Christmastime in the Emerald City

By now we should all know that I love animals. What sane individual would transform the itty bitty bedroom of an already itty bitty apartment into a wire-free, outlet-free, toxic-free safehaven for four bunnies? This girl. I don’t love all animals though. My cats were smelly assmonkeys. All my life I’ve loved cats, lived in houses full of them, but as soon as I rescue a pair of my own they turn out to be the whiniest, smelliest sonsofbitches you ever did see. I loved them enough to make sure they’d be taken care of elsewhere, but out the door they had to go, followed by rounds and rounds of detoxicating bleach and the disposal of about half my wardrobe.

Fucking cats.

I also dislike small dogs. Lapdogs, to be more precise. Because despite Paris Hilton and her dog-in-a-handbag trend, Chihuahua’s aren’t really the kind of dog you’d describe as a lapdog. They’re kind of…bony? Being a lapdog has less to do with breed or even stature, but more to do with whining, clinging, yippy spoiled behaviour more commonly seen in your elderly woman’s terrier. I call these ridiculously overloved little shits “Mother In Law Dogs.” You have to pretend to love them, don’t you? But when it comes right down to it, every little squeak out of their traps makes you kind of want to puke.

Their owners are worse. My grandmother, not the awesome one, used to share her ice cream with her damned dog. I wish I were joking. I don’t know what the hell happened – she used to be a perfectly sane women with a house full of about twenty something cats before they got that damn dog. My mother and her brother have long been convinced that their mother would have left the money, house, everything to that little brat except they’ve all outlived it.

My parents have fallen into this trap. Not my mother, who is well versed in the idea that if you’re eating knock off Mac’n’Cheese there’s no way in hell the fucking cat is getting name brand. My father and stepmother, a well established pair in a nicely appointed renovated house, decided about a year or so ago that they would purchase an $800 puppy from a local breeder they found at the mall. It’s a shi-tzu poodle mix. Literally, a shitpoo.

I’ve got issues with paying $800 for a dog while hundreds are dying in shelters, but whatever. Some people want purebreds I guess. Or almost purebreds. But this past weekend put things a little further beyond that.

This past weekend, the parentals were off for a drive to pick up my sister from her yearly bout of Pioneer Camp. They couldn’t bring the dog. Something about how if they stopped along the way, one of them would always have to stay with the dog while the others went inside, and this wouldn’t be very fun. Leaving a small dog in the car with the windows slightly down for twenty minutes on a very comfortably cool overcast day is an apparent cruelness. I call it “owning a dog”. Either way, they needed me to make the trek out to their place to let the dog out to pee sometime during the day and were willing to leave $25 on the table for my time.

Normally this would be super fab. A bit of almost-free money, spend an hour in front of the Nintendo-Wii, enjoy the home wi-fi, kick my feet up for a bit and let the little fuzzball out back for a bit. The dog is annoying, but one can’t generally be annoyed to death, no big deal. This weekend, however, it was a huge fucking deal. In all his godly wisdom, Murphy kicked me in the face with this shitty Law that’s been hanging around for a while, and I ended up with a ridiculously dysfunctional Sunday afternoon.  

It was suggested that I arrive at about 12:30 for the dog’s initial exodus to the backyard. This requires me to leave my house at about 11:40. Yeah, they’re nice and conveniently located on the subway line, except their particular stop is at the easternmost point, in ghetto-dreaded Scarborough. I live slightly west of right downtown, where everything you see below is in walking distance. And Toronto is a very wide city. It’s a long trip.


Toronto also stretches north, for about half an hour on the subway line until it ends at what we downtowners consider the end of the universe. This northernmost point is the general proximity of my work. (I don’t have a problem giving these stalkerlicious facts out, by the way, because ‘North Toronto’ is huge and you’d have to be a retard to try and find me.)

This is North Toronto, or as us downtowners call it, Fucking Ugly:

This northernmost point is also where I had removed both of my parents sets of keys from my rapidly growing set of work and home keys, and stuffed them in my desk drawer for oh-so-convenient safekeeping. Fantastic. So now I have to take a 45 minute trip to the middle of nowhere north to fetch my keys, and then reverse my ass back to central toronto only to transfer and take another 45 minute trip to the middle of nowhere east. Fanfuckingtastic. I love doubling my travel time to a destination I really don’t care about, how about you folks? *big enthusiastic smarmy thumbs up*

The subways are broken. Three stops short of the end of the line where I need to be. They’ve broken out the shuttle busses, so you know its bad. Well fuck it, I’m not waiting for a cramped and smelly shuttle bus. I used to live in Scarborough, I know the bus routes. Or so I apparently think, because whatever platform I went to I have no idea what bus that was. I know what bus it was supposed to be. It was supposed to traverse south Scarborough and graze the neighbourhoods by the bluffs before heading north and reconnecting with the subway at the end of the line. But that’s not what bus it was. It was the bus that navigates every individual side street down by the bluffs before going right back to the same motherfucking station, thereby adding ANOTHER FORTY FIVE MINUTES TO MY TRIP!!! Grar!

Why didn’t I get off? Because I’m in fucking Scarborough. There aren’t any cabs, the bus is the only way to get anywhere. We’re not even near the subway line where this bus is going, and this bus is the only way to get back to it. I could have gotten off and connected with the bus that was going where I was supposed to be. But given that it’s Sunday and the service in Scarborough is shitty, the wait time could have made the trip just as long. That and it’s pouring.

Mmmmm. Scarborough.

On top of this, I’m so blindsided by raging fury and the effort it takes to not lose my shit in these circumstances that I get my subway-expert ass turned around and get on the wrong fucking train. Sure. Why not?

It’s three o’clock by the time I actually stumble, half soaked into my dad’s house. The dog is waiting cross-legged at the door, and rushes outside to take a teeny, tiny, miniscule, solitary squirt. Back in the kitchen, I am greeted with three full voicemails on the machine with instructions on how to care for the dog and tips on unlocking the new patio door that I have no intention of even looking at. I also stumble upon the dogs grooming schedule, taped to the fridge door with appointments made until the end of the year. An hour of collecting my wits later and I’m rummaging through my old coat closet to find a jacket with a hood, sans-umbrella as I am. The coat doesn’t quite fit, and does very little for the part of me that gets wettest – my feet, in their summer slip ons, sloshing through the bacteria-ridden wasteland that is the backed-up mess at the foot of the stairs into this shitty, shitty subway station, incidentally known for stabbings.

For a few brief moments as it leaves Scarborough, the subway line ascends above ground. There is light and trees before diving back underground for the ninety minute trip to the next above ground station way out in the west end of what probably isn’t even considered Toronto by that point. Above ground, briefly, but long enough to see that as soon as I left Scarborough it had stopped raining.

Well fuck this, ladies and gentlemen. Downtown, the subway is the way to go. Fast, convenient, affordable, clean, even trendy. But no way in hell am I taking the subway to Scarborough ever again.

Besides, with a damn mother-in-law dog that tiny, I bet you wouldn’t even notice a piddle on the rug.

Stupid dog.


et cetera