The Garden City Refugee

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Chatter in the Cabin

March 3, 2023

This morning, I stopped for a break at the Captain’s Cabin in Port Dalhousie. And when looking for a seat, I was promptly given the stank-eye by the mostly over-70 crowd. “Who the hell are you?” might as well have been the caption that sprang up over each of their heads. Non-regulars obviously stand out there. It was another case of the Stonewall Syndrome. So named because of a time decades earlier when I walked into a Chicken Delight in Stonewall, a small town north of Winnipeg, and got the same treatment. But I digress.

After I took my seat, the old fogies went about their business and I began listening as a gray mustached guy across the aisle was talking to his buddy who was wearing a Tiger-Cats cap. Gray Mustached Guy said that a friend of his who was starting to lose his marbles couldn’t sleep because he was in so much pain. So much pain, in fact, that he had to go back to the hospital recently. But otherwise, he just didn’t want to go anywhere.

Tiger-Cats Guy then said an older couple he knows went on a trip to “freaking Portugal,” where one of them had a bad fall. The wife is 91 years old and both are stubborn as hell. But Gray Mustached Guy had a better travel story to share. Someone he knew drove all the way to Panama. The guy didn’t have too many problems, he said. When going through Mexico, he would often spot soldiers with guns along the side of the road. There was only one time when he was really scared. But once you get through the border areas, the people are really good, he said. The cartel guys pretty much leave you alone. If you don’t go looking for trouble, you’re not going to find any.

After the two of them lamented how sad it is in downtown Welland, Gray Mustached Guy said he knew about a local construction company that needed to get 60 cranes on a job site by Tuesday. Unaware of this, the payroll girl wondered why there was $32,000 in OT being owed to workers. Elsewhere in the office, a new Oriental girl started in HR and took over Billy’s office. And she would bring a different car to work each day, the most recent one being a Beemer.

Gray Mustached Guy went on to say that he’d like to take one of those river cruises, but Tiger-Cats Guy warned him that it could set him back 10 grand. Gray Mustached Guy said he paid that much for his 28-day trip “out West” last summer. He’d also like to go to Newfoundland. He’s been all the way to where the ferry goes, but he’s never actually been across. His brother went to Florida recently and said it was cheap. But Gray Mustached Guy advised flying out of Hamilton. The airport fees at Pearson are so expensive, he said.

He then suddenly couldn’t find his phone. But a few seconds later, he realized he left it in his truck. Then he said he would be going to Costco later today. The one in Grimsby (it’s actually in Stoney Creek), not the one in the Falls. His wife doesn’t like the one in the Falls. She says it’s almost exactly like the one they used to have in St. Catharines. She wants to get some bottled water, while he’s got a few things to pick up for himself. Get there before the storm comes, he said.

The things you learn about people in a coffee shop.

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