Aaand I’m Back.

Hola, homies.

I’m back in the country, slightly sunburned, and completely sluggish. But it was well worth it.

I’ve been asked for pictures and a travelogue. Those will come within the next few days – I’m still trying to get my bearings and shake off the post-vacation lethargy.

Stay tuned.

Gettin’ Out of Dodge

Hey folks,

I realize I haven’t written a whole lot lately.

But that will change … Right after a take a little trip away from the city.

But stay tuned! In roughly a week or so, I promise I will have tales of adventure, comedy and tropical weather!

Well, maybe two of the three, depending on your sense of humour (and whether anything funny actually happens).

If you also happen to be taking a trip, safe travels!

Otherwise, keep warm (and happy Family Day in advance)!

The Tussle over Transit

So I heard all about last week’s city council session, to discuss the fate of the previous council’s transit plan.

I would have spent my commute reading the paper for all the juicy details.

But I was too busy holding my tote bag between my feet, and holding a subway pole to keep from falling over.

Ah, the joys of living close to the downtown core. The commute’s only a third of the time. Occasionally, though, I do miss those times living in the east end, when I could score a seat at Kennedy or Finch, before other passengers started to fill the aisles of the subway trains.

But, you can’t always get what you want.

Perhaps that’s a phrase Mayor Rob Ford should consider.

He seems mighty determined to spend lots of money our city doesn’t really have, to scrap a plan that would bring more routes to the city relatively faster than putting the money into years, possibly decades, of putting subways underground.

And he’s donned his superhero outfit as Champion of Scarborough (and Other Suburbs).

Full disclosure: When I first heard about the previous council’s plans to replace the Scarborough Rapid Transit with streetcars, I wasn’t happy. I was also still living in northern Scarborough, where I had to ride a bus for 20 minutes, so I could reach the closest point on the rapid transit/subway line, and sometimes cram myself into crowded cars in hopes of making it to work on time.

I’ve moved closer to the core. But I still rely on the system to take me into Scarborough to see family. And the subways are just as crowded, if not more so. Something needs to be done. And soon, because I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure if I’m willing to wait years and years for it to be completed. (Hello, Dufferin Street, anyone?)

Do I think Scarborough is in dire need of a better transit situation? Totally. But so do other parts of the city.

Would I prefer to see a subway built? Absolutely. But frankly, I think we’re 27 years too late. The transit unveiling at Kennedy Station in Scarborough on that spring day in March 1985 should have been for new subway stops, not rapid transit.

But due to the events that led the city council of the day to its decision, that’s not what played out.  The city could have already been well on their way to building the transit system of every urban planning nerd’s dream. But I kind of think they blew it.

Times have changed. Things are even more expensive. Cities like ours are struggling to stay afloat financially.

And considering our mayor and his allies have just spent the previous year in office trying to convince residents (or fight them, depending on your perspective), that there’s fat to be trimmed, services to be done away with, that they can’t afford frivolous things … The last thing they should be doing is taking our money, and flinging it at something that a model that – in this current context – doesn’t make sense.

Unless he’s got a tin box with billions buried under some old tree in a country field, below-ground transit is an unrealistic luxury Mayor Ford cannot afford.

And he also needs to stop using Scarborough as the angry sidekick to bolster his case. As a Scarberian, I’d like that part of the city to receive less vitriol and scorn from the rest of Toronto, for a change.

In any case, it’s going to be interesting to see how things play out from here. And whether this time, things will be different … or if bureaucracy and politics will, once again, keep things from moving forward.

A Is For Alfredo

Man, I can’t believe January is over already!

Truth be told, though, the new year has been a bit … off-kilter.

It may have started on New Year’s Eve.

Things were “typical” enough. I attended a friend’s house party, which was completely packed, but still fantastic – just as New Year’s Eve celebrations should be. Some new friends of mine stopped by from another party, and we merry until about 3:30 a.m.

When we left, I presumed we’d either go grab something to eat, or go our separate ways.

Instead, we ended up at this other party (where they’d been earlier). I must say, the vibe, the ambience was unbelieveably random and just … weird.

A couple of us made conversation with this one guy. And a couple others came up to me.

I ended up making conversation with one of them for, like, five or six minutes. From what I could recall, it was small talk. Nothing remarkable.

At around 5 a.m., we finally decided to leave for our friend’s condo. We wished each other a happy new year … and he piped up that we should keep in touch.

Before I knew it, numbers were exchanged, and I was out the door with my friends … and a feeling I was all too familiar with.

If you know about me or anything I’ve written about in the past, it’s that (a) I’m not consistent with the word “no” and (b) I have this problem with NOT being … nice?

After my initial annoyance with myself, I sort of brushed it off, rationalizing that, if anything, he probably wouldn’t call for at least a few days.

Less than 12 hours later, I was puttering around at home, when I noticed a message on my voice mail.

It was the stranger from the party, calling to wish me a happy new year, and hoping that we’d speak soon.

Um. Huh. Ooops.

Just as I was trying to figure out how to suss out the situation, I was hit with a nasty cold virus that had been circulating, a couple of days later.

Before I felt my cold’s full phlegmy fury, though, I turned to a male friend to get a his opinion.

His verdict? This guy wasn’t looking for friendship.

Hmmmm …

Fast forward eight days later. I was alternating between working and keeping my nostrils unblocked. All I wanted to do was sleep. Social texting was the last thing I felt like doing.

Then, The Stranger texted. He was hoping I was having a good year so far.

I texted back that I hadn’t been feeling well, and apologized for not responding sooner.

And that was that. For about two weeks.

Last week, he texted. How was I doing? Was I back to work? Had I seen the movie Haywire?

Last Saturday, he texted while I was out working. He wanted to call me. When was a good time?

And on Sunday evening, he called.

We spoke for about an hour. The conversation was decent. It wasn’t horrible or weird. There just wasn’t anything remarkable about it.

At its conclusion, he suggested we should go and catch a movie, and that he’d call later on in the week.

I don’t know. I mean, he’s a nice guy. And I’m trying to give him a chance. But whatever he might be thinking or feeling, I’m not sure if I’m on the same wavelength.

I brought this up with a friend of mine the other evening. She didn’t think I was leading him on in any way (presumably because we hadn’t gone out yet), and that I should just stop communicating with him, cold turkey. No calls, no texts. Period.

I’m not so sure that’s the right way to handle this. But perhaps I should go to the movies with this guy before I decide for sure what avenue I want to pursue next.