LETTER THIRTY-FOUR

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL

Dear Henry,

Love to hear you getting lost in in the sea of New York literati. It sounds glamourous, but difficult to be surrounded by so many strangers. 

As for me, I hammered out a budget, and postponed any room shares for probably six months to a year. I'm still studying, too. These days, I have a system. I have a 50L knapsack with which I bike downtown 3-4 times a week. I shower at a the gym, store my dirty laundry in a locker, remove my book bag from the 50L bag, leave the 50L in the locker, and then I go to the library. At the end of the day, because I don't have an overnight locker, I go back to the gym, pick my stuff up, and take the bus back home. At the 24 hour corner store near home, I buy a loaf of bread and a cucumber. It's routine.

Like any routine, it involves repetition, which leads to...familiarity? Take the Avenue bus driver, a Eugene Levy type character. We've worked out a deal: when he's the driver, I take my bike on board, so as he can take the corner at Avenue and Eglinton a more comfortably. We reached that agreement after he one time took the corner a little too tight, scraping his rear against a telephone pole. He claims that my bike, mounted at the front of the bus, was sort of to blame. Well, he didn't really put it that way, but the bike does make things harder; the Eglinton Crosstown is being built, and the lanes have become much narrower as a result.

There's another bus driver I see over on Bayview. Let's call him Tony. He says about bicycles, That's a poor man's golf! He used to work in the fashion district. These days he lives in Thornhill and bikes 25km after work for exercise. He has a steel ribcage from the time his tire––this when he rode motorcycles––got caught in the streetcar rails down on Bathurst. Back when he was in fashion, he says, he used to deliver fabrics across the city. When there was an upcoming festival, he'd be sent to all the "homeworkers", as he called them. Homeworkers were independent contractor sewers, and the like, who produced copious amounts of work on short notice. He didn't know for certain, but Tony suspected that in reality these small business, based out of typical single detached dwellings across the city, were in fact sweatshop-type establishments. Imagine that. In Toronto the Good.

You might have noticed I talk with bus drivers a lot. Well, I guess it's almost inevitable, when you're lugging a bicycle with you. It naturally leads to cooperation and conversation with the person driving the bus.

Things are slow, but only yesterday I got my first freelancing gig. I helped someone write her application to Law School. And locking my things up at a given gym at U of T (sometimes Goldring, sometime Hart House––I'm not picky) allows me to commute around the core wearing clothes and being clean. Like a few weeks ago I had an office viewing on Queen W, so I biked downtown from home, and at around 8am, arrived at U of T campus, where I showered for the first time that day, locked up some stuff, and changed into a clean set of clothes. Then I biked leisurely down to Queen for the meeting, so that when I and the tenant met, after I'd locked my bike up, I looked so composed I it looked I'd been dropped off by a cab or some shit––when in reality by the time we met, at 9:30am, I'd already biked over 20 km, up and down several ravines.

Really happy to hear about your grand entrance into New York social life, especially if it's not the life you pictured when you first took off from Pearson last August.

In other city news, Honest Ed's is closing in December.

your only,

Sal

PS I included a random photo of Yonge and Bloor for you.