There are certain things that I’ve liked as long as I can remember — spaghetti, the Yankees — but I can’t remember when I started liking them.
However, I can tell you it was Mrs. Henderson’s first-grade class when I started thinking dinosaurs were cool.
It’s not like I’ve studied dinosaurs since then, nor have I ever seen any of the “Jurassic Park” movies, but when Suzi looks at the map at the Royal Ontario Museum and asks if I want to see the dinosaurs, this 50-year-old may as well be 6 again.
Because dinosaurs will always be cool, and like Charlie Pierce says, it’s always a good day for dinosaur news.
For a moment, forget the part that it required getting up at 4 a.m. — we both set alarms, so it was quite a cacophony when they both went off at the same time — because taking the first international flight of the day is awesome.
Flying overnight to Switzerland brought with it a mob scene at the international terminal in Boston; I’m pretty sure half the country of Qatar was waiting to get on one flight.
But first thing in the morning? Barely any traffic on the road. Breeze right through security. No wait for morning refreshments. A mostly empty terminal. The plane waiting for us.
By the time we left, things were starting to come to life, but only just. Most of the people there were for our flight to Toronto, which was only about half-full.
I am happy to report that Porter Airlines still serves drinks in real glasses.
“It’s part of our brand,” the flight attendant said when I mentioned it.
I am also pleased to report that, although we were only there long enough to leave and weren’t making a connecting flight, it appears that Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport had modernized and expanded, so there might actually be space for passengers.
Armed with only the CN Tower as a reference point and relatively decent memory of the geography around it from previous trips to Toronto — the last of which was in 2009 — we actually managed to find our hotel without too much trouble.
It reminded me a little bit of a trip to a convention my Writing Center colleagues and I went to my junior year of college — and yes, there ain’t no party like a college writing tutor party — at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
We had maps of the campus, but the easiest landmark to find was a smokestack, so we built all our navigation around it. And because it looked like what it looked like and we were a bunch of college kids, we called it “the phallic symbol.”
This trip, unlike Switzerland, is not the culmination of a long-held dream. We’ve been here twice.
We don’t have a long list of things to check off while we’re here, because while it’s possible we may find something new to do — the CN Tower at night has been mentioned — we’ve probably done most of them.
For that reason, we’re doing something totally out of character, which is going on a trip without a plan. The Royal Ontario Museum trip, for example, was hatched over lunch from the Teriyaki Experience in the Eaton Centre’s Urban Eatery.
And by the way, all of the raises to the marketing guy who came up with the name “Urban Eatery” for what is a mall food court … a very nice mall food court, but still, a mall food court.
Instead, this is a long-weekend excursion, a chance to get away from everything and just have fun with each other.
And with the fun comes the jokes. After we were done with the dinosaurs, there was an exhibition on the origins of life that included information on how during a roughly 25-million-year period, 75 percent of all living creatures died.
Suzi suggested dropping that on the boss when you make a mistake, as a way of providing perspective. “Sure, I (did/didn’t do whatever), but did you know that 75 percent of all living creatures died in one 25-million-year stretch?”
Or the shorter version: “Sure, this is bad, but is it an extinction-level event?”
I wouldn’t suggest actually trying this — if you do, the only extinction-level event may be your job prospects — but we thought it was funny.