Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Real Dirt on Toronto

Toronto stinks.

Not, as Allan Fotheringham claimed last week in a superlatively dickish column in the Reliable Globe, metaphorically. Doctor Foth made the churlish claim that NOW is some sort of moral barometer, and that the lowly Yellow Pages and its 300+ church listings couldn't hold a candle to the smut that NOW is peddling to Hogtown residents. Somehow, it seems that the sexual entrepreneurs populating the back pages of Toronto's weekly rag leads to the rest of Canada's hating on our 'burg.

Fothie Bear makes some totally wacky math calculations: his city is populated by about two million people, half of whom are women with no interest in sexual favours from lusty ladies (including lesbians and the curious-and-female would only wreck the math, so Fotheringham leaves 'em out). He then takes out a third of the population for being under twenty and "not interested," as well as men over fifty for the same reason. That leaves us with about 300,000 people (his math) perusing the hundred of ads. I assume that, in the Venn diagram showing the overlap between "NOW erotic advertisement users" and "disgusting perverts who wear hideous pleather peacoats and hit on drunk, sloppy women outside 24-hour convenience stores," A+B is rather large.

Wh-what? Pardon me, sir, but just because a man's gained his mid-life weight is no reason to count him out of the game...and while the flesh may be weak, I can imagine that there are many for whom the spirit is more than willing. In fact, I would say that men over fifty are the primary audience for all the Nadias and Jades and Lolas cavorting around wearing stars. Not to mention the fact that the teen years seem like nothing but one long nocturnal emission.

Since Allan Fotheringham is one hundred years old (okay, fine: a hale and hearty 77), I could maybe forgive him for forgetting the gland-driven howling that teenagers do. But just because your prurient ass gets all puckered at the thought of purchased sex, especially in relation to some church-vs.-NOW-ad ratio, don't assume anyone's buying it, everyone's buying it, or only certain types are buying it. It takes all kinds, as the song says, and I find it hard to believe that Toronto is the only metro area in Canada where you can purchase a piece of tail.

Old-man-driven hypocrisy aside, the reason my city smells like garbage is that it's literally covered in garbage. The strike is over! Bring out your dead! I'm glad Toronto workers are back on the job - while I was having fun pointing out to bitchers and/or moaners that these so-called assbags and jerkwads (the union) are garbage and child-care workers (demographics not traditionally known for the percentage of high schoolers who raise an excited hand when asked "Is anyone here interested in working for the city?!"), the subtle underwaft of rot and decay was crazy-making.

Now, on the eve of what I'm sure will be known as The Great Scrubdown, the strike went on just long enough to offer an anti-tantalizing whiff of what could have been the future. It reeks. It's gross. The garbage juice is everywhere, as are the flies. It's gnarly. And, barring some boneheaded move by Monsignieur D. Miller, it seems as though the flood the Truly Gross was diverted.

So: unions/city: thanks for working it out. Allan Fotheringham? You should have maybe spent more time exploring the real filth of the city - there was plenty to go around, trust me - instead of wallowing in some mathematically suspect and annoying moral sludge.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Aging Like A Fine Cheese, Please

There are some women who are in it to win it, and by some women, I mean Anjelica Huston. What is with her? She's a stone fox, solidly past the change of life, and I pray to God I look that good when I'm 56, or 72, or however old she is, because seriously, I can't tell.

What is it? My mom looks fantastic at her age (which I won't divulge), but she also runs, does aerobics and vigorously paints rooms as a hobby. Presumably, she also has some secret tonic hook-up with virgin's blood or nun's tears, because my mom looks preternaturally good. As does my dad. My parents have maybe signed some pact with unsavoury types, because people in their fifties (whoops) probably shouldn't look so good.

Hopefully my parents are using fancy face cream made from, I don't know, organic kelp and the withered dreams of the obese. Otherwise, it will emerge that aging gracefully and attractively equals work, and I am lazy.

Not that I don't want to age well. On the other hand, it's really hard to picture myself as anything except Right Now. Which is natural, obviously, but it's also tough to put aerobic money in the bank of My Fifties when snorfling Doritos off the kitchen floor is a fun and rewarding hobby today.

Plus, it seems like as the Boomers and the close-on-their-heels next generation from which GOOP sprang are deeply invested in looking glamourous, world-wise and freshly scrubbed: both youthful and take-me-seriously mature. It's a heady cocktail of toned leg muscles and swearing to have "only a little" Botox when the time is right, which, frankly, is an option that hasn't been overly popular in my neck of the woods. Hollywood-as-role model is always something teen girl magazines seem to get hysterical about, but who's monitoring InStyle to make sure semi-depressed Midwestern women aren't getting self-concious about crow's feet and neck wattle?

Aging gracefully is tough. All you need to do is take a look around (first, leave Yorkville) and admire the huge variance on aging encountered in the real world. You've got your stringy older women, your always-thin-and-sunned-and-looking-good older women, older women who Might Have Had Some Work Done, fat ones, tall ones, ones who never learned how to apply eyeliner, and Liza Minelli. Women who lucked into the genetic lottery, and women who swear by colonics for the same effect. Women who wear elastic pants and women who wear Spandex pants.

Long story short? Winning the genetic lottery (please please please) is no easy feat. It take work. Dedication. Legwarmers. Angelica Huston and my mom make it look easy, but as I ease towards thirty (holy shit!), I'm starting to realize that, as enjoyable as scarfing down a 128-oz bag of Cheetos is today, I'll still be paying off the interest in my sixties.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Traffic In Complaints

If my morning commute was a Broadway show (and really, who's isn't?), then these chuckleheads would be in the chorus, singing off-key, making me crazy.

Dear Lincoln Navigator drivers,
Once upon a time, you drove Miatas and Honda Civics, and it was good times. Those autos sit low to the groung, hugging the curves. They felt sporty in your hands, no? You felt racy and silky, like the road was scant inches away from your upwardly-mobile ass. It was: if you dropped, say, a can of Pepsi Free out the window, you could have retrieved it simply by opening the door and leaning a slight lean down. No more than, like, 20 degrees.

Times have changes, amigos! Now you're driving what basically amounts to a tank, and it sits way too high, and frankly, I'm afraid of you. You remind me of nothing more than those pictures of overloaded bikes National Geographic is always running in an effort to be all like, "Those foreign people are so crazy!" The top of the car swings crazily over to one side or the other when you make a turn, and it seriously looks like you're driving on two wheels. If you dropped a Coke Zero out the window of one of these bad boys, you've have to disembark altogether.

Adding insult to injury in a smoggy and congested downtown, you also seem to be incapable of sharing a ride with anyone. Or getting off your cell phone. So there you sit in traffic: alone, wired to the gills with both caffeine and cellular technology, the top of your car narrowly missing overpasses, and giving me a coronary every time you make a right-hand turn.

Please remember that when you got your second-to-last raise and decided "What the hell, I like the way they look," you forgot to take into account the fact that this car handles way differently that a coupe, and to adjust your driving style accordingly. Please do that now.

Dear TTC and its attached Bus Drivers,
I totally respect your job and the way you do: driving public transit is a tough job. One small complaint. Why do you consistently show up on routes where I know - I've been on them - there are subway cars running underground?

In Toronto, there's something called the diamond lane, which is pretty much reserved for three vehicles: bike, cab, and bus. I'm not sure which PhD candidate thought it would be a smart idea to combine the most vulnerable, the most erratic and the highest tonnage into one lane, but dude? It's terrifying.

So it's always kind of luxurious to be able to bike in tandem with public transit without it getting all up in my grill the way streetcar tracks do. It's especially nice to walk or bike the Bloor Street Viaduct when a train is rumbling below - just feeling the connect, you know? So to see a bus roar into the bike lane when I know there's a subway car doing its job right below...sort of raises the hackles a bit.

Dear Dude I See Riding an e-Bike Nearly Every Day,
I swear to God, if I see you in the bike lane one more time, I will rip that faux-woodgrain ironic hipster helmet off your shaggy head and punch you right in the smirk.

Dear Practically Every Driver On the Road,
Yes, I signalled.

Dear Harley-Riding Men From Last Week,
I will totally cop to the fact that beating you in traffic made me feel good. I know it wasn't really me - seriously, biking is the fastest way to get through tough traffic. On the other hand, I was wearing a dress and a little sun hat and was riding a huge candy-coloured one-speed cruiser, and y'all were sporting leather vests and hair that hadn't been cut since Woodstock.

Obviously, I get weirdly competitive about and protective of biking as a viable urban transportation option, but this was just too funny to politicize. It was like if Little Bo Peep had beaten Andrew WK in an arm wrestle.

Dear Other Cyclists,
If you pass me (usually looking smug) only to slow down and slow me down, I won't hit you with that e-bike guy's helmet...but I'll definitely be thinking about it.