Sunday, February 11, 2007

It is amazing what one can find on the Internet. I live in the only white building in this picture, on the second floor. All the houses on this street are Victorian and it's very quiet. Six trillion dogs but I've never yet heard one bark. I guess dogs that cost an arm and a leg don't bark. And the other picture is taken at Riverdale Park which is only a few blocks from where I live. And I live smack dab in downtown Toronto. Five or six blocks from Bay Street. In Riverdale Park is the Riverdale Farm which has all the farm animals one could want to see. One can wander around the place for free and check out the horses, pigs, llamas, cows, chickens, etc. And it's never crowded, even in the summer. And it's a five minute walk from my place. Maybe ten for me.
I've lived in this general area for over twenty-five years and I wouldn't live anywhere else in Toronto. I live a block from Parliament Street which is kind of similar to Creston's Canyon Street. Even the buildings are similar. One gets to know the local merchants and it has quite a small-town atmosphere about it. This area is called Cabbagetown and I do believe it is one of the oldest areas in all of Canada. One unique thing about Cabbagetown is that it has both the poorest and wealthiest people living in it. Three blocks from where I live, there is a huge, ugly apartment complex where a lot of immigrants live. But it works more or less. I'm not afraid of walking down the street over there at 2am. Of course, I've never tested the theory out, since I'm in bed by 9pm. And of course there are gangs and violence erupts sometimes, but it's not that bad. My library is in St. Jametown which is where the ugly apartment complexes are and it is also a community centre and it works. They have a gym there and I see all these kids having fun. They are loud but they are having fun. Maybe my glasses are too rose-coloured but I kind of think that having that library/community centre in the middle of the poorest section of town is a good idea.
However, what is the population of Toronto? Three or four or five million? It gets tiresome just to live here, I have nothing to complain about but it's closing in on me. I need to see real mountains, not like Banff, but those that surround Creston. I remember living at Dad's when I was growing up and thinking: "I love those mountains, they aren't too imposing, they suit me" Even then I was strange.
One could ask: "how good will uncle don be at living in Creston?" A question that begs for an answer. He has no idea. He won't unpack for the first couple of months. And almost everyone will annoy him he assumes. What's the tallest building in Creston? Whatever it is he will be jumping off it. He hopes it will be tall enough so that pain won't be involved when he lands. Do you know what uncle don wants more than anything? I'm going to regret this. BBQ'ing on Kev and Anita's deck surrounded by family. Not my family, Lindsay Lohan's family.
I sometimes wonder if you all ever get me. Perhaps everyone at work comes to me to finish their crosswords. The truth is that I have spent so much time doing them, nothing to do with brains. I have a different kind of brain that's all. Roy and Me are similar (I'm the nice one who doesn't need a nap every five minutes). Roy is more overt than I am in his quest for quietude. Bob needs his solitude. And I definitely do. But all three of us need family. I'm slightly beyond that but maybe not. This Storm Blog is probably the proof of the pudding that I need family too.
And of course ger comes into the fore again. Being with Roy and Justin and Shawna and Karri was quite nice.
And of course when I move out there, things will change: "uncle don, you are quite annoying, we didn't know that before you moved here" "I haven't uttered a word yet" "and we've decided that you can't gaze into the sunset" "can I breathe?" "see, it's all about you" "ger?" "what?" "I'm going to spread your body parts across southern B.C. and sever your head from your bod and then look at your brain under a miscroscope and analyze it for life formation" "what will you do with Jim's brain?" "I'm glad you asked, do you think he'll notice when his head is missing?" "probably not" "I'll put his head in a shrine" "a jitsui shrine?" "whatever, it will be in a shrine" "what about Kev?" "whom?" "Kev" "you mean the person who is going to cry out in agony while I transplant his liver to his left inner ear drum?" "that would be the one" "I'm hoping his screams won't wake up the neighbours"
"Uncle Don, why are you carrying that noose around?" "I'm looking for a rafter to hang myself from" "why?" "to kill myself" "why do you want to kill yourself?" "because it's February and I find fault with everything and everybody" "everybody?" "yes, If Mother Teresa was alive I'd give her a piece of my mind" "anyone else your annoyed at?" "my family" "I thought you loved your family" "normally but even they can be annoying in the last few weeks of February" "even Gail?" "maybe not Gail, although if she lost her curling game, then maybe even her" "Donna?" "okay Donna is exempt from my ire" "Robin?" "he's exempt" "Kevin?" "exempt" "Ger" "exempt" "I thought you were mad at your family" "Well maybe not, but I am getting tired of this cold weather and I think my bod needs warmth" "do you miss biking?" "perhaps....a little bit" "uncle don, remember that day in May last year when there was no wind, there was not a cloud in the sky and the birds were chirping and you felt alive and you wanted to hug the world?" "yes" "it'll never happen again, I see a rafter yonder"

"I think I told Jimmy that I'm never going canoeing in my lifetime or anyone else's" "he understands that you tend to go insane at this time of year" "I told him that his body is going to be strung from the mountaintops" "he understands" "and I think I mentioned he's not the greatest cook in the world" "you went overboard uncle don" "do you think he'll forgive me?" "this could take a while". "I didn't mean it"

"you know uncle don, several (if not all) of your nieces and nephews think you are crazy" "yay, they don't know the half of it, I'm a lot more crazy than they realize" "you keep it well hidden" "I must" "I think they detect something" "they are on to me?" "perhaps" "I like to be mysterious" "mysterious?" "a touch above it all" "are you crazy?" "someone has to be" "in Creston, that's not going to work baby" "it will be a challenge" "hello, uncle don meet ger" "I said it would be a challenge". "uncle don meet kevin" "a challenge is good" "uncle don meet jim" "it's not insurmountable" "uncle don meet justin" "okay so I'll be swept up in the maelstrom". "I'll retain my dignity somehow" "Tyler will pass you a toke and you will eventually accept it and make a fool of yourself for quite some time" "will my dignity be intact?" "no, not even close." "hmm, I have to think about this, I have the Storm clan dignity to uphold, so I must be careful" "within a month when you move out there I guarantee you, you will be strumming your guitar and singing to a tree" "where will my dignity be?" "lost" "kaput" "gonzo" "invisible" "no, I'm above that, ger will look after me" "whom?" "ger" "perhaps" "jim?" "perhaps" "kev" "perhaps" "I will need someone to look after me a little, just a wee touch" "and where are you going?" "Creston" "good luck".

Of course I'm kidding about all the above. I've spent thirty years in downtown Toronto, I should be okay. That is a long time, I've got a lot of memories.