Christmastime in the Emerald City

{July 19, 2007}   Another Night in My Fair City

So my entries generally tend to be angry. This is mostly because I’m having too much fun living life to bother writing about it. I only write when I get angry because it generally keeps me from breaking things. I can’t afford to buy new things, you see. But once in a while, something will happen that amuses me so greatly, that I feel the need to share it, if only to remind myself of it later.

A few nights ago, my friend Talea and I were invited out for a quick beer on our way home from work. We obliged and had a lovely chat. Upon standing up and heading back to the subway, we both found ourselves unexpectedly inebriated. Two beers is not very much. Two beers consumed very quickly after having not eaten since noon…is. Suffice it to say, the ride home was fun.

We conversed about the girly things in life and growing up, and the differences in her small-town family and my let’s-talk-about-everything slightly white trash family, giggling all the while. Subway rides are good for that, especially when you don’t care who’s listening.

Now, one may think this would make me a hypocrite, as I normally hate overhearing other people’s conversations on the subway – I thank my overly polite Canadian upbringing for not having enough courage to yell SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP! GOD, NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR YEAST INFECTION OR BORING JOB, OR YOUR STUPID HIGHSCHOOL BITCH-DRAMA. SHUT UP!

However, I do enjoy overhearing conversations when they are genuinely funny. Overhearing two boys, just enough younger than me to be called boys, casually remarking that anybody who can’t follow the ‘walk left, stand right’ rule on the escalator should be physically assaulted is the sort of thing that makes my day. Here in Toronto, we are likely to strike up conversations with complete strangers on topics such as these. At any rate, I think our conversation was rather enjoyed by the people around us.

About two-thirds of the way home, I noticed Talea’s thumb was rather oddly bent backwards over her index knuckle. I began to inquire as to the manner in which she had accomplished this. Was she double-jointed? Because I am, I informed her, and promptly began to snap my left thumb backwards at horrible angles. No, she said, she wasn’t double-jointed, and would I please stop demonstrating the fact that I was.

From this point on, we continued the self-testing barrage of physical anomalies and quirks. Talea eventually brought up the Vulcan sign. Can you do this? she asked, and began demonstrating as follows: beginning with ones pinky and ring fingers spread far from the middle and index fingers (a la Vulcan), then switching, so as to bring the middle and ring fingers together, spreading the index and pinkies as far away as possible (like a ‘W’, though not quite the ridiculous ‘west side’ sign).

Try this, and then switch back and forth rapidly. Apparently, some people can not do this. I found no difficulty whatsoever. Neither did Talea. Soon around us, we began to notice other subway patrons attempting this same maneuver. Included in these apparent festivities were a slightly-middle aged man and his son. Look, said Talea, that little boy can’t do it!

I was flabbergasted, and continued to make these gestures rapidly, unable to understand what was so difficult about it. The man and his son laughed. Like Vulcans! the man said. We are making like Vulcans! Broken English is so amusing.

So eventually we arrived at my station and I stood up to exit. Well, not my usual station, I had to take a faster way home, expecting company (to go drinking, no less!). I got off at the Yonge-Bloor interchange. I generally dislike this station. Rather, I hate it with a passion. It’s noisy, it’s crowded, it’s smelly, it’s poorly designed, and all the freaks come out to play and run into each other. But whatever; I was in a rather giddy mood, and I’ve learned to position myself along the cars when getting on the train so that I’ll be closest to where I need to be when I get off the train. So it’s no big deal. I waved good-bye to Talea, gathered up my belongings, and left.

Unsurprisingly, as it is a main exchange station where the good majority of any train will depart, the Vulcan enthusiasts got off here as well. I however, even in my tipsy stupor, had moved on to other thoughts, such as what I would order for dinner with my friends, and would my apartment be clean enough. They, on the other hand, were still on this Vulcan kick.

It really wasn’t about Vulcans. I’ve never really even seen an episode of Star Trek, save for a few The Next Generation episodes. The hand gestures were a test of ones dexterity. But no, to them, I had opened a can of Vulcan whoop-ass. Vulcans! they cried enthusiastically to the unfazed passerby of Freak Central Station. All Vulcans get off here! Vulcans, all Vulcans!

Okay, thought I. Now things are a little too strange for comfort. I scooted ahead with my head down, trying to get far enough ahead of them that they wouldn’t be able to call me back to delight in our apparently shared enthusiasm for the geekdom of yore. I rushed ahead blindly. Obviously, this will always be a mistake, when surrounded by the odd, the fat, the elderly, the weird and the generally slow. I nearly ran smack dab into a little old lady in a blue dress and a wig, fishing through the garbages and no doubt smelling of urine.

Oh bloody hell, I muttered to myself. At this point, I could only be amused. I darted further ahead, still aware of the nigh-approaching neo-Vulcans with their flashing yet inept fingers. Down the stairs I went to the westbound trains, figuring I might as well look forward to whatever shopping-cart pushing oddity awaits me below.

After all, when I figure out how to double the admission to the Yonge-Bloor station solely for it’s freak appeal, the TTC is going to be indebted to me forever.


Talea says:

Yeah, it really wasn’t about the Vulcans. It was just the communal subway talk that occurs in Toronto, which I love. I love how half the train was flicking their fingers around. It was awesome. I totally started it too.

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