Have you been surprised by a road closure this season? A marathon with an endless stream of runners, or yet another construction zone, leaving you waiting, then rushing, and still late? How did I not know about this? Can they really just close a road with so little notice? Well, not everybody is sitting in traffic, fuming over the frustrations of city life. Tony figured it out earlier this spring.
Tony is a performer in the Vancouver Bach Choir and various local theatre groups. He has studied and performed in opera and other theatrical productions for over 60 years, and attends many perfomances by other groups. At 78, he is bemused by my careful age-related questions, by anyone's idea that being older means slowing down. He studies musical scores, leads a performance group, travels to international festivals, and makes frequent trips throughout Metro Vancouver to practices, rehearsals, and performances. He is quick, warm, friendly, and clearly connected in his neighbourhood, social and cultural groups. Tony’s concerns, if he has any, are how to maintain the quality of his movement on stage with his vertigo. Should he change the choreography? Sign up for Tai Chi or some kind of movement class? He’s got plenty of options in his lively West End neighborhood. That, and the traffic.
He drives mostly, but on one morning in May, he knew he needed another plan. It was the weekend of the Vancouver Marathon, which meant the roads he would usually take to get to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre would be closed to car traffic. What to do. A quick check of the TransLink website provided an answer: bus routes are pre-planned around event road closures to maintain travel schedules. Which means, Tony felt fairly sure he would arrive at the matinee without getting stuck in traffic. In fact, the bus made better time, nimbly making its way through an alternate route without delay. Delivered to the right spot as promised; so far so good. What Tony didn't anticipate was how relaxing his trip would be. He didn't have to navigate, focus, or worry; just pick a seat and let the driver do the work. He saw the marathoners — including the 70-year olds in the Masters category, he grins when I pipe up with that — he saw the ocean, the apartment shapes, and the streets shift from beachy, leafy residential to tall gleaming offices, the Playhouse, the Queen E. And then he was there. No parking, no waiting, just a small flush of new knowledge. A good trip.