night! You can hear everybody clapping, see me poking at the lights, and listen to our awkward conversation as we tried to figure it out. And then I laugh, because it's all so ridiculous.


Unfortunately, my only glimpses of the subway station came with flash photography, and I left frustrated and unsatisfied.*

Outside, we had a smoke and watched more art: a live performance with sound and light of a 650-tonne billion-year-old chunk of rock glowing red and pulsing like a heart. People, I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

I began to shiver again, and Polish Dude suggested we head to the Starbucks across the street for some hot chocolate to warm up. He refused to let me pay, and we had to sit on the patio outside, as it was crazy crowded inside.

I yawned.

"Tired?" he asked.

"Yes." It was three in the morning, and I was very ready to go home.

"I know you don't accept a ride home on the first date, but I'm hoping you'll make an exception. It's really late, the weirdos are out, and I'd like to make sure you get home okay," he said.

Seven hours later, I was quite sure he wasn't a serial killer, so I accepted his offer. We had a few laughs (okay, I laughed and he chuckled), as we tried to drive through the throngs of people still wandering the downtown core.

At my apartment, I gave him a quick hug, thanked him for a fun night, and got out of the car.

I was completely exhausted as I pulled my Converse sneakers off my aching feet and left a trail of clothes behind me on the way to my bed. In hindsight, Nuit Blanche had been kind of a bad idea. It was simply way too long to spend with someone on a first date. I wasn't sure how I felt about Polish Dude, and I had no clue how he felt about me. I just wanted to sleep.

I managed to sleep off and on until about one in the afternoon, when I moved my ass to the couch to watch some television. My phone buzzed with a text message notification:

Polish Dude: Hope you got lots of sleep and you're not going to get sick from the cold weather last night. I just wanted to say that I had a great time with you and think that you're a cute, funny and smart lady. This was honestly the most enjoyable and easy going date i've ever been on and hope we can do this again soon :)

Well, there was the answer to one of my questions. How did I feel about him? It would take another date to figure it out...

*My family and I have since attended a TTC tour of Lower Bay Station, so now I've seen it with the lights on and I'm satisfied. That's what she said.

1 comment :

  1. He sounds like a dream ! but that is just from what I read.. Although if the awkward chuckling persists, he may not be worth it.