LETTER FORTY-NINE

Toronto, Ontario
7 May 2017

Hi Hal,

It's Sunday, it's chilly out, and I'm just killing time while bake my peameal (read: Canadian bacon, for all those Americans). It was on sale. I'm wrapping up things in Toronto. I finished school. I have a job that doesn't matter. And a couple other commitments that I plan to put behind me. Then I guess I can exercise my freedom and become, I don't know, a world-famous traveller? Ha. We'll see.

I did go to Montreal last weekend. Mainly, I wandered the city in a daze for two days straight, looking for affordable food. But I did get to see a show. You would've liked it. The venue was by the tracks, inside––of course––a commercial loft, and while the band played, you could hear the trains roar by. 

I should probably go back, and really spend time there. People think it sounds romantic to "go get lost" somewhere––and I mean, I know what they're getting at, but in practice getting lost somewhere often boils down to struggling to find a place to poop for six hours straight. Travelling is nice, but constant preoccupation with basic amenities can become tedious.

Anyway I saw a wicked show, and I had a great evening at Mont Royal––yup, sure did––and eventually I took a ride share home. The driver, Bart, was an hour late. He kept saying on the phone he'd only be "five minutes longer, just five minutes longer", and he took an hour. He said later it was a custom which wasn't intended to be taken literally. He'd only moved to Canada in the last two years, which, after talking with him, I realized was very recent. He'd started in London, Ontario, and then he'd moved to Montreal for further schooling. For him, everything in Canada was new, and exciting––including the mundane details. We drove home together, and talked about bills, the scenery, and beer ––his favourite was Bud––and of course language. He didn't like Montreal. He learned English in school back home, and then he came to Montreal, where everyone got pissed at him unless he spoke French! We exchanged music. He showed me Chand Sifarish, and I showed him Johnny Cash (I figured, if he's gonna listen to country music, he should start with the best), and at some point we exchanged tea recipes. After finishing school in Montreal, he wants to move back to London, which he says he prefers over Toronto, because Toronto is too big and busy. I asked him if he plans to stay in Canada after school, but he said that he had family back home, which made whatever decision he made very complicated.

I guess that's my travelogue for the day. Hope it was special. Let's talk soon.

Always,
Sal

11 May 2017

I thought I'd add this at the last second.

The weather's getting perfect for walking and biking at night. On my way home, I followed the side streets behind Yonge St, just south of Yorkville. It's one of the few places in Toronto where the streets are cobbled. I went down an alley to urinate, which I ended up not doing because a strange man was chilling in his car. While I left, I noticed a door propped open at the back of one of the older Yonge St buildings. Inside was a Lynchian staircase, dimly lit in a neon red. It was eerily still, and quiet. There was no one there, no one watching it. I went around the front of the building, to investigate, peering at the second storey windows, looking for a red glow. I wasn't if it was the right window, but I did see a red neon sign in one of the them blinking "––––– ––––– SPA". On my phone I looked up the name, and I found consumer reviews and salacious photography. I went behind the building, and the strange man was gone.

Afterwards, I locked my bike at Rosedale Subway, and went for a walk through a pedestrian ravine behind the station. A racoon watched me from the edge of the woods. I took a break next to one of the Rosedale mansions, which was circled with barbed wire fence. I went along Rosedale Valley Rd, where an apartment building is built into the hill, like a terraced vineyard, but with a roof. At the bottom of the ravine, on my way back, I noticed the ground was sodden from the recent rain.