Posts tagged with "Toronto"

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. []

short exile on a long weekend

When you no longer work in an office, some­times you don’t find out it’s a long week­end until the Friday of. My friends have also replaced their rit­u­al bar­be­cues with babies and play dates, so no invi­ta­tions were sent out that may have noti­fied me of the holiday.

Toronto Lake Shore

A qui­et moment among vol­ley­ball tour­na­ments and beach goers in a calm area of the Lake Shore.

I want­ed to get away cause I’ve been dread­ing any time alone. Loneliness hits me hard­est when I’m sit­ting at home won­der­ing what every­one else is doing. A road trip to Toronto was the best way I could avoid that. Unfortunately, the only peo­ple I can drop in on with such short notice hap­pen to be five hun­dred kilo­me­tres away.

The truth is I nev­er watch sun­sets any­more. I’m usu­al­ly too caught up in my projects cause I’m wor­ried about being left with noth­ing but the thoughts I’ve try­ing to put in the back of my head. That’s why I don’t mind the five-hour dri­ve at this time of year; it gives me an excuse to see what I nev­er make time to do. When I leave at a quar­ter to sev­en, I hit the rich­est1 part of the sun­set halfway through the 401. For a glo­ri­ous stretch, there’s noth­ing con­crete curves and crim­son colours bleed­ing through the trees.

CN Tower sushi

The “CN Tower” sushi plat­ter, with tem­pu­ra obser­va­tion deck.

All I want­ed was a quite time with the right com­pa­ny, no heavy plans or per­son­al­i­ties. I’d be kick­ing myself for all the shots I missed cause I was too com­fort­able to pull out my cam­era, but I know that’s what those moments are about.

To lose your­self in the haze and sum­mer heat final­ly upon us is to live like a child again with­out a wor­ry or thought of any­thing beyond the next five min­utes. Regression is embrac­ing the itchy sweat break­ing out on your face, as your fin­ger­tips mash the ice into slush in a white cream soda freezie.

grocery store

Feeling lit, feel­ing light,
2 a.m., sum­mer night.

I’m always fight­ing exhaus­tion on these trips cause I don’t get enough sleep. There’s too much to do. It’s a test of con­sti­tu­tion to be dri­ving in the dark­ness and city lights, won­der­ing if I’m too tired to be dri­ving, let alone nav­i­gat­ing the infu­ri­at­ing con­struc­tion and traf­fic of down­town Toronto. When I sur­vive anoth­er day, it’s a reminder that not every­thing has to be per­fect, that the world still turns no mat­ter the state of my heart or mind.

Over a par­tic­u­lar­ly heavy blend, I was asked what it would take for me to go all out, to say fuck it and lose con­trol. It made me real­ize I’m already there, sid­ing with indul­gence over mod­er­a­tion, try­ing to break myself down so I can rebuild myself again. That’s why I always lose myself on those warm sum­mer nights, when I tell myself I’ll be in bed by 10 every night, but the com­pa­ny keeps me up till 3.

cat and human

Dexter is now too fat and lazy to fight off my cud­dly advances.

I have such a mixed past with Toronto. It was such a chaot­ic time in my life when I lived there. I was crip­pling­ly unde­vel­oped, but that also meant I still had the inno­cence none of us ever return to once we hit adult­hood. Much like those mem­o­ries, this city will always be a part of me.

Now I’m back in Ottawa, returned to the lit­tle things that make it home like a famil­iar pil­low and a cat’s par­tic­u­lar purr. In my case, the exile is always self-imposed, a con­trolled escape, and I always won­der if any­one would care or miss me if I nev­er came back.

  1. The time when it just starts to get dark, a bal­ance between the rich colours and bril­liance of light, since they both com­pose. []

gotta go on

This is my cur­rent anthem. T-Dot represent.

Sometimes I won­der if I only love Toronto because of the peo­ple. There are always things to do and friends to vis­it, and it feels like my home­town. I hate the dri­ving, I hate all the cops down­town, I hate the fact that it takes me at least half an hour to get any­where, but I always look for­ward to going back.

baby sun conure

Baby sun conure. This lit­tle guy was just start­ing to grow feath­ers, and kept in an incubator.

The iso­la­tion was nice, but it got to the point where ____ would say he was proud of me just for hav­ing lunch with some­one. Now I find myself going out more and more and it’s a refresh­ing change of pace. Not that I felt like I was uncom­fort­able being home alone; more like the urge to be out over­took me, even if that meant I was still alone among others.

I won­der if my her­mitage was just an extend­ed stretch of time I need­ed to recharge after my trip to Europe. Or maybe it was know­ing that the next stretch of time until the sum­mer was going to be busy.

This time it doesn’t feel like a tran­si­tion peri­od, because I know it won’t last. I’ll even­tu­al­ly go back to extend­ed time alone, and I’ll for­ev­er be in the flux of socia­bil­i­ty and soli­tude, win­ter and sum­mer. The only thing that’s con­stant is hap­pi­ness. Sure, there are flash­es of mis­for­tune, but they’re fleet­ing, con­tained, and just a part of day-to-day life, noth­ing out of the ordi­nary. Maybe this is why I’ve been find­ing it hard to write. I’ve always been fueled by suf­fer­ing in some way or anoth­er, but all that’s left now is this contentment.

See You In Toronto

Street

I’m so glad that Toronto remains a place where I can go to get away. There are places to stay, an end­less cycle of friends or acquain­tances to vis­it, and some­one else takes the wheel and drives.

It’s amaz­ing to see how much Toronto has changed. How cer­tain streets down­town have turned into trendy, expen­sive shop­ping dis­tricts, a Canadian ver­sion of Rodeo Drive, and a far cry from the run-down roads I would vis­it every lunch in high school by rollerblade and sub­way to buy Magic cards and Warhammer figures.

MindBender loves you

After Bill Clinton’s speech at the CNE, there was a brief ques­tion and answer peri­od. The host asked him, “What do you like most about Toronto?”, adding that Torontonians seem to have a sort of self-dep­re­cat­ing humour1. After mak­ing a diplo­mat­ic com­ment on the Aboriginal art as being his favourite thing, Clinton said, “You folks can make fun of your­self, but peo­ple would kill to live a soci­ety like this. You should be very proud.” I had to agree.

Dim sum

Before leav­ing, I had dim sum with my dad, and we caught up on each oth­ers lives a lit­tle bit. He sound­ed pret­ty hap­py when I called to ask him if he want­ed to go.

I bought a pair of wind­shield wipers but didn’t replace them, bring­ing them with me to his house instead, hop­ing he could show me how to install them. I could just as eas­i­ly have read the car man­u­al, but I want­ed some­thing to share with him. Maybe now I can catch up on these father-son things that I seemed to have missed in my childhood.

  1. I sup­pose you have to, with how well the Leafs have been doing in recent years. []

Going Home

Bike in snow

I’m going home today. It’s been a great trip. Just one more stop for lunch with an old boss before I make the dri­ve back to Ottawa.

Cracking pole

I miss sleep­ing in my own bed. It’s been a dif­fer­ent bed almost every night. But the trip was also filled with good peo­ple. People who are tru­ly touch­ing. And cats.

Bike in snow

I’m not feel­ing as over­stim­u­lat­ed as I expect­ed. Maybe I’ve been too busy for it to sink in.

I’ll be leav­ing in the ear­ly after­noon to catch the sun­set in the 250km stretch along the 401.