Sunday, 21 February 2010

Associations


I remember being 14 or 15, saving up my bus fare (by walking home from school) so that on weekends, when I got really bored, I would take the bus up to the subway, randomly pick a subway stop on the map and then just go to it and see what was there.  The TTC routes are - for the most part - a lovely grid, and it felt impossible to get lost, especially if you knew how the transit system operated.

I remember hitting 16 and knowing where exactly it was that I wanted to go - no more random crap shoots.  Most popular were all of the major malls that were on subway lines: Eaton Centre, Scarborough Town Centre, Yorkdale Mall, and Fairview Mall.  Then there were all of the parties that everyone would hit up.  Primarily I think I went to Jamestown.  As I grew older, I'd meet more and more people who could drive and had cars so my string of small radii that dictated my hangouts (i.e. subway stations) collapsed and then expanded... but until that time would come, this was it.

It was on a subway ride that my sister and I were first flashed.  I say 'first' because it would turn out not to be the last time that it would happen.  And of all of the possible times that it could have happened, I would never have expected it to have been on a nearly full train during the evening rush hour.  Sitting side-by-side in double-seats at the back of a train, the flasher seated himself in front of us, held up his coat and suitcase to block us from running and to cover himself as he masturbated while staring at us.  Because of the way we were seated, we couldn't reach the emergency strip - it was over his head.  We just waited it out and ran when we got to our stop.  I considered running off the train earlier, but experience has taught me that running off a train because of someone following you on it only creates the potential of being trapped alone on an unfamiliar subway platform with that person.  On the train were tons of people and attendants and potential help if he tried to touch us, and at my subway stop, I knew where to go.

Anyway, we've seen and experienced a lot by taking public transit.  This is just one example of one of the kinds of things that you can encounter when you're a teenage girl on the subway.  Fortunately, we were neither raped nor killed.  I used to wonder what we could have done to prevent these things, such as not dress provocatively, but we didn't, so I don't feel guilty.  We were just two young females and we let him get away with it.  That's why it happened.  I stopped letting people get away with their offenses, and they magically stopped happening.

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For work, I rent out a parking spot south of my office.  It is 2/3 the cost of parking at my office.  The hospital that my dad is in is several blocks away from this parking spot.  I haven't wanted to pay for parking downtown that's closer to the hospital partly because of cost, but mostly because I already pay for parking.  So, I've just been dropping off my mom at the hospital so she wouldn't have to do the grueling walk in the cold, then walking to and from the hospital from my parking spot.

Yesterday, on my walk to the hospital from my car, three men asked for my name and number.  The first one made it a point to note that he sees me often and wants to know where I go every day.  The second was polite.  The third tried to grab my hand.  This was when it was bright outside.

I have typically walked over alone to get my car when we leave the hospital in the middle of the night.
I wasn't before, but now I'm scared.

Monday, 15 February 2010

February 14, 2010


What is it?  To millions, it was Chinese New Year, and to millions more, it was Valentine`s Day.  Either way, it was a day of celebration.  Now with Canada's latest greatest statutory holiday - Family Day (celebrated on the 3rd Monday of February) - this long weekend had the makings of a 'May 2-4' or Labour Day long-weekend, whether or not you were 'in love'.

What power there is in a day.  Some days are celebrated monthly, some annually, bi-annually, and so forth by the Gregorian Calendar, or fiscal calendar, or Chinese Calendar, and so forth.

Calendars.  Regularity.  Recurrence.  Schedules to commemorate a future day.  Reasons to remember a past day.  Calendars give days power.

February 14, 2010.  It is the 14-year anniversary of my grandmother's passing, and the day my father went into cardiac arrest.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Sweet Sixteen



My 'Sweet Sixteen' was a surprise birthday party thrown for me by one of my then-close friends.  I remember strange bits of the party.  For example, that it was held on the night before my birthday so that we could all be together when the clock struck midnight.  I remember that we had cake and other food that people made.  I remember that the host was nice enough to invite a friend of mine that she didn't personally like.  I remember Jeff coming from Scarborough by bus to be at my party.  I remember taking his baseball cap and wearing it for the rest of the evening.  I remember Marlene [my sister] leaving early to go with Jeff to the subway, and asking to borrow my sweater because it was cold.  I remember one of the attendees' asked her parents to drive me home.

What's distinctly memorable is everything after the party.  I remember driving to the street that my apartment was on and my friend's parents insisting that they drop me off right at my door to ensure that I was safe.  I remember waving good-bye as they drove away.  I remember the moment it hit me that my house keys were in the pocket of the sweater that Marlene had taken with her when she left.  I remember knocking and screaming really loudly hoping that someone, any one of my family members would awaken and let me in.  I remember thinking back to the moment that my friend and her parents offered to wait until I got inside, and shooing them off.  I remember walking to the nearest payphone and collect calling my home in hopes that that would awaken someone, and being really upset that it didn't.  I remember how cold it was, that I bore only a short-sleeved t-shirt [because I had given Marlene my sweater] and thankfully, Jeff's baseball cap because I'd forgotten to return it to him.  If it weren't for that cap, I would have been freezing.  And finally, I remember my Deus Ex Machina: a successful collect call to one of my ex-boyfriends who happened to be home, a fun walk in the middle of the night.

Getting locked out of your home is dangerous and fun when you're sixteen.  When you're twenty-seven, it's just a nuisance.

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