Love is All Around. No Need to Waste It.

Sitting in a little Chinese restaurant on Dundas, it occurred to me that I actually like Toronto. This small-town boy, in his mid-20s, escaped a year living in TO with loathing and resentment. I hated the place. I got a knot in my gut for years afterward just approaching the skyline via 403 or the QEW. I’d worked in retail (ugh!) at the heart of the garish Yonge Street strip (vulgar, garish, soulless, unkind, uname it…).

And now every time I come here I’m tingling. I want to come again. (New York City shocked me in ’02 by being loveable, Rucker Park right through to the Staten Island ferry, Manhattan to Yankee Stadium.) Queen West, Spadina, Nathan Phillips square. Arty shops, that incredible subway system that gets you all over the map quickly, shows at Hugh’s Room, and all kinds of people. I wasn’t ready for the people back then. My circle was small. My town was small. My town was white. (Six Nations Reserve was next door but it was another country.) I must’ve felt pretty substantial there, and I felt invisible in the big city. I must have hated the anonymity in Toronto – nobody knew my name, either, Mr. Baldwin, not that I’m comparing my comfortable little existential adjustments to your experience – but also the noise and the indomitability of it. It scared me. Maybe that was it.

But today, I wanted to do the Mary-Richards-in-Minneapolis thing, spin on my heels and toss my fluffy hat in the air. Just one fluffy hat short. If I can make it here. And all that. Hey, anybody want to read some stuff? English not good? No English? That’s okay! Here, take a look at what I wrote, you’re gonna love it…