03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004
All this happened last Friday night but I haven't had a chance to sit down for a while and properly type it out until now. It's a long string.
So I hit the sketch comedy show with Neil, Aaron and Karen. The show gets started around 11:20. It's a hoot. It's about 1:00 a.m. by the time we're getting out of there. Neil's really keen on going to Ein-Stein (surprise, surprise). I'm hungry, grab a sausage on the way up for $1.50. Nice piece of observed conversation - raven-haired woman walking with three guys, "Damn, I could sure go for a line of coke right now!". Walking up Spadina there's another young woman who's feeling out of sorts and hurls a beer bottle at a wall seconds before turning back and asking if any of us have a light. No luck.
We get to Ein-Stein at like, 1:15. The whole joint is stinking of booze and death as things wind down. Aaron and Karen drink a wee bit and stay not too long. Neil asks if I want to play pool with him. "Neil, I thought you'd never ask". We play and I win. We've had slightly more than a pint each when we head out after last call at about 2:10 a.m.
We walk over to Ossington to get the bus, but it's not coming for another 1/2 hr. So we head over to Bloor and Dufferin where Neil knows we can get a bus at 2:41. We're barely gonna make it. We actually run to get to the stop on time.
No bus is there, but there are about 16 people waiting. Mostly they are young Latinos. The bus still doesn't come after five minutes of waiting. A taxi cab pulls up to the intersection and an old Caucasian guy with a white mustache gets out. He's yelling at the cabbie. A young guy waiting for the bus starts chucking pennies at the old man. The cabbie starts to leave and the old man opens up the door again and shouts something at the cabbie about getting his cane back. The cabbie tries to go again and the old guy stops him. Finally another man gets in the cab and the old man yells at him.
The old man turns around to the crowd and slurs at the young guy who was throwing pennies at him. I now get a good look at the old man and his disabilities t-shirt and matching hat.
"You think I'm a fucking joke? You think it's a joke?!" The young guy just smiles, but his drunk, thugged out friend is scowling, "Shut the fuck up, you motherfucker." He calmly tells the old man. "I am not a fuck, and I am not a mother fuck!" The old man now turns his ire against everyone waiting for the bus, admonishing us all. He then starts picking fights with specific individuals without any provocation. After being threatened, one man mutters to the old man he'll get fucked up. "Come on! Fuck me up. Fuck me here! Fuck me!". It's somewhat funny, watching this old man whose level of madness or drunkeness cannot be quite determined, picking fights with everybody, but it's quite scary. At any moment there is the feeling that something terrible and violent could happen quite quickly. The bus is about 15 minutes late. Things come to a peak when he starts yelling at these guys beside Neil and I. The old man threatens one more word from them and he'll, "Go Bruce Lee on your ass!" he strikes a pose. Everyone waiting for the bus cracks up. The tension is gone. This is Toronto, after all.
The bus finally gets there. A young Black woman and a middle aged man get off. The middle aged man says loudly before getting off "This driver is a Goddamn asshole." The girl shouts out, "I know a pussy when I see one!". Apparently this bus has a story of its own. Neil and I go stand by the back doors. The Latino guys who got on with us shout up at the driver to "Let Bruce Lee in!" There's another young, drunk group at the back who got on before us, shouting insults and cusses at the driver before we've even got to the first stop. They ring the bell, he doesn't stop, he gets on the speaker and tells them to stop ringing the bell for no reason. There's this Caucasian guy sitting near us in his late 20's, peacoat and striped scarf. He looks like your nice T.A. and he seems pretty drunk. Neil asks him what the story is here. Why is everyone against the driver? He happily tells us the story. At Queen and Dufferin this flaming gay guy got on with his female friend. He inflated a blow-up sex doll and started playing around with it. Apparently this guy was a riot and the whole back of the bus was cracking up with him. The driver got on the speaker and told him to deflate the doll. He did so immediately. The bus driver stopped at the next set of lights and called the police. Everyone had to wait for 15 minutes for the cops to show up, drag the guy and his friend off the bus and question them. That's why our bus was 15 minutes late.
I get off the bus at St. Clair and start waiting for the bus. There's only a couple people around. Beside me is a thugged out guy with corn-rows. About twenty feet away there are a couple of guys about 30ish, one has his arm around a girl. The thugged out guy starts talking to me right away. Small talk. Am I waiting for the bus? Yeh. Where you been? Out. The guys in their 30's leave and I'm alone with this guy. It's 3:10 a.m. I'm concerned this guy may have ulterior intentions. I've heard the old, "gotta light?" chat before. The bus comes seconds later. Okay. I get on and head to the single seat by the back door. The guy with the cornrows comes to the back of the bus and sits right adjacent to me. He starts talking to me again. I get a good look at him in the bus light. He's wearing a Timberland sweatsuit, he's got a gold tooth and a gap in the front. His eyes are red.
"You notice how I started talking to you right away?"
"Those guys? You see those guys? They were runnin' a jux on everybody who came by."
"Oh yeh, they were robbing people?"
"Yeh! Everybody who came by. They tried to jux me. I saw you and I didn't want them to jux you, that's why I started talking to you right away."
"Yeh." I'm skeptical. I protected you. I'm your friend - this really sounds like a line.
"You see the girl who was there? (pause) You see the girl they were with?"
"You see the way the guy had his arm around her? See, you gotta notice that shit. They ain't come with her. They got her there and took her away."
Oh, this sounds like bullshit to me. I'm thinking of what I can do now to minimize the effects of being robbed if he follows me out. Try to make eye contact with the driver as I get out, maybe say something to him if I can.
"I was trying to stop them from doing anything to you. That's why I talked to you right away. You ain't with the gangs, I like that."
"Don't get messed up in that shit. I hate that shit. I got a brother doing five years right now."
He stands up and moves to the door. The whole thing turns around in my head. He never wanted to rob me. Maybe all the shit he said was true, then. Maybe even the girl. He pushes the bars to leave the bus.
"Peace." That was goofy of me.
other than that I baked cornmeal muffins and wrote an essay.
Poor The Internet, I know that I have neglected you recently but fear not, I won't abandon you like some red-headed stepchild. We shall grow old together. We shall fondly remember the good ol' days, before we were put out to pasture by smaller, faster and shinier models.
Life is exhausting. For the past few weeks I have worked 55-60 hours, just on weekdays. As of friday the storeis now on extended holiday hours, that means the days will be even longer.
A package arrived this week from Student Partnerships Overseas containing more detailedd information about my placement in South Africa. Its arrival made me realize the proximity of my departure. In two weeks I have an appointment at a travel clinic to start getting my immunizations agaist any diseas I may be exposed to in Africa. I wish I wasn't such a wimp for needles. I'm supposed to be flyng to London to rendez-vous with the other South Africa-bound international volunteers on January 12, so I am flying out a couple days early to spend some time on my own in London. I've found cheap flights from Zoom Airlines for $199. Any suggestions where I could find cheaper flights?
My last day of nanny duty is also coming up in two weeks. That's pretty exciting because I'm running out of patience, I'll miss the very good income though.
SWEET VALLEY HIGH! I don't even KNOW how I made a post without reference to the ongoing National Unity Debate that has been a topic of much discussion in the last few months.
You may be thinking to yourself "But wait Alex! Didn't we permanently resolve the National Unity Debate after the 1995 Quebec Referendum?". That's what mot of the country thought. Quebec soveriegnty has been a non-issue for most of the past ten years and no one seemed inclined to re-open those old, divisive wounds...until this fall. Here's a summary of the recent events as I understand them:
-Quebec wing of federal Liberal party passed a motion calling on the party to recognize Quebec as a nation.
-Liberal leadership candidates were divided on how to approach the subject. Some were strongly in favour of recognizing Quebec as a nation, others flatly rejected the idea, others simply hemmed, hawed and gave no answer at all.
-PM Harper introduced a motionin the House of Commons to recognize that the "Quebecois form a nation within a united Canada".
-Today that resolution passed by a vote of 266-16. Tory cabinet minister, Michael Chong, resigned his position and said that the resolution embraced "enthic nationalism"
I'm still not sure how I feel about this yet. I kind of agree with Mr. Chong, that identifying one ethnicity as a 'nation' is a dangerous slope in the direction of the Balkan civil war. Will other groups in Canada decide that they deserve to be recognize as 'nations'? Will there be officially recognized Acadian, Irish, Scottish and Chinese 'nations'? What are the social/legal/political/linguistic ramifications of recognizing the Quebecois nation? Did Harper do any research before me made this potentially dramatic proclamation?