Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Due to Toronto's continual bid to minimise carbon pollution by making its airport inaccessible by public transport, I decided to try out a private park 'n fly scheme. These businesses offer parking close to the airport at substantially cheaper rates than the official terminal parking and provide a free shuttle bus between your car and the airport.

The company I found had three car parks; 'valet parking', 'economy parking' and .... the middle one for which there was no helpful description. With my scientific love of averages, I opted for this label-less middle ground and parked my car in the lot before returning to the attendant's office to wait for the shuttle. The car parking attendant was a polite individual originally from, I would guess, India or close by. He looked at me very seriously as I sat down and said:

"English is not my first language and I have been wondering ..... "

Where you are from?
If G20 is a new energy drink?
Whether the English football team even practised?

".... what does 'awesome' mean?"

Definitely not a question about the World Cup. I thought perhaps this boded well for the parking lot if people had been using the word 'awesome' in conversation with the attendant. Although quite what a car park would have to do to become 'awesome' is less clear. Perhaps my bug will be replaced with a Ferrari while I travelled. Either way, it had to be better than being asked what 'insurance law suit' meant.

"It means 'great'," I said, raising my left hand in a thumbs-up to indicate my meaning.

"Ah. So if someone says it was 'awesome coffee'...?"

Coffee?! Must have been Irish.

"They thought it was very good," I confirmed.

"What would they say if they thought it was bad?"

I resisted the urge to supply the name of a popular coffee house chain.

"Uh, perhaps 'awful coffee'," I suggested instead.

"Awesome .... awful ...."

The shuttle arrived and I hopped on, hoping that my new friend wasn't preparing for a state visit from the Queen when she arrives in Canada tomorrow.

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