True to my own advice, it was time for me to make a little staycation. Jacquie was working nights and was sleeping before her next night shift, so I decided that I would make the trip over to Massena, New York. Massena is just across the border from Cornwall, Ontario. It’s a small little city, which feels smaller than the 12,000 people Wikipedia reports. I love that I am closer to the American border again, having grown up across from both Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York and Port Huron, Michigan. Like I said in a previous staycation post, when trying to get motivated for a staycation, give it a reason. I knew that I needed to have my oil changed and filters checked, having driven across the country since the last change. I did the price checking versus what it would cost in Canada…and I’d save $40-50 on the change alone! So, I had my purpose for being there and I booked my appointment for that afternoon. So let me take you on my mini adventure to Massena.
St. Lawrence Centre Mall
I made my drive over the border, easy peasy. I find that this is one of the smoothest bridges to cross, compared to crossing at Windsor or Fort Erie… The last time I was in Massena with Jacquie for a quick fuel stop and grocery shopping we didn’t stop at the mall. Now, having the whole day to myself I thought that I would first stop at the mall to see what was there. Two words struck me as I entered the St.Lawrence mall. Big and empty. It was really eerie. I walked through the cavernous hallways, looking at mostly empty stores, passed by elderly fitness power walkers. The muzak could be heard more clearly than the local church gossip. They still seem to have several anchor stores, Sears, Bon Ton, and JC Penny…but that’s about it. I felt like a ghost condemned to walk the most depressing mall, where no shopping occurs, just silence and desperation. I walked into an FYE, a store of which I haven’t been in since 2001. I didn’t know it even still existed. I walked in, the customer service workers doughy faces lit up by their smartphones, and proceeded to check for two things: The Twilight Zone complete Blu-ray series, and Back To the Future. I already own these, but I can’t help myself to check. I think to myself, how does someone justify spending this much money on physical media anymore. I almost bought a cool KISS mug for $3. I left. like a time traveller who recognizes glimpses of himself through shards of a familiar reality.
One of my favourite things to do when I am in the States is to go grocery shopping. I love it. You can find so many interesting and different things so I tend to load up on treats like Real-Sugar Pepsi, cooking sauces, and whatever else I can’t find in Canada. Its a peculiar desire, but to be honest, I unashamedly dream about it sometimes. I found myself in the middle of Wal-Mart amongst my people. Where South Park pyjama pants are fashion forward, I found something which made me laugh out loud. When I was living in Korea, I would always see advertisements for this crazy mop. Watch this video,
I looked up on the shelf, and to my amazement, saw one!
It was nearing the 2:30 pm appointment time and I made my way over to the auto shop to have my Toyota serviced. I brought in my book to read while I waited and started talking to a worker who I’ll keep anonymous in case big brother is watching. He was really nice and we got on the subject of country differences between the US and Canada in regards to healthcare. It was so interesting to hear his ideas from an American perspective. I had no idea that many American will now be forced to pay for health insurance and will otherwise be fined if they do not. Also, how little the insurance covers for the payment cost. He was explaining to me that he was in the hospital for several days due to a back injury. He said that his four day stay cost him $13,000. My jaw hit the floor. He had requested an itemized bill upon his exit and balked when he retold to me that a simple pitcher of water cost him $12. It really gave me incredible perspective and worry for how the average American has such an uphill battle. I especially worry for the elderly. This was one of the best little things to happen on my day trip. I met someone local who shifted my perspective on a deep issue.
Fill up, and head home
I filled up the tank, saving another $30, and made a quick shop at the liquor store. Crossing the bridge back was a breeze and before I knew it I was back in time for dinner. Massena has a small city charm that I really enjoyed and I am sure that I will be back there monthly for food an a fill up.
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