Posts tagged with "Toronto"

terminal velocity

The jour­ney lasts an hour, by turns mov­ing and bit­ter­sweet, a mix­tape with­out a name that’s pos­si­bly the most thought­ful col­lec­tion of music any­one has ever given to me. It’s the addic­tion I’ve been wait­ing for. Proof that I can still be under­stood when a feel­ing is shared if not a history.

Yet new songs on repeat don’t define this moment, cause I can’t tell when one moment ends and the next begins any­more. There’s no sense of per­ma­nence in any­thing. I don’t know whether to be scared or relieved to know that every­thing will inevitably change.

view of Mississauga, Ontario

Shawn thinks I’m plum­met­ing towards rock bot­tom cause I need to prove to myself that I can pull myself out. The idea was on the very tip of my con­scious­ness, and it’s get­ting harder to deny how right he is. I’ve always been a per­son who needs to explore the lim­its of the pos­si­ble. I just won­der whether I’ll sur­vive the fall.

the distances we travel, and yet how far we've still to sail

It’s all a bit of a blur now, espe­cially since we agree it feels like it’s been a year since my respon­si­bil­i­ties as a son and a cousin and a friend in Toronto. I do remem­ber try­ing to bal­ance the caf­feine — so I could be clear-headed and enjoy­ing myself — with the insom­nia that comes from hav­ing so much energy every night. Also, these acts of guer­rilla hap­pi­ness where mes­sages of hope were expressed through posters and spray paint. It would appear that van­dal­ism crosses over into art only in cities with a sky­line worth mentioning.

We ended up at the Ontario Science Centre twice, once as nerds and again as wed­ding guests, which worked out cause the only exhibit we didn’t get a chance to see one day ended up being the only exhibit open to us dur­ing the recep­tion. The high­light is always the plan­e­tar­ium though, in all it’s bean-bag, time-traveling glory, the expe­ri­ence itself worth the price of admis­sion. With the excep­tion of a poor fac­sim­ile of dragon’s beard candy, every­thing worked out.

Continue read­ing “the dis­tances we travel, and yet how far we’ve still to sail”…

I'm happy to report that my blood does clot

The best time of the year to make the drive to Darren’s house is in the Autumn. It’s about five hours door-to-door — bar­ring any traf­fic or con­struc­tion — so there’s a good chance I’ll catch a sun­rise or sun­set no mat­ter when I leave. It’s par­tic­u­larly beau­ti­ful when the leaves are chang­ing and the colours are at their rich­est along the stretches of the 401.

Sometimes I’ll turn on a stand-up com­edy sta­tion instead of music, and it helps take my mind off the drea­ri­ness of the less scenic parts1. It’s like hav­ing another per­son to talk to, except the con­ver­sa­tion goes one way, and they tend to be funny when not overly polit­i­cal2 or Andrew Dice Clay.

Chinese dishes

Zhaliang and clas­sic Cantonese noo­dles. #thingsIcouldeateveryday

I still think of mov­ing back to Toronto, where there’s every­thing that isn’t avail­able to me in Ottawa. But I hate all the things that come with such an unwieldy and poorly amal­ga­mated city. At my age, I value com­fort over excite­ment, and Toronto has become a city that’s bet­ter to visit than to stay.

After meet­ing Mike in London, I knew that’s where I was meant to live, with Bloc Party and Monty Python and The Underground and rainy weather and Portishead and a bil­lion accents and Only Fools and Horses and that stoic British men­tal­ity and Paris just a train ride away. But that wasn’t my fate, and the dirty streets of Toronto are the clos­est I’ll ever get to that.

Continue read­ing “I’m happy to report that my blood does clot”…

  1. Usually the small towns with no charm or per­son­al­ity. []
  2. Cause I never get it. []

moments between cities

The drive home is always eas­ier. Not because I’m leav­ing, but because it’s when I can catch my breath after some relent­less debauch­ery I excuse as being for a spe­cial occasion.

I’m at an age where my body will feel this over the next two days, spent recov­er­ing phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. Luckily, exhaus­tion numbs the senses, and makes the time pass quicker on those long stretches where dis­tance is mea­sured in hours.

driving at night sepia

Cousins, British humour, heart­break, shots, glut­tony, rum­ble strips, but never enough time.

The 401 is the kind of high­way that Springsteen used to write about on his heart­land folk albums, the only ones I ever liked. The songs were never about a road itself, but about all the lust and hate and change that hap­pened between two peo­ple when they trav­elled along that road.

In the same way, dri­ving the 401 has always been when I have a chance to find myself. It often leaves me feel­ing like a dif­fer­ent per­son when I get to where I’m going.

small world

The drive to Toronto is get­ting eas­ier. It’s my only chance to really lis­ten to albums nowa­days1, not to men­tion the com­fort of see­ing famil­iar towns on the way, like the names of sub­way stops you can’t help but mem­o­rize as a child on the way home from school. And in a way, so many years later, Toronto still feels like home. Getting there is a jour­ney, but the peo­ple always make it worth it.

My patience tends to wear out about a quar­ter way in, when it becomes hard to main­tain a rea­son­able speed. It’s a test of whether I can drive safely to see how far I’ve grown as a person.

I fail every time.

Toronto view

The view from Alex’s down­town apart­ment. You can eas­ily tell Yonge Street apart from how brightly it’s lit.

Continue read­ing “small world”…

  1. Editors in both direc­tions this time, cause any­thing I lis­ten to nowa­days is Antje rec­om­mended. []