I love the city. There are so many amazing things that come with living in a place like Toronto, and every day I consider myself lucky to live here. That being said, sometimes public transit fucking sucks. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not here to proselytize about transit fees or TTC workers. I am referring specifically to the joys of travelling with the unwashed masses – and the especially unwashed who end up on the Queen streetcar on the hottest day of the summer.
Anyone who has been in this city for a length of time has a transit story. I have multiple, and here they are, in no particular order.
Rise and Shine
I was on my way to meet a friend for breakfast (at Fran’s, of course) when I still lived in the west end. This was a pretty simple trip, just the Dundas streetcar at 9:30 on a Saturday morning. Since most (sane) people are still sleeping at that hour, there were maybe four of us on the entire thing. Towards the end of my trip, I dropped my MP3 player on the floor, probably because I was still half asleep. When I bent down to pick it up, I noticed the guy in the seat across from me was going to town in his pants. Certainly he was just scratching an itch, really vigorously? Nope. When I glanced in his direction again to check, he was very clearly administering some self love. Then he made and held direct eye contact. While masturbating. On a streetcar. Fuck this fucking shit. I told the driver, whose tired response of, “For real?” instilled a lot of confidence. The driver had me hail a cop at a construction site (whose tired response echoed the driver’s verbatim), and he escorted the ‘gentleman’ off the streetcar. The whole time, this lothario protested, asking for a transfer so he could catch the next streetcar.
French Canadian Newfies
Nothing brings a train full of people together like a good, old-fashioned dose of crazy. I was heading home on the Bloor line, and a kind young man offered me his seat. He was obviously a tourist or new here, as there were a ton of open seats, so I said thanks but no thanks, and sat in an open one. He must’ve been on a mission to do a good deed, because he made the same offer to every woman who got on the train, until Crazy boarded. “What did you say to me?” she screeched at him. “What did you say, you long-haired bitch?” she added, before he could respond. “Why don’t you sit next to your girlfriend?” She pointed at someone obviously not with him and trying to avoid notice. The lovely young man looked like he was about to cry, so I decided to poke the bear. “Actually, I think it was nice of him to offer you a seat.” She whipped around, hollered that she liked my pantyhose (I was wearing bright blue tights), and went back to berating the poor guy. The elderly gentleman beside me told her it was “too early to be drunk,” at which point she informed us she was a “French-Canadian Newfie coming out of a crack coma.” The next few stops she went on about French-Canadian Newfies and crack comas; she was doing neither group any favours. Thankfully, she leaped off at St. George, the whole train heaved a collective sigh of relief, and the elderly man told me he thought she was “cuckoo.” From your lips to god’s ears, my friend.
The Wheels on the Bus
I took the Greyhound to London on Labour Day weekend. The bus was full, but it’s a pretty short two-hour trip, and I thought I would catch a nap. The guy beside me had the most grating ringtone I’d ever heard in my life, with the volume jacked all the way up (different ringer sounds, spliced with people yelling things like “Hello!” and “The phone is still ringing!”). When he answered and proceeded to have an extremely loud conversation, there was a lot of grumbling to my left. I looked back to see what it was, and made accidental eye contact with the one person on the bus who had both seats to himself (with good reason – he was batshit crazy). At that point, he decided we were friends. Despite my headphones and book, he felt the need to shout his crazy in my direction, as I tried to lean as far away as possible without ending up in my seatmate’s lap. After about half an hour of complaints about everything, enlightening us about his relationship with the Hell’s Angels, his children, and some stuff I couldn’t decipher, he decided to walk up and down the aisle singing. He came back, and tried talking at me again. My friend with the loud phone offered to switch seats with me, but I didn’t think it was necessary. Yet. Then Batshit stood beside me for a while, and I was able to ignore him until he touched me. I have never jumped so high in public. He wanted me to take his picture, but before I could say nofuckingthankyou, Loud Phone decided he had enough. After a lovely argument back in forth (while I sat in between them and smelled that crazy was also drunky), Loud Phone commanded me to switch him seats (happily, thanks), and told Batshit that if he did not “sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up,” he was going to lock him in the bathroom and shove his head in the toilet. This was surprisingly effective. Batshit seemed stunned into silence until we got into London, and literally got off the bus at the first street light. Next time I’m taking the train.