It had been a hell of a day to travel anywhere in the Northeast.
Winter storm Nemo had just dumped 2 and a half feet of snow in the greater Boston area, and only a little less in New York.
I had been planning to visit Toronto for a while to attend a WSO Happy Hour and see the sights, and the weekend of Feburary 9th also happened to be Chinese New Year. Two things to celebrate in one weekend.
It almost didn't happen. Although my connecting flight from Montreal to Toronto went ahead, I ended up sitting on the tarmac for almost 3 hours while the airport people flailed around helplessly trying to figure out what to do about the blizzard...in Toronto, Canada, of all places. I spent more time on the ground than in the air!
Taxis weren't even accepting calls for pickup, buses and shuttles were off, and even a personal offer from someone in WSO to come and pick me up backfired when their car got stuck in a snow drift.
When I finally met my WSO contact at Union Station, I gave her a bone-crushing hug--her friend who was with her was probably disappointed that she only got a handshake.
I landed at 12 noon and rolled into the Happy Hour at Duke of Devon's pub at 7pm, and man, did In The Flesh need a beer. "Boddington's, PLEASE," I begged the waitress as I took my seat.
Despite the fiendish weather, there were between 15-20 people at the event, a testament to Toronto's 2nd-place position in total WSO traffic (New York being the first). Many weeks of excitement and planning came to fruition as I laughed, caroused, and ate with WSO Toronto, a fine bunch of folks if there ever was one.
True to form, I wore a metal band shirt to mark myself for any headbangers in attendance, and sure enough, I ended up talking to one of them for quite a while about a whole range of topics from my Head of Metal project to Roman Catholicism to the overall attractiveness level of the monkeys in attendance (fear not, it was agreed that we were a pretty consistently good-looking group across the board).
I told a bunch of the classic Happy Hour stories from New York, including the Flake Bear Fight Championship and the Three-Piece Incident, and I also recall wowing one of the attendees by correctly guessing that she was from Sri Lanka. This led to a (rather intense) debate over what exactly constituted an island or a continent--which didn't really matter because her description of where she was from was "a tropical island in the Indian Ocean."
I also met a native Australian, a recently engaged couple, and a student who was regaled with my a capella group experience and my fondness for Johnny Cash.
Overall, we were reminded of just how lucky we all were--some of us working, some of us in school, some of us neither--but we all had a great time. As I said multiple times that night, you could tell it was an excellent happy hour by how many people continued to stick around after the official close-of-event time.
Four of us ended the night at Guvernment Club, and if you know me at all personally you can guess my reaction when I stepped inside (I can hear you laughing, AndyLouis). Four of us entered...but only two of us left.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you're on the fence about it, come to a WSO Happy Hour, order yourself a pint of something delicious, shake a few hands and have a few laughs. You won't be sorry!