23 Feb

On the Road – Wild Driver, No-Peeing Zones, Chicken Fur and More

Observations from an interesting day on the road to, from and in the universe’s center:

1. To my surprise, there was quite a bit of traffic out and about when I left the house at 6:30, and much of that traffic was drawn to Tim Hortons like a magnet as the line at the drive-thru was around the block. Sights like that again make me wonder if Tim Hortons has some sort of monopoly on coffee.

2. Speaking of coffee, someone left theirs at the bus stop at Fairview Mall:

3. GO Transit has a new message on their buses asking passengers to report any incidents of harassment to their Transit Safety office. Back in the Old Country, it is more noteworthy when a passenger isn’t harassed.

4. Near Grimsby, our bus passed a big rig from Geronimo Trucking. I wonder if they have an office near the Burgoyne Bridge. Bad joke, I know.

5. GO drivers generally move along at a pretty good clip, but the driver I had in the morning definitely put the “go” in GO, passing semis left and right while keeping one hand on the wheel and chewing on the fingernails of his other hand. Then at Grimsby, when he had a few minutes of layover time, he got out and seemed a little too peppy as he was walking around the platform. All in all, it was one of those “kiss the ground” moments when I got off after he pulled up to the Burlington GO station 12 minutes early despite leaving Fairview a few minutes late.

6. Turning off onto Barton Street was someone with the vanity plate “ARGOSFAN” and two Argos stickers on the back of his car. They can’t draw flies to their games, but I knew there had to be at least one fan out there.

7. The last person to board at Nash and Barton asked for and paid for a ticket to the Burlington GO station. Then after looking at her ticket, she turned around and went back to the driver in a huff. “This just says Burlington GO!”, she exclaimed before telling him she needed to take the train. Dumbfounded, the driver asked, “How was I supposed to know?” After continuing to berate the driver for not being able to read her mind, she eventually calmed down and got the ticket for her ultimate destination. No doubt, she was from St. Catharines, the “You’re just supposed to know” city.

8. When she took her seat two rows behind me, the overpowering stench of her perfume mixed with B.O. filled the lower level. Luckily, it was only a short ride to Burlington from there and traffic was moving well. Maybe that also provided a partial explanation as to why the driver was in the far left lane on the Burlington Skyway racing with a fuel truck.

9. At the Burlington GO station, it was still refreshing to see a lineup at the hand dryer.

10. While waiting to go out on the platform, someone stormed into the station and without bothering to look up at the board staring her in the face or go to the counter where they sell tickets, she made a beeline for the person standing nearest to the door and shouted, “How do you get to Toronto from here!?”

11. In this “extreme cold,” people dress at opposite extremes to cope with the bitter -3 temperature. On one hand, I saw a few people with thick fur-lined boots. On the other was a hotshot on the platform at Burlington with bare legs and a skirt barely extending past her genitals. I and everyone else in my car then spent the entire ride to Union listening to her conversation. “This is a turning point . . . There’s going to be some push back from Natasha . . . Shall we do this in Toronto or New York . . . There’s something not right there,” she said before talking about the disconnect and tension in the office and scheduling a call with the four of them to hash it out in Joseph’s office. This was someone whose sense of self-importance was a little over the top.

12. The platform at Mimico. Somewhere under all that salt, I suspect there’s concrete.

13. It normally isn’t this bad, but there was an awful lot of assorted garbage strewn all over the trains and buses I was on.

14. Tucked away under the three-seater at the end of the car was a compartment labeled “Emergency Tools” with a saw, a foldable ladder and other assorted tools. For readers from the Old Country, can you imagine such a thing on a Winnipeg Transit bus? Not only would they be stolen, but they would also be used as weapons against other passengers.

15. Because of some issues with the locomotive that caused the 14-minute delay with the train, many announcements were made that the train would be running express from Appleby to Mimico, then on to Union without stopping at Exhibition and that anyone needing a destination in between should detrain at either Appleby or Mimico. One highfalutin 20-something apparently wasn’t paying attention and a minute after leaving Mimico, clacked her high heels through our car, just to let us know how important she was, and went to stand right by the door to make sure she was the first one to get off at Exhibition. Except that the train didn’t stop at Exhibition, causing her to utter a nasty word as the train sped on. Then when getting off at Union, she stopped in front of the door to the staircase leading down to the station as if it was some strange piece of mechanical equipment she had never used before. Only when someone to her left opened the door on his side did she do the same on her side. Who’s to know how long she would have been left stranded there if she was alone. Perhaps they should post an instruction manual. Or have a doorman posted there to do the honors for her.

16. How convenient:

17. Not a barber shop I’d want to patronize . . .

18. Street art, of which there is plenty in the universe’s center:

19. As if we don’t have enough problems with fake news these days, now there’s fake pizza apparently:

20. A Communist dry cleaner who has to send out the work if more than one alteration needs to be done:

21. And this looked like such an inviting place to take a leak . . .

22. I never knew sleepwalking was such a problem . . .

23. Pearls of wisdom outside a library:

24. A couple of off-color scenes in the west end:

25. On the side of the building at Toronto’s home of fake news:

26. Obligatory shot of the Toronto sign and city hall:

27. A street urchin’s encampment outside Eaton Center:

28. While waiting in the Queen subway station, there was an ad from Flair Airlines with the slogan “Nothing says ‘I love you’ like Winnipeg” to promote their $79 Toronto to Winnipeg fare. I can only surmise that no one in their advertising agency has ever been the esteemed capital of the SPRM. Or else it was a joke that no one in this part of the world could possibly be expected to understand.

29. Needing a little extra food, I went for an order of chicken strips at Tim Hortons. Overall, I give their newest offering a passing grade, and though the garlic in the breading wasn’t as overpowering as A & W’s equivalent, it still stayed with me well into the following morning.

29a. When digging out my wallet to pay, the clerk was seriously taken aback by the prospect of someone paying cash. Next time, just to be a rabble-rouser, I should ask if they accept bitcoin.

30. While the train was stopped at the Exhibition station on the return trip, I laughed as I watched a lost teenage kid on an adjacent street wander around, blindly following the directions on his phone that led him into an alley marked “Prohibited Area.” Before going too far, he finally picked his head up and turned around, only to again start following his phone as he made his way up the street. You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

31. Waiting for the bus at the Burlington, I was seated next to someone with a bag from the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. As she and two nearby people began talking, I learned that she had taken the train from Montreal that morning and was heading for a conference in Niagara Falls, where she was staying at Fallsview. Now why do they always hold these conferences in places like Niagara Falls when I’m sure they could get much better rates in cities like Prince Albert or Swift Current?

32. You can tell who the real tourists are when the #12 bus bound for the Burlington Carpool lot pulls up, and this time was no exception as half the station emptied to run after it, figuring every #12 bus is headed for Niagara Falls. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I watched them all dragging their feet with their heads slumped pulling their suitcases behind them as they headed back inside the station. Read the sign next time.

33. When the Falls-bound bus came, I was seated around a bunch of college roommates with one who lives in the Falls acting as the tour leader. They were hoping to do the Aero Car and the White Water Walk, only to learn that both attractions are not open during the winter, but they still hoped to do Table Rock and Clifton Hill. The tour leader who once worked as a waiter at Elements, a restaurant at Table Rock, figured it wouldn’t be a problem for the guys to haul their luggage a mile or so from the 420 and Stanley bus stop and that all the attractions are roughly in the same spot. They will undoubtedly be considering the Sucker Bus, more formally known as WEGO, but the $9 24-hour fare might be a problem given that one guy only has $10 in his checking account and the tour leader couldn’t remember when his account’s balance was as high as three figures. Increased appeals to the Bank of Mom and Dad were likely in their immediate plans.

34. One member of this group asked one of his buddies if his jacket was real fur. “Yeah, but it’s, like, chicken,” he answered. Who knew that chickens were fur-bearing animals? The things they teach students at institutes of higher learning these days.