Monday, October 15, 2007

Riding the Rocket

Here in Toronto I am faced everyday with an inapporpriate nickname: The Rocket. The Rocket is what the TTC (our lovely public transportation) calls itself.

Now, rockets are characterized by a certain thrust, thanks to the ejection of fast moving fluids. Rockets are fast, sexy beasts. Who wouldn't want to be compared to them?

But comparisons should be reasonable...or at least remotely possible. On most days, however, calling the TTC "The Rocket" is like calling this guy "Tiny".

The TTC, often billed as "The Better Way", in reality usually "The Only Way", or else "My Car Wouldn't Start" or "Fuck, it's Raining", is not so much a rocket but an expensive, unreliable way to maybe get to where you're basically going, eventually. And sometimes not even that.

But I still have love for the TTC. I love the ding ding of the streetcar, the fact that the bus seats are so high my feet don't touch the ground, the varied, blurred artwork of the subway stations as you speed by.

But mostly it's the people-watching. $2.75 is a steep price to pay for being late to your appointments, but it's an excellent bargain for an afternoon of entertainment. And who wouldn't be entertained when 2 drunk guys get on the bus singing The Hockey Song and spend most of their commute rolling down the aisle? Or when the driver keeps a running commentary of all the "jerk drivers" who "nearly" kill him "all the feckin time". Or when everyone boarding the subway in the morning has the same look on their faces when sniffing the damp, musty smell of newly "cleaned" seats. Priceless.

I love how every subway car reliably has at least one person who is sleeping (like, really, snoringly, head-bobbingly sleeping), one person who is praying (like, really, devotedly, rosary-wieldingly praying), and 18 discarded coffee cups rolling around the floor leaving swirling, sticky puddles in their wake. And then a smattering of mothers yelling at their kids to stop licking the chrome, business drones clutching briefcases for dear life, shifty-eyed men rubbing their crotches conspicuously, and a guy taking up 3 seats trying to wrap a gift without the benefit of scissors or tape in between the Queen and Wellesely stops while juggling his cellphone and a cinnabon. Good times.

Keep on rockin the Rocket, Toronto.

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