Walden World

The wacky and wonderful tales of Beth's and Catherine's global adventures. And all things Walden too.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Beyond the Thunder Dome

I had a very weird experience last week. I drove to downtown Toronto for work, which I usually do once weekly, however due to meeting cancellations I hadn't been down since Pride Day.

As I drove up Bay Street, stuck half time in traffic, I tsk tsked at the filthy and scandalous state of Toronto streets: "hrumph some Toronto the Good" I thought. "I can't believe this city is going downhill so quickly". More tsk tsking watching scads of paper blowing all over the street; rubbish bins stuffed full with cups falling down over the homeless sleeping on the street. It was somewhat apocaplyptic, like the city in "Blindness" I saw recently.

I was really quite shocked: "Man this place is like downtown New York in the 1980s. The only thing missing is the dirty diapers under the broken hydrant water flows" I thought. What gives?

It was only after pulling into the parking lot I remembered that the municipal workers had gone on strike 3 weeks ago and there had been no garbage pickup.

Now here I ask again what gives? I live less than an hour from T.O. All my news is from T.O. I get the T.O. papers. I had read all about the strike. As a matter of fact while getting ready that morning I stood listening to TV news coverage about the strike and all the garbage piling up.

How then is it possible to completely forget everything you know while staring at the garbage accruing around you?

Maybe the fact that visually, no garbage was piling up around my home, nor in downtown Brampton where I work, subconsciously convinced me the strike had no effect. I take in the news mentally, as if I'm in Toronto, without the lived experience.

And it wasn't just me that had this weird disconnect. My friend Deya who lives in Niagara, and who was aware of and following the strike, came into T.O. a few days before me.

She was sitting in her car with the windows open. Sitting next to her was her passenger, a friend from Toronto, and Deya began bitterly complaining about how dirty Toronto was getting as the ripe and putrid smell of garbage came wafting through the windows.

"What's wrong with Toronto these days?" she remarked to her friend "this is like being in New York in the old days".