Toronto the Dysfunctional

Toronto exists in dysfunction. Like, seriously, the longer I live here the less I understand how this city hasn’t up and imploded yet. Nothing here makes sense. Consider the driving, long mentioned as one of the city’s more notoriously bad features. I spent eight months living a stone’s throw from the New Jersey Turnpike, a road noted for its reckless drivers; moreover, I’ve also driven into the heart of midtown Manhattan, been a passenger in cars travelling along English backroads, learned how to drive in a city where incidents of drunk driving must surely be at world record levels…so believe me when I say I’ve seen my share of bad driving. But this city is in a league of its own–we’re talking the divide between the NFC and the AFC in the early 90s here. Can anybody in Toronto operate a motor vehicle without treatening a national state of emergency? Is the concept of a stop line that difficult to comprehend? When you see large deposits of snow, does it not make sense to avoid them, rather than getting stuck in them and looking more embarassed than Prince Harry in a synagogue? Does a red light mean stop, go, or go fast enough to kill everybody within a ten-foot radius of your car? These are just some of the questions I feel the average Toronto driver is ill-equipped to answer correctly. I’ve long considered myself to be a good driver, or at least a capable one; here, however, I’m like Michael Schummacher racing a bunch of kids down at the go kart track. It’s sort of a good feeling…well, until I find myself thrown into the middle of an intersection because the dumbass behind me couldn’t differentiate between a red and green light.

No specific incident brought this rant on, by the way. Actually, if anything, I was inspired to write it after one of those stupid sidewalk occurences that are becoming a part of my daily routine. You know the kind I’m talking about: where you’re walking behind a person who all of a sudden, without warning or reason, jacks on the breaks and causes you to slam right into them. I had one this morning as I was embarking on a typically hellish Tuesday at U of T. The trouble was, he was large enough–and the sidewalk narrow enough, what with the unusual amount of snow we’ve gotten here in the past week–that I couldn’t negotiate my way around him. Instead, I had to follow suit and jack on the breaks myself, then wait as he let not one but two streetcars go past. Nobody lets streetcars go past–nobody. Bri and I were talking last night about the implicit rules of the honeymoon phase of a relationship, and I feel as though not letting streetcars go by you is one of the implicit rules of living in Toronto. It’s bad enough getting caught behind a streetcar when you’re driving; is it asking too much for them not to interrupt my walking, as well?

Boy, am I ever hard done by…

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