Pictures, Soap and Losing Your Marbles

Sometimes my job is cool.

Tomorrow I am going to Toronto to art direct a photo shoot for a client. Which is cool, as far as work goes. “Art Director” is my day job title, which just means I’ve been a designer long enough that I get to boss other creative people around. It is also the title I choose to give myself (Queen of the Gypsies was my second choice) since I am the boss and I can have whatever title I want. On my office door you will find the title given to me by my staff.

Art directing a photo shoot means that I work with a photographer to create an image for a client to promote a product, event, or in this particular case, a play. I come up with a concept, style and direction for the shot, then work with the photographer and his team to select the location, models, wardrobe props, and so on. At the shoot, I am there to provide direction and make sure everything comes together so the client is happy. Which really means I stand around drinking espresso while everyone around me works really hard.

On Friday I will be working with photographer Matt Barnes, who I have not met, but selected him because his photographs are beautiful, theatrical, and technically perfect.

We will be shooting at a very cool location, and I’ll bet they will even serve us lunch. Maybe something cool like sushi, flavoured mineral water and pastries.

I get to stay in a swanky hotel. I say swanky because I get to watch whatever I want on TV (as in NOT Spongebob Squarepants), the toilet seat will be dry and in a horizontal position, and there will be no lego on the floor.

There is a “fitness room” at the hotel. Unfortunately Blake, my trainer will not be there, but he has been so kind as to provide my workout, which I shall do in peace on my own on Friday morning before the shoot. After my workout, I will take the elevator up to my room to shower and get ready, instead of going home and waking up two grouchy kids, making breakfast and lunch for four people at the same time, feeding the stupid cat (yes, it’s still alive), signing homework and wondering why, despite the fact I have been up since 5am, I am late for work again and look like shit.

But best of all, you know what being in a strange city means, right? Finding the coolest bike shop in town. Sadly, the latest flight I could get tomorrow means I have a free afternoon and evening to kill.

The particular bike shop I have chosen to visit (based on a recommendation by my friend Chris, who seems to know where all the cool bike shops are) is called La Bicicletta. It’s a bit of a hike from my hotel, but thankfully, next to a bike, my favourite form of transportation is the subway. I love the subway.

Like any good shopper, I have done some advance research and come up with a draft shopping list:

1. Some Rapha soap and saddle cream.

2. The current issue of Roleur magazine

3. A Pinarello Dogma or Bianchi Sempre (but only if nobody is looking)

I hope they have sturdy shopping bags.

One of the last times I was in Toronto, I lost a bag at some point during a particularly fruitful shopping excursion. I thought I may have left it on the subway and called the TTC to see if anyone had turned it in. They informed me I had to call the Toronto Police Department, as they handle all lost and found on their behalf (weird). I called and spoke to a female constable who took my name and information, and asked the contents of the bag. The bag had contained gifts for my two young boys: a harmonica, a toy car, a stuffed bear, and a bag of glass marbles.

After I listed the contents there was a pause on the other end of the phone.

“Ma’am, are you telling me you lost your marbles on the subway?”

Um. Yeah. I guess I did.