The Garden City Refugee

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On the Road – Exotic Plants, Free Buns, Rainbow Tree Houses and More

March 19, 2024

Highlights and lowlights from yesterday’s trek to and from the universe’s center:

1. While waiting at Fairview Mall, not one, but two passengers paid cash for their tickets at the new fare machine. That’s two more than I’ve seen in the past year.

2. Seated behind me on the bus was a couple of guys jabbering away in Spanish. When one of them looked up at the board to see what the route’s last stop was, he called it “Doon-das & 407.”

3. Seated beside me on the train was a woman in her mid-50s who was marking up a paper textbook with a pen and highlighter. Talk about old school. I didn’t even know they printed textbooks on paper anymore.

4. Across the aisle was a black woman who kept hanging her head down between her knees for minutes at a time, then picking it up and leaning it against the window. This pattern was later interrupted by a phone call she took. Then as we got closer to Union, she left her backpack on the seat unattended and went down to the lower level to use the washroom. When she came back several minutes later, it was still there untouched. This is not Winnipeg.

4a. That story reminded me of a time when a “reporter” for state media in Winnipeg was sitting by the back door of a Winnipeg Transit bus and had the phone snatched from her hand by some dude on his way out.

5. There was only one DWAM™ on the bus and only one in my car on the train. The latter DWAM™, however, was visibly pregnant. As she most certainly had taken multiple death shots, I could only wonder what kind of future, if any, her baby has.

6. In the quad in front of me, an older guy was reading a paper copy of The Globe, Mail, Hammer & Sickle. One of the color ads featured the headline of Compassionate™ Justice, an obvious nod to our former mayor. Compassion™: Care plus action. And then there was a half-page ad from the province, another in a nauseating and utterly disgusting series of political ads from our premier who has no scruples about lifting cash from our pockets to promote his Liberal government.

7. See the entire Milky Way without even leaving Earth . . .

8. Not a place I patronized . . .

9. Welcome to Queen Street West . . .

10. Thanks for the heads-up . . .

11. For anyone who needs their professional Portuguese lady cleaned . . .

12. Personally, I prefer my exotic plants clothed . . .

13. Free buns . . .

14. I’ll try to keep that in mind . . .

15. Video walkthrough of a low-cost housing development near Spadina . . .

16. Seated next to me in the Eaton Center food court was a woman in her mid-60s with turquoise blue hair who was telling her companion how, like, wired up she was. Last Monday, she, like, went to a concert, and the next day, she, like, went to ServiceOntario to renew her health card.

17. Spotted in line at Tim Hortons was some young kid who worked at one of a the shawarma places elsewhere in the food court.

18. Finally, a store for fellow free thinkers . . .

19. A disturbing number of places in food courts in the Path between Eaton Center and Union were not accepting cash. With increasingly tough economic times and fewer people eating out, can they really afford to be so picky?

20. Seated nearby in Union Station was a group of Metrolinx staffers moaning and groaning about how so much of their job involves just sitting around. Well, isn’t all that layover time what your union negotiates for?

21. The propaganda board inside the York concourse was showing a headline about a sham election in Russia, yet I doubt they said anything about the sham elections in the U.S. and Canada.

22. Also in the York concourse, some dude wearing lipstick and high heels walked in with a bike and left it unlocked and unattended while he went into the washroom. When he came back outside several minutes later, it was still there. Once again, this is not Winnipeg.

23. Trains can’t think. We can, but so many choose not to.

24. Facing the tracks near the Port Credit station was a tree house painted in rainbow colors.

25. Disembarking at Burlington was an older couple with luggage in tow and the guy hauling most of it down the stairs was wearing a Chipman cap. After wandering around the terminal like the wide-eyed tourists they obviously were, Chipman Guy approached a seated paramedic who was munching on some peanuts and asked him where they could catch a cab.

26. Inside the garbage can in the washroom at the Burlington GO station was a crushed can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Hardly surprising given the clientele inside the terminal these days.

27. Seated inside the terminal was a haggard old woman munching on chicken legs who wiped her hands on some toilet paper she tore off the roll that she dug out of her bag.

28. Boarding at Fairview Street and Maple Avenue was a chubby woman in her mid-30s pushing a stroller who had the hair on the right side of her head dyed forest green.

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