The Garden City Refugee

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On the Road – Lipstick on a Pig, Blubber Pride, Train Etiquette and More

May 22, 2019

Highlights from another adventurous bus-train trek to and from the universe’s center:

1. Just before the bus departed Fairview Mall, a cab pulled up in front of a bus to let off a fatso who got out and waddled on board before taking a seat opposite me. She then dug out a mirror and proceeded to spend much of the drive to Burlington curling her eyelashes and applying copious amounts of mascara and eye shadow. Needless to say, I question the wisdom of sticking metal objects around your eyes while on the top deck of the bus that is weaving through construction zones and making violent stops and turns. But maybe that’s just me. And if she was so concerned about her appearance, she should stop working out at the Dairy Queen. The phrase, “putting lipstick on a pig” comes to mind.

2. With all the fatsos out and about, I still say fare should be calculated by weight.

3. I fail to understand why said fatsos seem so proud of their expanded girth and want to show it off.

4. While stuck in traffic on the QEW approaching the Burlington Skyway, I heard snoring behind me. Part of me was envious as I’ve never been able to sleep on a bus.

5. The former balance checker at the Burlington GO station has now been replaced by a self-serve reload machine. Now if only we could get one at Fairview Mall . . .

6. On the express train I had to Union, I noticed a distinct pattern as to how the quads fill up. The first person sits by the window, then the next one takes a seat opposite on the aisle. The third one takes the seat next to the first and finally, the last one squeezes in the only remaining seat. You won’t see that on any GO passenger charter, it’s something you’re just supposed to know.

7. The last one to take a seat in my quad took a phone call, answering with a terse, “What’s up?” before saying “Don’t worry about it” and hanging up. Short and to the point.

8. After leaving Clarkson, fare inspectors came into our car. Every single person paid, all but one with Presto, and from the sounds of the dings, there were only two seniors in the car. The fact that everyone paid was another strong and welcome reminder that this is not the Old Country.

9. In case you had any thoughts of driving to Toronto, I spotted a parking lot near Maple Leaf Square that charges $5 for every 15 minutes with a $30 maximum. Of course, that’s assuming you can even get a spot at all.

10. Or just let the law of natural selection run its course ...

11. I listened to the spiel of the OLG rep in Union Station promoting their new giant scratch-and-win game. One of the big prizes he mentioned was the chance to take 10 of your friends to the Raptors home opener next year. They could give me season tickets for life and I wouldn’t go.

12. Unlike my last trip, I had no trouble with the Presto fare gate at Union. The trick seems to be to hold your card down on the reader until it opens instead of giving it a gentle tap the way you do when you pay your fare with GO.

13. Spotted on the subway was an ad from the feds with the caption “Don’t use your home like an ATM” in which I presume the message was to avoid home equity loans. Who exactly is Justin Trudeau to lecture me on fiscal responsibility?

14. Dear TTC: When special announcements need to be made, it’s a good idea to play them on a sound system you didn’t get off the scrap heap. All I understood were the words “medical emergency” and “train.”

15. It’s not a bus stop, it’s a stop bus.

16. As opposed to dead power?

17. Spotted on Wellesley Avenue in Cabbagetown was a garbage-day dumpster diver who was going as far as to open up tied plastic bags in her quest for buried treasure.

18. Yes, there really is a Cat Mint Lane ...

19. All but one of the chickens I snapped many pictures of at Riverdale Farm was white. No doubt there’s a chicken diversity coordinator looking into it.

20. Surely Snoopy can’t be far behind ...

21. A scruffy-looking dude along Parliament Street fumbling with his coins was about to ask me to supplement his collection when he dropped two of them before he could get the chance. Needless to say, I didn’t hang around long enough to give him another opportunity.

22. I know I’m not gastronomically adventurous, but I wouldn’t recommend ordering the catch of the day.

23. The Old Country does keep following me around ...

24. Names like this are still allowed these days?

25. I’ve never thought of a real estate agent as a “pilot” before ...

26. Seated across from me in the Eaton Center food court was a woman with one hand on her fork and the other on her phone. Give it a rest!

27. Not that I would dare go there, but the Thai restaurant in Eaton Center seems even more popular than Tim Hortons.

28. If you’re in need of golf balls, there’s a bum lying on the sidewalk on Yonge Street who is selling some. I saw the prices, but not being a golfer, I have no idea if it’s a good deal or not.

29. Union Station always seems to be filled with people carrying bags from Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake. Prominent among them are those who need cheesecake the least.

29a. To Justin Trudeau, Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake is Chinese food.

30. The Falls-bound couple to my right on the return trip sure did like a certain four-letter word very common in the Old Country. Mixed in with all the profanity, I learned that the guy had three interviews when applying for a job at Gordon Food Service and the woman began to, like, question her realities after seeing a magician perform at Kelsey’s.

31. I had the same bus driver on the way in as I did on the return trip, and though he was keeping the speed down in the morning, there was nothing holding him back in the afternoon. On one occasion, he got into the far-left lane to pass a semi. When they say GO, they mean GO.

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