Oh what fun I had Sunday morning.
I got off work at 07:00 (7 AM) and walked out to Bloor St.
, Toronto's main east west artery, beneath which the Bloor line of the subway system
runs. In Toronto, on Sundays, unlike Tokyo, London, New York, Boston, Chicago, Mexico City, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Sidney, Rio de
Janeiro, New Delhi, Manila, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Seoul, Moscow, Madrid and Ankara, Turkey
where the subways all open before 9
, Toronto's subway system is closed until 9 AM.
There are reasons for that, the main one of which I will get to.
Sometimes I walk over to a nearby McDonald's restaurant to have a coffee with a friend before going out to wait for the #300 bus, which runs along the
length of the Bloor/Danforth crosstown artery. I live in the east end of Toronto, far from my place of employment. However, Sunday morning I went
westward to the nearby Tim Horton's restaurant on the south side of Bloor, located between Ted Roger's Way (Jarvis St.) and St. Paul's Square.
I was just finishing my sandwich and coffee and about to go out to a bus stop when I saw three #300 buses go past the restaurant, heading east, and
all bunched up together. It is not the least bit unusual to see buses on this route bunched up, going either east or west.
In the summer, it is
mildy irritating but in the winter it signals the start of a long wait in sometimes bitter cold wind tunnel conditions, for the next bus.
I sighed and trudged over to the nearest bus stop, which was just west of the intersection of St. Paul's Square and Bloor. From time to time I adopted
the 1000 yard stare frequently seen on people waiting for the bus on Sunday morning on Bloor. There were a couple of East Asian gentlemen waiting at
the stop with me. They weren't familiar with the transit system (who is?), and wanted to know if the bus would take them over to Pape Station.
I told them I wasn't sure because last weekend the bus had diverted north at Broadview Station to go around a street festival
, "Taste of the
Danforth", that had been happening on a section of Danforth Avenue that included Pape Station.
I told them I had seen a driver let some people off north of the station so that they could walk down to it. I suggested that they ask the driver
about this when the bus arrived.
Minutes, ten or fifteen, went by. From time to time I assumed the "1000 yard stare" looking for signs of the bus. Sometimes you can see the vivid blue
lights on it several long blocks away. Joy fills the heart. Soon, one realizes, one will not be standing on the street anymore. One will be standing
on the bus, holding on to a strap, bracing oneself against its various lurching motions, together with one's battle fatigued transit comrades, either
on the way home from their midnight shifts or on the way to work Sunday morning.
I know I am meant to be here. I am a literate, energetic semi-retired egghead type, packed into a bus full of the under represented, largely mute
victims of a society that really can't be bothered extending the same level of transit service to them that it extends to everyone else.
Doing this, waiting for the bus, routinely, dulls the mind. One becomes dumb and ox-like. One smokes. I smoked. I stared. I'm sure the dulling of the
mind is what prevented me from noticing something odd going on west of me, near Avenue Road. Eventually I noticed flashing lights coming from a
vehicle that seemed to be parked in the middle of the road.
The East Asian gentlemen and I began to wonder if those lights meant that bus service was going to be interrupted. Another peculiarity was the
presence of a group of four police officers across the street, standing on the corner at St. Paul's Square and Bloor. Traffic had dwindled. Things did
not look good.
We approached the police officers who told us that the street was being closed down for a street festival. They did not know how buses were being
diverted, or where we should go to catch a bus. They were as clued out as we were.
I borrowed one of the Asian gentlemen's cell phones and called TTC information, the number of which was printed on the bus stop at which we were
waiting. So far so good. However when I got through, there was a labyrinth of recorded messages to navigate and by the time I, in my fatigued,
irritated and somewhat fuddled state of mind, was asked by the recorded voice to give the number of the "route" I was on, I was too dopey/tired to
realize that the voice wanted the bus (!!!) number, i.e., 300. I gave up without getting the information that would presumably
I gave the confused and anxious looking East Asian gentleman his cell phone and told him that I intended to get a cab home, but that first I needed to
go to a cash machine. He smiled, wanly, thanked me for the help I had given and we parted. Fortunately there was a cash machine nearby at a BMO (not
my bank, $2.00 user fee please, ca-ching) and I took out the money I needed.
The next task I faced was hailing a cab on a street closed to traffic.
Being really tired from my overnight shift, it took me a minute or two to apprehend the inherent contradiction in the above sentence. When I did
realize it, I walked over to Church Street and hailed a cab, since, at that point there was still traffic moving north and south, crossing Bloor where
it was still possible to do so.
Fifteen minutes and $25.00 later, I was home. I haven't the faintest idea what happened to the East Asian gentlemen. I do remember one rough young
fellow, wearing musical headphones, striding past us on the sidewalk though, just after the police had told us of the road closure, railing against
the TTC. That's the great thing about Toronto. Out on the streets we howl together.
edit on 18-8-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason
edit on 18-8-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)
edit on 18-8-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason