Fascinating phenomenon, the passing on of information. In places as large as this city, it almost seems a smaller pond than that of a rural south high school, where the precious notion of going by one’s middle name is necessary because everyone is named after their grandpa. Low blow?
My example: While stopped at King and Spadina on the homeward bound 504 today, I began to hear the familiar sound of a roadside altercation a-brewin’. The raised voice sounds a lot like the rising of mercury looks – or the guage on a blood-pressure instrument, for a better visual. There is first an attempt at civility, which ends after one sentence and leads into a mellifluous (only if you live here – elsewhere, this show would be cancelled for influencing the youth) string of colourful curses and new conjugations of the all-purpose eff you cee kay. I think it’s cute spelled out phonetically like that. And I do believe the word itself has actually found its niche in my wall of etiquette.
The situation is thusways: a TTC passenger, last in line to board the car, is approached too close for comfort by an impatient motorist. Nevermind that this motorist is a couple hours early for rush hour. The passenger begins to vociferously object – not only to the motorist’s proximity to him and the streetcar, but also to his very existence. “Who the fuck do you think you are!? You’re nobody!”
*****very long sidenote alert******
I am awfully grateful to have my nose shoved in this book or that all the time. It has spared me the incoherent conversational stylings of a red-faced gentleman dressed like a cross between Jimmy Buffet(?)t and Hunter S. Thompson. I will call him Hunter S. Buffet, but only that once. He reeks of shit and a 40oz. This means my journal has inadvertantly earned me the opportunity to study him indirectly, and the chance to more fully examine the nature of his story: something to do with the innocence of his daughter, and the soul-saving importance of wallets. Instead of to me, he tells his story to a sallow 12-year-old-girl, who is lugubriously nursing a Diet Coke and attempting to decide if this stranger rhymes with ‘danger’. Her stop comes up before she decides and he cheerily bids her, ‘Take care!’ He tells me then (as his stop is next and he has been eyeing my flying hands even now as they take down this dictation) that I’ve written more in the past few minutes than he has his entire life.
“You know what,” he tells me, “I’m going to go do that now. I really mean it.”
“Well, get to it,” say I, truly feeling that anyone who sets pen to paper will add to the collective literary mind, no matter how indirectly.
Anyway, the beginning to this blather was about the speed at which information travels, and my example of the screaming passenger and motorist had a point, which is this: within seconds of its transpiring, a woman called someone up on her cell-phone to relay every little detail of it.
“It’s the LAW,” she says noisily to the clearly ignorant sot on the other end, “to stay TWO METRES BEHIND when the car is stopped.”
Good heavens, I thought. It’s good we have people like her around to tell us what’s what, else we’d never learn lessons like that. Reading my mind, the elderly lady seated in front of me turns and says,
“I’m glad I wasn’t driving. I didn’t know I had to stay two metres behind the bus.”