Tuesday, 5 November 2013

TORONTO - Where Good Dogs Don't Smoke Crack

What can I say about a city with a Crackhead mayor who fancies himself a philosopher, saying  "It is what it is".  Oh please.  I think that it is pretty fair to just say, as we did back in the day, "Liar Liar Pants on Fire".. I have not lived in Toronto for many years.  I miss the city, but not this week.   You have to laugh or you will cry. Any late night TV show will make you do both.  It is so embarrassing, yet in some way comical.  Toronto is having its 15 minutes.

Ya I am!
In addition to the Big Fat Liar shenanigans, Toronto has changed dramatically in so many ways, since I was living the life in the 1980's.  I had big hair and shoulder pads.  Mom jeans were in style and I rocked them. I listened to the Talking Heads.  My recent trip to Toronto made me realize just how old and "small town" I have become. I like to think of myself as a young hipster with my finger on the beat of the here and now.  I like to know what is happening.  I am a cool mom.  I want the 411.   I am a big city girl, living in small town Canada.

Ok, I am 50ish and I accept that..  I left Toronto and raised 3 kids in Orangeville.  We  have a dog and a cat as well that we acquired "for the kids".  I have been seen driving around in a minivan for the better part of 20 years.  Now the 3 small town bumpkins high- tailed it to the big city as soon as they could.  They have entrusted us with their pets.  How touching We visit the 3 of them  often,  moving from east to west. Bridget lives with 2 other students in an exorbitantly priced apartment. It has a dishwasher.  Her rent is less as she lives in a closet. Kevin lives right at Dundas Square and his place is more simple. He doesn't need a dishwasher as he only has 1 fork (true, sadly). His rent is fair as the building caters to students.  Kate has
Dinner out on our Credit Card.
moved up in the world now being on the west side of Yonge. She just moved to a "studio" apartment where her bed is her main piece of living room furniture.  She is just like Mary Tyler Moore.  Kate's cat is confused and keeps searching for her bedroom.  These kids could throw a baseball to each other, but they' don't .  They do however , get together on occasion for a meal and they know that if they send me a photo, I will pay for their dinner.  Does this sound sad?

Back in the Day
I recently visited Toronto with my sister Karen to go to a play with our mother Pierrette.  We went to see I Love Lucy. As frugal Theatre-goers, we jumped on the subway to make our way downtown.  I would need to do a "whole lot of splaining" to my kids to let them know just how much the TTC has changed.  They are sleek and there is no longer any faux leather. There is established etiquette.  There are indicators informing about the time until the next train.  The subway map lights up and I can't even start describe the new arms.  You can see easily which subway station is next.  I was looking for a Purell dispenser to make the trip perfect.  No longer do you wait on the platform with only the knowledge of the direction you wish to travel and this included only north, south, east and west. If you didn't know where Finch was, you were lost.   The arrival time of the next train was a complete mystery.  Without the whistles how does everyone know that the doors are closing?

McLevin the Ice Breaker
Now the big change I saw twice that night is the new flirting technique.  Pets on the subway.  On our way downtown, a fellow walked on with a cat with, what looked like, a service uniform.  A seeing-eye cat.  On closer inspection, it appeared to be, instead, a hoodie.  The brilliant owner was chatting up a young girl using the ultimate ice breaking cat.  On our way home, on strolls a lovely but huge dog.  Again, I checked for a service harness of some sort, but nope.  Just a dog on its way somewhere really important.  Again the ice breaking is happening among the passengers.  I think it is really brilliant and much easier and more acceptable than borrowing someone's  baby.

Non-Service Dogs ride free too

Now as mentioned, we have a cat and a dog.  Our cat has made her way to Toronto with Bridget last year when Bridget was concerned that she might be lonely while Derek and I were away.  Mai was whisked to Toronto by planes, trains and automobiles in a knock off Louis Vuitton cat carry case.  It was very stressful, for both of them and upon arrival in Bridget's dorm, Mai  lost it.  Her visit lasted a little over a week, with Kevin stepping up to care for the cat as things were not too pretty in residence.  Bridget is still beholden to her brother and I expect always will be.

Mai, just prior to her launch on to Myles head.
Kate's cat is named Myles Davis.  He is a large grey cat with a pleasant demeanor.  He lives a simple life in a studio apartment with my daughter, the spinster cat lady.  Myles paid us a visit this weekend.  He arrived in what looked like a Coach Cat Carrier for a Pajama Party.  He was bullied and terrorized by our cat, Mai, for the entire weekend.  I now know the true meaning behind the expression, Cat Fight.  This was nothing compared to 4 sisters at 314 Mill St, but it was some serious nastiness on the host cat's part.  I think Myles was happy to get back to his Deluxe Penthouse in the Sky.

This business of travelling pets is new to me.  We didn't have pets growing up, so I was unaware that pets had anywhere they really had to go.  Our dear friend needed to transport a rabbit by train from Brockville.  I expect there are some sort of "no rodent" restrictions on Via Rail and if not, having the Easter Bunny hopping a pooping all over the railcar may make the trip stressful for Mary.  With amazing ingenuity, this rabbit was bundled up in a travel box and then wrapped up as a large birthday gift.  You have to love that idea.

Kate, Cat Carrier and Casey on their way to the Big City
Now our dog Casey has her snout out of joint.  She has never been on the subway.  She has never been on a train.  She hasn't even been on a bus.  This week that all might change.  She has gone to Toronto for her downtown adventure with Bridget.  We dropped her off and she has taken the change well so far.  Bridget plans to take her on a streetcar, just so Casey can tell the smug cat that she has experienced true Toronto life.  I hope that Bridget uses this pup to break the ice and snag herself a man.  God forbid she ends up like Spinster Kate.

I have enjoyed several trips to Toronto this year.  I love the updates to the TTC.  I embrace the animals roaming the street.  I treasure the visits with our children.  I used to worry about them in the big city, but now that Mayor Ford has agreed that Drunken Stupors will not longer take place on the Danforth, I can sleep easy.

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