Tuesday, May 31, 2005

the better way

Waited a few minutes for the streetcar at Dundas Station tonight. Not unusual - after rush-hour, those cars seem to show up whenever they darn well feel like it. One of my favourite songs is playing on my iPod, the weather is nice - no biggie tonight, the waiting. When the car finally slithers in, I'm one of the first people on - just in time to watch crazy man #1 get on behind me. He's gotta be in his mid-late 50s, balding, what hair he has remaining is slicked-back, Homer Simpson three-strand-style. He's wearing tight faded jeans that haven't seen the inside of a washing machine since their first 'stonewash', a silk shirt (hang on, ladies) undone to mid-stomach, several random chains, large beat-up leather bomber jacket on top of it all. He's carrying a hardshell guitar case and a bag from McDonald's and has a dog (named Roxy, as we were all soon to learn) with a leash trailing him (the dog is attached to the leash, but the leash is not attached to CM#1). As soon as he gets on the streetcar, he starts talking (to Roxy, maybe?) about how he's going to 'jam', doesn't want any quarters or 'hasslin', just wants to 'jam'. Man. As he makes his way to the back of the streetcar, the driver (aka Crazy Man #2) stands up at the front of the car and YELLS to my motley fellow passengers and I "This car is leaving in THREE minutes" and stomps off the car. Ooooo-kaaaay. Obviously someone is having a rough night. I take my iPod headphones off, because it looks like CM#1 is getting ready to perform at the back, and this (I suspect) will be too good to miss.

Sure enough, CM#1 seems to be in fine form. First, he just sort of bangs around back there, getting settled, opening his guitar case, closing it, pulling out a Big Mac and eating it Mastodon-style (we're talking MAX three bites), frequently calling shit out to Roxy who is cruisin' the rest of the car, gettin' to know us, peeing on the exit door pole, that sort of thing (seriously). He finally gets Roxy back to his seat, when CM#2 returns to take us all home. CM#2 starts the streetcar with much honking of horn and ringing of bell - presumably to warn Roncesvalles in general that we are en route. As soon as the car starts to move, he goes on the mic and says "those of you standing had better find something to grab on to because I ain't slowing down for no corners".

And we're off. CM#2 wasn't kidding - I'm holding on for dear life, and trying to help the poor girl beside me who is juggling bicycle and book bag and groceries as we zoom toward home. Around this time, CM#1 starts to 'jam'. Apparently 'jam' = wigged out improvised blues/country sort of wailing, with lots of "Roxy!"'s interspersed. Because of the erratic streetcar, poor CM#1 is really sort of flailing about at the back - legs are flyin', elbows akimbo, crouched over, sitting straight, one leg up, guitar neck all over the place. More interpretive dance than music performance, really. Maybe he went to York, they're big on interdisciplinary arts there. Anyway, then Roxy jumps up in his lap, and inspires a disgruntled sort of blues chorus of 'damn bitches always want attention'.

MEANWHILE, CM#2 is doing the strange streeetcar driver-cum-tourguide routine that they occasionally pull. You know, OVER solicitous. Verging on outright sarcasm. A girl gets on, says thank you when he gives her a transfer, he's all "No, thank YOU." He's calling out all the stops, telling us completely unsolicited things like "Dundas St - connection to College streetcar via Dundas, College and Carlaw". I mean, as if everyone on the car is a tourist instead of tired people taking the same streetcar they take EVERY DAY.

At about this point, CM#1 has had enough of the streetcar/rollercoaster ride and starts to heckle CM#2 from the back of the bus. "Hey man, what's the rush? This your first shift? You trying to kill us all or something'?" Sarcastic CM#2 replies "I'm just trying to get home to my dog, he's been alone for 12 hours." Then starts to rant about how CM#1 is a "juicy fruit" and how everyone who rides the streetcar is an unappreciative bastard, and how we complain when he's late and then have the nerve to complain he's driving too fast, etc. etc.

Ah, the symphony of disgruntled ttc employee and crazy guitar-playing man. It played all the way to Queen Street, where CM#1 got off the car, loudly complaining (still to Roxy) about the "asshole driver", and the driver is giving it right back to him saying "Oh Yeah? Don't forget your dog, man. Man's best friend. Obviously YOUR best friend." etc.

Thankfully, only one more stomach-twisting corner and I was able to pull the bell, share a final smile/raised-eyebrows with my fellow 'normal' passengers, silently wish them luck for the rest of their journey - and escape.

Friday, May 27, 2005

a case of me

Alright, I admit it. I recently ended yet another brief, disappointing romance. Recently as in two days ago. Didn't want to spend long in the gloomies - this one was most definitely not for me.

Anyway - I was definitely disappointed. We are, after all, talking about a shockingly pathetic run of luck here. I wallowed for a bit. With chocolate chip cookie dough (thanks MaFr), Joni Mitchell's Blue album and CSI. But then I somehow, and very suddenly, reached a wonderful zen sort of place. Dating! Who effing needs it?! I am going to embrace my life and all the exciting things that are going on, and just buckle down, enjoy the summer, spend time with my excellent friends as much as I can and work on loving my fellow man in general. No more online dating, no more crush-of-the-day, no more THINKING about it.

Thus resolved, I embarked upon the day. Today. Things started very well. Good hair. Had Pho for lunch, made plans for a possible trip to Cuba in July (!), left work early for a co-worker-farewell patio party, left around 7:15 to stop in at Ring music, picked out the guitar I'm going to buy on Friday, turns out I went to Malaspina with the guy who was working there (who knew?), then had one of those wonderful walks over to Bathurst Station where every song that plays on shuffle is better than the last, and people are smiling, and there are cute dogs...and then I get to the subway station, pay my token, head down the stairs beside the escalator (you know the ones) - only to have a man who is lining up at the bottom of the escalator to go up lean over into my path so that I have to jerk back in surprise, in order to say, directly to my shocked face 'I want to fuck you.'

On any other day I most likely would have laughed it off. You have to admit it is sort of funny - this perfectly normal-looking balding man in a miami-vice-style t-shirt/suit combo accosting me in this way. But I guess my new-found love for life and the city and my place in it was a little more fragile than I thought, because here I am, back to Joni Mitchell, cookie dough and CSI.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

be excellent to each other

Alright, I have recently (and by recently I mean within the last year) acquired a camera phone. I didn't ask for it. Thankfully I didn't pay for it - apparently the nice (and by nice I mean...well, you can guess what I mean) people at Rogers think of me as a 'valued customer' and decided to give it to me, gratis. I'm not complaining. It's cute, and stuff. But only recently have I discovered the potential of having a pocket-sized camera (albeit a camera of shitty quality) kicking around just about every time I'm out in public. There is crazy shit out there! And I'm the one to capture it all on film. Well, not all the time. Sometimes people give you really weird looks when you pull your phone out, turn it sideways and hold it a couple of feet away from your face. Not that I, erm, know from experience or anything. Ahem.

I apologize for being away for so long - but there were just so many exciting things going on in town. Sandra Bullock endorsing my favourite band? This was just too good to be true. And not only that - important neighbourhood events, not-to-be-missed community theatre performances and...shopping? If this crazy schedule keeps up, I'm going to have to move to a part of town wear nobody noes me or something...

(I know it's contrived. Just look at the g.d. pictures.)

Thursday, May 05, 2005


I just ate a fortune cookie.
The fortune reads: "A lady called luck is watching you".

Is it just me, or is that more than a little creepy?