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.

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