I looked out the window, quietly chewing the smoke salmon crêpe. A college student in a hooded sweat shirt hurried to the subway station holding an over-sized textbook against her chest. A young man in a pressed suit held firmly onto his young children’s hands – one on the left and one on the right – as he walked them to school. A grey-haired woman slowly pushed her shopping basket, glancing over at me eating the crêpe for a moment. I was on vacation, but it was just another Thursday morning for the majority of Torontonians.
“So what are you doing here?” the lady behind the counter said with a French accent. There were only two other patrons in the tiny café; an older couple at the table next to the cashier. “We are on vacation for seven weeks,” the man replied. “We started in Vancouver. Traveled all the way across Canada. Later today, we are heading to Niagara.” It turned out the man worked as a fire fighter for 30 years, and nowadays he and his wife spent most of their days traveling around the world, enjoying their retirement life.
“Seven weeks! I wish I could have a vacation,” the lady sighed. She had a three-year-old daughter, and as a result, her day off from work was often anything but. I could relate to her feeling; I decided to physically get away from everything for a few days for my sanity after all. But while I could afford a mini vacation, I wasn’t so sure if I would be able to afford to travel for seven weeks in my 60s or 70s. As I finished my savory crêpe and sipped the rest of espresso, I wondered if I would even be able to retire.
It was starting to rain outside. Another man in a pressed suit walked by, pushing a covered stroller. I checked my phone; it was 8:57am. I walked up to the counter and paid the bill with cash, letting her keep the change. Both she and I had a long day ahead of us.