LETTER TWENTY-SIX

June 28, 2016
Home, Toronto

Dear Henry,

Re: some of your family pastimes––It's obvious that your mom's spirit of curiosity has carried over into your own life. An inheritance which I think we can both agree––whether genetic, learned, or osmotically absorbed––is a good one. How does the saying go? "They fuck you up, your mum and dad. / They may not mean to, but they do. / They fill you with the faults they had / And add some extra, just for you." Probably true; but sometimes I guess parents pass on other, not so fucked up qualities as well.

It's summer in Toronto. Every neighbourhood seems to have been hosting their own celebration, from locally organized block parties to corporate sponsored fairs and parades. The Strombo show has been playing Joni Mitchell in anticipation of our National Birthday, the Toronto Sun has published a scathing satire of Toronto cyclists in honour of Toronto Bike Month (June 2016) and the rapid proliferation of what they call "sunny-day riders"; the yachts moored in the Toronto Harbour conduct festivities far into the late evening (easily on the cusp of our 11pm noise by-law, and maybe even over it), there's tailgating at Cherry Beach, nude dancing on Church St, barbecues perfuming residential neighbourhoods, beer commercials everywhere from billboards to hot dog vendor umbrellas to the navel-regions. Flimsy street wear on Bathurst St, College St Italians slinging back espresso Monday morning, followed by beer after noon, presumably continuing into the evening on the Wings of Victory. I myself in North York at the time, where at least 30 mostly elderly, mostly Eastern European men had congregated (spontaneously?) in the food court where some divine Angel of God had tuned the wide screen TV to the sports channel, which was broadcasting England vs Iceland, Euros 2016. Between plays we'd exchange commentary on the game. I, of course, left early. I'd spilled coffee in the hallway near the food court, and consequently receded into the background, near a mop and pail, when a man came up to me. "Do you know who owns the mop?" he asked. I shook my head. "'Cause some guy spilled his coffee all over the hall. It went EVERYwhere." I vocally marvelled at the event, while wondering if he was deliberately torturing me. Then he started on the game, which was visible from where we were standing. "Great thing they've come this far eh?" I tried feebly to respond, and managed a grunt, which I think meant "Yes, I'm happy for them." "Good thing Italy won earlier. Didn't want to be on College today," he continued. Eventually he walked off. When the caretaker returned, I told him, "Just so you know, some guy came looking for you. Apparently there was some coffee spill over there. Just thought I'd let you know." Which was the truth, sort of. Shortly after which the security showed up, standing at attention by the puddle, peering around (searching?)––an extreme response, I thought. Still, being the perpetrator, I thought departure the right move to make.

Yes the Euros are draping the city in red white and green, among other colour combinations, while the airwaves blast Canadiana, and our municipal newspapers moan about public transportation initiatives that cost too much and do too little, and the drivers complain about bikers while the bikers complain about drivers, and red canoes lashed to roof racks begin dotting the outgoing DVP traffic jams.

It's summer in Toronto, and business as usual.

Yours,
Sal