There seemed, I observed today, to be nothing more female than bra-shopping with your friends. Of course, there was also nothing more boring, especially if they kept shooting down your suggestions for blue lace and electric pink ribbon, and stuck instead to white cotton. Bah.
Joined up later by a far more pragmatic friend who immediately made the sharp observation that we had bought nothing -- I excluded as I had been along in the sole role of visual consultant -- we made our goodbyes. My new companion and I then strolled to Yorkville to keep an appointment with yet another; while she pedalled her way closer, we explored a ridiculously overpriced retro toy store.
Madonna's children, evidently, had been in the same store as we, their mother being in town for a few shows. I only realized when we were leaving, with a stylishly dressed man stopping us to ask what the commotion was, and my friend explained. That accounted for the other man -- on a red scooter -- who had been snapping photos of what I thought was an ordinary storefront. While we lounged on a rock, waiting, he managed to round the block twice more before seeming to finally have shot off to have his photos bronzed and framed, or some other. We watched as swirls of curious star-gazers came by and left slightly dazed and excited, even having seen essentially nothing.
To pass the time, we fawned over the wonder that was Cecil Adams of Straight Dope fame, and fretted over the recent disappearance of Peter Mansbridge and Ian Hanomansing from CBC Television. (If you have any information...)
Friends, a meal, a movie, a snack, conversation and laughter -- the day ended well. We all parted ways; I made my way to Donlands station via subway, to catch the connecting bus for the last leg of my journey.
Once there, too late I discovered that the last bus left at 10:30 PM, an absurdly early time, for the absurdly underused and therefore underserviced station. It was 10:39 PM. I was, in a word, stranded.
As, in that rather shortsighted practise of hindsight, I silently ran through my day snipping away seconds here and there so I could have arrived nine and a half minutes earlier, I picked up the payphone receiver and called home, to request a ride. My tone was of building confidence; my father had never failed to come through before.
My mother shook my world. "He's not back from work yet."
"Well, can I walk home then?"
"You're not walking home."
"It's a quiet street." And you know what I think about quiet streets, we both thought simultaneously. Honestly the chances of my being raped were quite slim, and as a plain girl with a negligible chest, they were slimmer still. But wisely I had wasted no breath attempting to explain the magic of statistics to my mother.
"What's the payphone number?" she asked.
"The payphone number."
I reluctantly read the number to her.
"All right. When he gets home, I'll call you."
"I'll call you."
Too shocked to protest, I agreed to stay put, and hung up. After fifteen minutes of jitterily watching the payphone, however, totally terrified of looking extremely stupid -- in my mind -- to perhaps a total of two people, including the dozing toll collector, I phoned her back.
"Can I just take the subway back to Yonge, switch down to Queen, and catch the streetcar home?"
There was a moment. "Yes, that would be acceptable. If you don't want to wait for your father."
"I don't wanna." It was, in fact, inevitable that my father was about to arrive home just about any moment and be able to pick me up in five minutes flat. But somehow I felt I could not risk such a sure bet. Besides, I had been so wired up for the last quarter hour or so that now I had a desire for a little night ride. "Bye, then."
I was travelling backwards.
Steppenwolf accompanied me for most of the journey, while I stared at a spot on the empty chair across from me. Luckily no one took it for the rest of the way; I surely would have stared at his or her crotch for minutes without the slightest realization.
Two young men napped on either side of the doors -- one with his head tipped backwards, the other with his mouth open in an O as he slept. Another glanced at me occasionally; I smiled when he looked away. A couple shared grapes and laughed.
A sensation of languidness washed over me, as I succumbed to sheer physical and mental fatigue.
At Yonge-Bloor, a late-night crew was changing the ads. Half the station watched in fascination -- in fact, two Indian businessman stood as quite a matter-of-fact audience -- as they wiped down the plastic windows, opened the front of the light-boxes, and replaced the large sheet of heavy plastic printed with advertisements of cats and snowy white ducks.
At Queen, I lumbered onto the streetcar and slid next to an open window. I leaned back, and turned my face towards the street.
A man was taking me home, with no less than professional intentions (perhaps a minor minus). I was tucked up in my seat, my temple rested against the window frame -- the wind blew cool on my cheeks and ruffled through my hair. The rain-washed streets, still damp, smelled fresh, metallic, and earthy. The streetcar speeded along at a regular, constant rhythm, in the water-filled tracks. I closed my eyes. Glorious.
posted at 1:10:51 am
2. As "Americana" defines itself as artefacts of American culture, "Gloriana" consists of the artefacts of my culture.
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