I didn’t get out much today. It was really bitterly cold here in the city. I snuck out for a sandwich in the afternoon, but besides that, I busied myself inside. It’s times like this when I can’t imagine what it’s like to be living on the city streets. -15 and you are, by the defacto law of the streets, charged with keeping your body (and perhaps your possessions) through the cold to the next day. And even then you’re not going to much like what you’ll find (more coldness).
It reminds me of a time before I lived in the city. It was December, or January or February. Likely either of the latter. I was at a dance-thing which went from 10pm(?) to 10am (I think… it was definitely night to morning). Anyways, my legs were killing me after about 7 or so hours, and for whatever reason I thought it was time to get to the train station. I guess I figured I could grab a bus or wait there? I ended up spending the last of my cash on the cab to the train station. The train station wasn’t open. The ttc wasn’t open either. I was like 19 or 21 and I didn’t have and more money on me. I didn’t quite know the city well enough yet.
So…so I decided that it wasn’t that cold and that I could walk north to my office (at that time I worked at an office downtown). My plan was to sign in and crash at my desk. It was a perfect plan. Along the way up Bay street (from Front) I was met with an eerie sight. The moon filled the carless core labyrinth a muted blue-grey that seemed to make everything dimly visible. Everywhere around the road and sidewalks there were strewn bodies. Bodies wrapped in white and … well lots of shades that looked mostly the same under the city-filtered moonlight. Blue-grey steam rose from beneath some. None moved. I just manned up and quietly walked up the sidewalk.
Soon I came to be walking in the direction of a figure coming toward me. About 2 blocks beneath Queen street, the person was passing me. It was a man with slick black bangs, a giant yellow-brown fur coat (very furry), holding a gas canister.
The man asked me “Mr. do you have any money? Please? We ran out of gas, my family”.
Of course, I didn’t have any money even for myself, much less this spooky individual. I replied “I’m sorry, I don’t have anything”, and I walked by him.
I proceeded another 5 or 7 steps before looking over my shoulder to see the man, his giant Eastern-European fur coat, and his gas cannister walking away from me slowly. I looked forward and then back again. This time he was facing me and making good speed with his wide-stride legs.
“Please! Please, my family! They’re trapped in the car” the man said as he pursued. I told him to call the police if the family was stuck in the car and he yelled back something to the effect that the police wouldn’t help. Of course by this time I was running. Balled up fists, I made my way from the sidewalk, and into the centre of the street. By the time the stinging cold meat of my running legs got me to Bay & Queen, just south East of City Hall, I saw my first vehicle (a taxi, thank Gord) and frantically waved it down.
I don’t remember if he was close behind, but I do remember jumping in, slamming the door and telling him to get the hell out of there. I don’t remember how I worked things out with the cabby either. He dropped me off at the office. I had a quick & quasi-suspicious hello with the security guard and made it to my desk for a sleep. In the end I woke in time for the train. Took it home and went to bed for good that time.
What did I learn from the experience? I guess I learned that shit gets real on the street and people will chase you with gas canisters, dressed in fur.
Anyways… tomorrow is January 3rd and the IOWA caucus is set to select someone for their bid in the republican presidential nomination. The ‘contestants’ range from fringe-mainstream to mainstream-mainstream in one camp, and another, completely removed camp occupied by Ron Paul.
It’s funny to see Ron Paul counted among the other republicans. It’s a democracy, so people are encouraged to vote for who they want to lead them. At the same time, it is a state that functions in a certain way. And so to allow people to vote to fundamentally change (or undermine) the orderly functions of the state is… well, maybe implicitly not allowed. So will Ron Paul win the Iowa caucus tomorrow? He could and I think it would be funny/exciting, but there may have been enough mainstream republicans that decided Santorum is a more party-favoured selection.
To elect Ron Paul as the republican candidate would seriously challenge Obama, at the same time that would be akin to the members of a clubhouse electing a leader who wants to take down the sign, kick everyone out of the clubhouse, and tell everyone to eat grass because it’s good for them… Being outside and grass-fed may very well be good for the members… but it also takes the damn fun out of having a clubhouse in the first place. It is upon this that the Republicans really ought to select Romney or someone else boring who can get elected and keep the course straight & steady. (I assume the straight & steady course being blame the Democrats.)
Either way it should be fun. Ron Paul ftw.