The Legless Woman

A trip to Kensington Market in Toronto is always an exciting adventure for me. It doesn’t matter who I go with, when I go or how planned or spontaneous the trip is. Something totally unpredictable always happens either there or on the way. Today was no exception.

My Aunt Sue is down from Alberta and we decided to go visit my estranged Grandfather Julias in Toronto. My mom, aunt and I packed into my aunt’s Highlander and set out to Toronto. After picking my grandfather up we set out to have lunch at Hungary Thai on Augusta Ave in Kensington Market. For those who don’t know, Kensington Market is a small area near Chinatown where all the best vintage shops are. You can find hippies and rastafarians there. It’s a unique area with crafts from around the world and clothes from decades past. You want a pin up dress? Yup it’s there! You want some Tibetan incense? Yup, it has that too! It also has  the most unique restaurant; Hungary Thai, where you can eat some pad thai for lunch and some Hungarian crepes for dessert. It’s a unique blend of two different cultural cuisines.

As my grandfather is from Hungary we told him we were spoiling him to some authentic Hungarian cuisine. So on the way we were in The Highlander. A hybrid Highlander to be exact. There’s nothing more exciting for me in the world that going to Kensington Market. Except till today. Going to Kensington Market while not using gas just a battery powering the tires is pretty much at the top of my excitement list. Headed to hang out in urban hippy town while driving in a chic urban hippy vehicle is pretty cool you got to admit.

Anyways, so there we are happily on our way leaving a very minute gas print in the air. My aunt is driving very cautiously as she gets anxious while driving. We are stopped making a right onto Dundas Street West with my aunt creeping up onto the corner and starting her right turn when out of nowhere a lady in a wheelchair going full force like a ninja on speed attempts to cross the street. The only problem is we are turning the corner at the exact same moment. We had been turning for some time and the lady clearly wasn’t looking ahead only flying at full force speed in her wheelchair. I am sitting behind my aunt in the backseat driver’s side and my grandpa is next to me on the passenger side behind my mother. We all turn to the right and see this lady in a wheelchair flying into the side of the Highlander. As I am on the passenger side I can only see the lady from the waist up. He hair is disheveled and her face is worn by years of possible drug and alcohol abuse. She begins screaming as she is racing right into the side of the Highlander. I can see she has put her hands down to the wheels to slow herself. This is all happening in quick time motion and I am finding it quite humourous to be honest. She stops herself at the last minute. “Oh my God!” my Aunt exclaims. “She was this close to hitting the car!” my mom screams as she shows a distance of two inches between her fingers. “She couldn’t even put her legs out to stop herself on the car because she hasn’t got any!” my grandfather rasps in his thick Hungarian accent. He is smiling from ear to ear and is clearly as amused as I am by this dramatic scene. “She didn’t have any legs?” I ask my grandpa incredulously. “No, she has no legs. She is always out here begging for money everyday” he tells me as he laughs heartily. “She doesn’t have any legs so she couldn’t have stopped herself by putting her legs against the car!” he is laughing out loud now as am I. As I could only see her from her waist up I was unaware of this crucial fact.

Everyone in the car is laughing at the humour of what just happened. My mom who had a first hand view of the action still has her hands waving in the air to measure the distance that saved the woman from crashing into the vehicle. “This much room. This much” she is shaking her hand in the air and I am not quite sure if she is talking to us in the car or just amusing herself. One thing is certain. I need to be more aware of legless women in wheelchairs loose on the streets of Toronto while driving.


Communicating Without Words

Months ago as I was venturing into the MTO building downtown to get a business license for one of my many failed business ventures I stumbled onto an adventure of the spiritual kind. As I wandered over to the computers I noticed an elderly Spanish woman sitting on her walker. She was absolutley adorable with a pink dress on, short grey hair and a weathered face that showed years of hardship and pain. She was also in my way to sit on the computer. “Excuse me, I have to use this computer” I politely said to her. Not being one to possess any patience I simply grabbed her walker and moved her out of the way. I had a business license to purchase after all. She looked up at me and began speaking to me in rapid fire…Spanish. After a five day adventure in Mexico in 2011 I had learned how to say hello, thank you and where is the bathroom quite fluently. Aside from that my Spanish was lacking. Being intrigued by this cute elderly woman I asked the young boy with her what she was saying. He was about 16 and very overweight with long hair covering most of his eyes. He appeared very insecure when talking to me and did not want to take his eyes from his phone for a second to answer me. Luckily another guy appeared a few seconds later who appeared more than willing to answer my questions. Of course my tight top that day helped. They were both her grandsons and she was telling me that she had raised them from the time they were little boys. I asked her what country she was from with her older grandson interrpreting for me. “El Salvador” Oh El Salvador I knew a little about that place! I once read a book about a massacre at El Mozote.. I was an expert on the subject! We began conversing back and forth like two best friends who had not seen each other in years. She was getting very animated speaking with me and began drawing the sign of the cross in the air. OH.. so she wanted to have a spiritual discussion with me.. this was a language I knew well.

So began a conversation without words. We communicated without any interpreting from her grandsons and she even sang for me a holy song. She wanted me to come to church with her and sing with her on stage. Me…have an audience? Sign me up! I was making a prayer motion with my hands to indicate I was a believer to her. The many people in line watching us must have thought we were half cracked or just on crack! After our animated discussion she spoke in her rapid fire Spanish to her chubby insecure grandson.

“She says that God always puts good people in her path like you.” Now wasn’t that nice of him to look up from his Blackberry for more than a second. I told him I wanted to take her to church and I gave him my phone number knowing full well he would never attempt to reach me as his grandmother wasn’t that much of a priority to him. She began rubbing her belly and indicated to me she was hungry. Her chubby grandson looked up from his Blackberry quite paranoid. “We feed her!” he shouted almost as if reading my mind. “We have just been here for awhile and it is past her lunch time” his eyes begin darting back and forth as if he is looking for a quick exit. The poor kid thinks I am going to call the cops on him or something. A sick part of me is enjoying watching him squirm. I turn back to his grandmother and she grabs my hand and clasps it to her heart speaking her rapid-fire Spanish again. I feel she is giving me a Holy Blessing. I like Holy Blessings!

We have spent about twenty minutes together speaking two different languages yet true communication and understanding happens on a  heart and soul level.  I never saw her again, I don’t even recall her name but I feel she was put in my path that day to give me a simple but profound message: I am a good person.

The Broke Cop

I had a date last week with a cop. Let’s face it. Ladies love a man in uniform. I personally love a man in his uniform  more when he is 6 foot 4 with a head full of dark hair. I had met him in Toronto several months ago and we both just drifted ways for a bit. Naturally he contacted me again and kept on pursuing me. I was in Toronto on business and let him know I could spare a couple hours of my time for him. (I’m a busy gal, don’t ya know?)

We decided on lunch at Kelseys so we met there. I got dressed up in a  cute black floral summer dress and sandals with a black bow tie to give that “cutesy” appearance. I wouldn’t want him to think I was easy or anything ! As we walked into the restaurant he turned and looked at me and said the most horrifying words strung together into one sentence. “I am broke until Tuesday so you have to buy your own lunch.” It was only  Thursday! OH…MY…GOD! What does one say to that? Not much you can say. The fact that people pleasing is one of my biggest character defects I just smiled and said “I understand” when in reality deep within my soul I was saying to myself  “WHAT…A…LOSER”

I ordered my typical chicken sonoma salad and mocked interest in him. To top off the fact that he was a broke loser he kept answering his texts every five seconds. Apparently there was a big bust that day and he was gonna be in the papers. His partner was back at the station tagging evidence. He was trying to play the Mr. Big Shot Cop role. I wasn’t buying it.

Mercifally  the phone rings to interrupt our lame attempt at conversation and he picks up. He listens in for a couple minutes and  throws around a couple ok  and uh-uh’s then speaks. “I can come right back to the station to help you tag the’s not a problem, I’m not busy right now” If he was a loser before in my eyes he is even worse of a loser now. He doesn’t have any money to buy lunch and he is willing to just leave me on  a date he isn’t even paying for. Wonderful. This date has gone from a really bad date to the worst date I have ever had. And there have been some bad ones, believe me. The whole time he is talking to his partner on the phone I have a little jingle-like mantra running threw my head. It is to the tune of “Just Keep Swimming” from Finding Nemo. “What a loser, loser, loser…” I find humming the mantra in my mind makes the rest of the unbearable date go by at a  rapid pace.

We part ways in the parking lot and he gets a very business like hug from me and my usual “I’ll text you, don’t text me” comment.  Ah, the broke cop has made my day at The Beach with Spicolli seem like a trip to Paris. I sure can’t wait for my next date. Maybe I can just pick up a hitchiker along the highway and have more luck!

A Day at the Beach with Spicolli

Note to self: Before you give a guy your number and make a beach date do 2 of two things 1. Have him stand up from behind the bar you met him at so you can see whether he is 5 foot 4 with a hyperextended back due to beer belly. 2. Make sure he didn’t star in the 1980s classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

   I was having Tapas at a local restaurant a month ago and as I went to the bar to pay my bill due to the lack of service on the slutty waitresses part I noticed a good looking surfer type at the bar. Good looking is all I need to walk over and say hello.  There he was, blonde and tanned. I rush right over. “I feel like you should be on the beach in Hawaii with a surf board in your hands” I tell him, never one to screen my thoughts before I blurt them out. He introduces himself and we banter for a few minutes. He tells me he loves my Native dreamcatcher feather earrings, they are very “spiritual”. I’m sold right there. An ugly homeless guy could walk up to me and play the flute and I would fall in love.So we arrange to tentatively hang out sometime in the next week.

   After a busy two weeks I have the Monday of the long weekend free so I am going  to the beach with my ultra amazing friends J and M. They are a couple and have an adorable yappy Pomeranian who is prone to stealing your pillow while on the beach. I hope they have left him at home today.

I arrive to his house and he stands from behind the kitchen counter to greet me. He is five foot nothing. GREAT. I have a 6 foot four minimum requirement. As we chat and I watch him I am getting impatient fast. He moves slower than a sloth. Somehting is wrong. Please note this guy is supposedly a $75 dollar an hour personal trainer yet he doesnt have the strength to cut his slab of disgusting cheddar cheese.

  “Want some?” he offers. Umm no thanks i want to go to the fucking beach before sunset I think. He is finally ready after a half hour and we hop in his car and go. He tells me a story about how he went to a concert recently. “I smoked whatever they were passing around, got so drunk I crawled to my sister’s van at 10pm and passed out in front of it”. Just fucking great. A forty four year old alcoholic. Add him to my ever growing list of drunken 4o something exes. This is gonna be a fun day. After we park he pulls some beer out of the cooler. “I have to hide these in my towel, you can’t bring beer onto the beach anymore” I am mortified beyond belief at this point.

  We arrive and I make the introductions. After a while I huddle with J and M in the water. They agree that a 44 year old sneaking beer onto the beach is a very bad sign. We agree that he is not coming to dinner with us and I will make an escape route story. Before I make my escape we all go for a long swim out to the pier. He lags behind badly and just stands on the pier looking like a stoned surfer who.. well.. has just smoked too much Hydro. “Thats not fair.. you have floatation devices… you have an advantage” he shouts to me from a very far distance, referring to my oversized breast implants. Please keep in mind this is a “personal trainer” who is almost ready to drown in Lake Erie.

   After he drops me off and I get out of his car he goes for the awkward first date kiss. I turn my cheek and give him the “don’t text me I’ll text you” line. I meet up with J and M for dinner.

  “You know” my friend M begins. “If they have a Fast Times at Ridgement High reunion, he can play Spicolli”. I practically spit out my water. I disn’t see the resemblance before. A tanned, bleached blonde washed out stoner. Yup I just spent the day at the beach with jeff Spicolli.

  The next day I am at Starbucks sitting on the john and hear the familiar ring of my Blackberry BBM. It is my friend M and he is being a joker. There’s a picture of Jeff Spicolli. It is a good thing I was already on the john because I laughed so hard I peed. If you don’t have friends in your life like the ones I have then I suggest you get some. And if you have never spent the day on the beach with Spicolli. I suggest you keep it that way!

The Gypsy Fortune Teller in Montreal

I went to Montreal On Saturday, stayed 52 hours and had the most incredible vacation ever. There is too much to write about in one blog so I will start by writing about the most bizarre event that occured.

After spending our first night  at our hotel which looked more like a horror scene from The Shining than the immaculate villa as shown in the online pictures, we awoke and decided to saunter down the street to the gay village. Drag queens,  musicians performing in the street, an old gay man with a boom bax dancing to LMFAO’s “Party Rock” while thrusting his groin back and forth set the scene for an interesting lunch. We settled onto the patio of a sports bar.  After enjoying a chicken salad I used the restroom and upon walking back onto the patio I bumped right into a man holding a deck of Tarot Cards. Now this wasn’t just a typical man, this was what appeared to be a sorcerer, a high priest of an ancient pagan sect. He had long dark flowing curls, a pentagram tattoed onto his chest, black leather chaps and an unopened bottle of beer in one hand. I was intrigued.

  “Can you read my cards” I asked him bluntly. This was the gay village in Montrel after all, where anything goes. He replied that he would read my cards but there was a fee. Of course, not a problem! I took the option of a mini reading for five dollars, actually giving him ten. We settled onto a table in the corner of the patio, my friend Rachel siting across at another table. She looked on in bewilderment as the gypsy began to tell us a tale of his life. He leaned forward and spoke in a hushed tone. “I am a Wiccan, I pray to the eygyptian Gods Isis and Osiris. I used to be a satanic leader in a satanic cult, but I left that, now I just read cards and connect to the divine.” My friend Rachel is backing into the corner at the words “satanic leader” I just want him to shut the fuck up and give me my reading. After chatting for ten minutes over everythng from my astrological sign of gemini to his bi sexuality he passed the cards to me and asked me to shuffle. Not one to dissapoint I closed my eyes and really focused my energy on thse cards shuffling and visualising this being for my highest and best. I pass him back the cards and he begins.

“Ommmm, I invoke the gods Isi and Osiris, Ommm….. rama ramma OMMMM” he has appeared to go into an altered state of consciousness and is extremely loud gathering the attention of patrons and passerby alike. My friend Rachel appears confused and amused at the same time, on the verge of bursting out in gleeeful laughter. I’m still waiting for the reading to begin. “OMMM…let the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient earth be upon us now” he is really frenetic now moving his hands over the cards and motioning with them in the air. He puts the cards on the table finally and cut the deck. He proceeds to tell me that I have just been quarelling with someone. Very accurate. And that I am going to lose a lot of money soon. Dammit. He also asks me again what my sign is even though I have told him three times I am a Gemini. He says nothing of importance or value as far as I am concerned and I give him ten dollars for the reading as I can see he is a nomadic of sorts, wandering the streets lookign for his next beer and well frankly, I’ve been there!

   The minute the reading is finished madness ensues. A restaurant worker informs him he cannot have an unopened beer on the patio. The gypsy responds by yelling and screaming that the man is “profiling him” he gets up and is causing a commotion. I just really need to use the bathroom and excuse myself. Upon returning Rachel tells me I have missed all the action. Well the exciting part anyways. The man had ran into the middle of the street and was giving everyone the middle finger yelling “FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU” The police came and had to de-escalate the situation. I am pissed that I was too busy admiring the funky purple spiral staircase leading to the bathroom.

After paying for lunch and replaying the events in my mind all I can think to myself is how I paid ten dollars for nothing. But then again he did predict I would lose money!