Every once in a while, I go downtown and remind myself why I so rarely go downtown.
First, there’s the commute. Every route that isn’t under construction is slowed down by an automobile collision. If not that, the cab that has parked itself in front of a driveway is creating havoc in it’s rear because nobody can turn into that driveway.
Then there’s the yellers. You know those people who sit at bar patios at 10:00am and yell cat calls at all the young ladies who walk by. “Hey princess! Why don’t you turn around and come here. Don’t pretend like you don’t hear me!”
Then, there’s the people who look and seem normal, but don’t know how to use a bathroom. It’s Saturday, it’s 11:00am. I enter a cafe for a late breakfast, early lunch. (Arepa Cafe on Queen Street. Delicious!) There was two men in the cafe before me. I ordered a coffee then went downstairs to wash my hands before eating. The bathroom was clean, probably hadn’t been used yet that day. I ate some food, drank some coffee. The arepa was a bit messy. I went back downstairs to wash up a bit. I found the men’s room a pigsty. TP in the bowl, stuck to the side above the water line. Pissed in water in the bowl that wasn’t flushed. Paper towel in shreds all over the floor. Thirty minutes prior this place was clean, spotless. I’m not positive which guy made the mess but it had to have been one of the two guys who were in there before me. This place was not rammed and I’m certain both of these men left the table at some point between my two trips to the sink. As for other men entering the establishment, it might have been them but they would have had to walk by me to go down the stairs to the latrine. Not that I was paying attention to these people, but I was sorta people watching while I ate.
And of course there’s those people who sleep and snore in the hallways that lead from those tall buildings to nearby subway stations. Probably the same people who stand up five feet from all of there worldly possessions, turn around and pee on the sidewalk. I know, there’s problems and such, but that can’t be the solution.
Lastly, not that this is exclusive to downtown but it happens a lot more in the city. Those women who get out of cabs on a chilly Saturday night wearing a top that is so tight it could be classified as paint and a skirt so short it would be otherwise considered a belt. They don’t get it. Or maybe I don’t get it but it just seems easier (and less frost-bite inducing if they would just buy a sweater and pair of pants at the same disposable clothing store they bought the paint and belt at, wore the sweater and pants outside and disrobed once getting inside the bar. It’s not like they’re going to end the night wearing clothes at all. If they valued their dignity and self-respect, they wouldn’t wear the paint and belt in the first place. (Yeah, that’s right. I’m slut-shaming. When I need to get my rocks off, I head to DarcKnyt’s bordello/butcher shoppe. Best place in town to buy some ham and get a load of those gams.)
Saturday night I went to the new Ripley’s Aquarium in downtown Toronto. It was neat. Lots of funny and weird looking underwater creatures. Lots of information too. I learned a lot. Not sure how much I retained. I don’t remember the name of that pen feather looking thing that is actually a colony of upwards of 40,000 tiny polyps living together and it just so happens to always take the shape of big pen feather looking thing.
I saw sharks and manta rays and crabs and other fishy things. There was this big green turtle. I didn’t get his name. He wasn’t wearing a head band with eye holes. Nor was he equipped with any Japanese weapons.
Towards the end of the path through the aquarium, it gets pretty dark inside and the habitats are all for jellyfish. It was there, in this dark corridor, I heard somebody yelling. Okay, I heard yelling the whole time. But it had always been a child yelling “Mommy look at this! Daddy look at that!” You know, typical child-like behaviour at an exhibition that caters to families. Yet, in this dark corridor, I heard the word “gonads” being yelled. Not once mind you, several times. I’d like to say I brushed it off as something not directed to me but I had to find out who was yelling “gonads.”
A woman, definitely younger than me, by how much I’m not sure. Definitely old enough to be there without parental supervision. The voice was that of an adult or at the least, a late teen. It was too dark to get a look at her face. Also, her face was quickly obscured by some guy, dressed like a teen or early twenty-something, ramming his tongue down her throat.
I turned back to look at some jellyfish. I read some plaque about jellyfish gender identification. Apparently, a certain species of jellyfish is gender-identified by the colour of it’s gonads. Mystery solved. That woman must have read the same plaque which obviously spurred on a weird onset of tourette syndrome to which her boyfriend has a fetish for because as I left the room, her face was inside his face while his hand was up the backside of her skirt. Yup, that’s the sort of behaviour I expect to see while surrounded by families with small children.
Is that what young adults do these days for dates? They go to museums and zoos and the like, find a dark room filled with kids and try to reach second base. Young people these days, sheesh. It’s like they don’t know what movie theatres are for.
And yes, I took a good long look at this young couple mating. I’m at an exhibition of animal life and gosh darnit, I paid good money. I’m gonna see something eat something smaller or something breed or expel waste from it’s bowels. For twenty-eight bucks admission, I wanna see something.
Remember that episode of The Simpsons when Homer thinks Bart is gay? In that episode, the family goes to this store that sells weird candy and old-timey toys where they meet John the guy who “prefers the company of men.” (Who doesn’t?) Yesterday, I went to a store like that.
The young lady cashier said to me “Is that David Bowie?”
I don’t always like it when cashiers try to spark discussion with me. Sometimes I’m not in the mood. Sometimes I just want to buy a chocolate bar and be on my way. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m wearing a David Bowie t-shirt. “Uh, huh? Yes. It’s a David Bowie t-shirt.” I was wearing a David Bowie t-shirt. I wasn’t really sure what I was wearing that day. Just one of those wear-the-top-t-shirt-on-the-pile days. Yesterday my Bowie “Scotland 1973” t-shirt happened to be on the top of the pile and it just so happens that the image is a lesser-known Bowie likeness.
The cashier wanted to talk. “A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon for Bowie when he died.”
“Yeah, it happens.”
She started going on and on about Bowie stuff and telling me how she wants to watch Labyrinth again. I told not to. Bowie’s not a good actor.
What is to be done with dead people who have made their mark on the world? Should we start drooling all over them and grant them various meaningless platitudes like “icon” or “genius” or “innovative.” Why can’t we just say the same things we’ve always said. “He’s good. I like him. Oh, he died. Well, wait three days. If he doesn’t come back, he’s not the Messiah.”
When Bowie died, I didn’t run around telling people how great Bowie was. I’d been doing that for 30 freakin’ years and nobody listened. If I couldn’t prove it to you in all those years, I’m not going waste my time now that he’s dead.
I suggest not idolizing the dead. They’re dead. They’re not here to accept the praise. I say we praise the living while they live. Then when they die, say “That sucks. Shit happens. Oh well.”
By the way, this is in no way me crapping on Prince. It may be a bit of me crapping on all the Prince adoration that happened in the past four days. I like Prince. He’s made some amazing music over the years. He was one of those artists who often chose art over success and was heavily mocked for it but did it anyway. But now he’s dead. That sucks. Shit happens. Oh well.
Is it wrong that I love Boaty McBoatface?
I get it. It’s really stupid. But sometimes I needs me some stupid. I need some stupid that doesn’t affect me. That doesn’t involve me. That doesn’t get in my way. It just entertains me.
It sucks that I’m the same species as the people that would allow Boaty McBoatface to happen. But I need something to break up the monotony of the day’s horrible stuff. I need a break from polished turds and confidence men that make up Canadian politics. I need a break from the clusterfuck that makes up the American system of democracy. I need a break from explosions in Belgium. Hell, I need a break from Carmine bitching about diarrhea and his dislike of Jell-O. (By the way, you know there’s something seriously wrong with a person when they express their dislike of Jell-O. Everybody likes Jell-O.)
Boaty McBoatface allows me to smile. Sure: family, love, religion; these things should provide me with reasons to smile. But Boaty is just so stupid.
It all started on Thursday. The Juices were returning from a vacation. I had offered to pick them up from the airport. Due to Juice Box being a rather young fellow, he requires car rides in a baby seat. (In Ontario, penalty for driving a child without proper seating is two driver demerit points and a fine up to 1000 Canadollars.) The plan was drive to their house first, swap my car for Juicette’s car because that’s the one with the child seat then drive to the airport to pick them up.
Thursday was also Juicette’s birthday. Her new age, being a mathematically significant number in the decimal system that implies she is now passed over the top of a mound of earth, I got for her a package of individually wrapped dark chocolate squares in a quantity equal to her new age. It goes well with the gift Juice received from me earlier this year when he too turned that age. I got him a specific quantity of the French-Canadian Twinkie knock-offs, going so far as to open one box and remove some units to reach the precise number.
So, Thursday, I went to the Juice’s place, dropped off a birthday card and the gift on the kitchen table then grabbed the car keys. I took one look at the car and noticed a pancake where the right front tire used to be. I filled it with air then watched the tire return to pancake status.
I could have put the spare on but the spare is not designed for driving the distance from the Juice’s home, to the airport, then back again. To the mechanic then fix the tire, I didn’t have that much time. Swap the child seat out of their car and put in mine; if I knew how to do that, I would do it, but I’ve heard those child seats are a real pain the ass and it’s not like I know where Juice keeps the manual.
All while this is happening, the Juice’s are in the air, in a plane. Thus began the barrage of frantic text messages and phone calls including messages from Carmine to me because he’s bored (and on vacation in Italy). My text reply of “car trouble” only encouraged him to call and call again. I answered his call and said “Leave me alone. I’m too busy to do all this stuff and talk to you. It’s not like you can help me. You’re in Italy. So unless you have an idea as to what I should do, leave me alone.” He had no ideas and was still bored, but now worried, so he called his wife instead and annoyed her instead.
My eventual solution was to call Juicette’s brother who has a similar aged child, therefore, a child seat and he lives close to the airport. I asked if we could swap cars for a couple of hours. He stepped up and did me a solid and picked them up from the airport instead of me.
Friday was my mother’s birthday but she had dinner plans with a friend so I relaxed in the evening and planned her birthday festivities for Saturday. She wanted to go walk around a place like Unionville but not Unionville. (Unionville is one of those small town old-style downtown-type places in the middle of a sprawling city.) I chose Downtown Oakville because going into Toronto was a nightmare. The key into-the-city route, the Don Valley Parkway was shut down all weekend for Spring maintenance and the parallel subway route was also shut down for maintenance. I know you think that’s poor planning but in Toronto, we call that regular planning. What I didn’t know what that there was construction on another highway into the city at the same time. I’m glad I avoided the city because three routes into the city being shut down or reduced simultaneously is all kinds of brilliant.
Downtown Oakville was nice, I mean really nice. There’s all kinds of rich people in Oakville so there’s lots of nice stuff to walk around and see. Oh my God, we got some tarts and treats and such at this little pastry shop. They were delicious.
My mom had a really good time. Mission accomplished.
Sunday morning, I was to take my mother for brunch with the Juices. A double birthday thing so Juice could kill two birds with one stone. Juicette picked a place on Saturday and made reservations. Come Sunday morning, both her and Juice Box were under the weather with this nasty cold that’s been going around. (I’ve had it pretty much the whole month.) So when I got there with my mom, Juice was solo. It was better that way. I’m the only one who enjoyed the meal. My mom’s eggs were over-cooked both times.
After brunch, Juice told us to meet him at this pastry shop on the way back to his house. I thought the pastries on Saturday were good. These things were a work of art. Due to various allergies, I avoided the really beautiful pieces and just had a salami and cheese croissant. Probably the best meat and cheese stuffed croissant I’ve ever had. Just the right amount of cheese and salami ratio to croissant. Who could ask for more?
I had a meeting on a job site with the contractor that hired my firm. I was twenty minutes early so I filled the time by stopping at a nearby bakery and picking up a half dozen doughnuts.
During the meeting I offer the doughnuts. But the home owner was there, in uniform; he’s a police officer.
I swear it never once occurred to me until the contractor called me out for profiling and stereotyping.
I’m trying to plan a vacation.
I’d like to go back to central Florida, Disneyworld, Sarasota, St. Pete, stuff like that. It’s the tried tested and true vacation spot for me. Just the right amount of familiarity and always being able to find something new and different. But the Canadian dollar ain’t so hot right now. That usually a-bit-too-expensive-but-I-suck-it-up-and-pay-anyway vacation is now way too expensive.
What I need from a vacation right now is rest and relaxation. I’m probably going to find some sleepy town a few hours drive from Toronto and go there and sleep. Find a Holiday Inn or Best Western and just sleep. Cell phone off, blinds shut and just sleep; emerging only to eat.