Archive for May, 2007|Monthly archive page

Summer in Toronto

The post below this one belongs to my favorite genre of posts, the Self-Pity Post. Isn’t it fun to read those? Well, fuck it. I felt frustrated and needed to get it out. But hey, let’s try to be a little more positive, or at least more cheerful, shall we?

It’s summer in Toronto, and I have nothing to wear. That is probably the gayest thing I have ever written. No, really, I left all my summer wardrobe in Israel because the suitcase was packed full of sweaters and large, bulky winter shirts, not to mention that stupid 400 shekels suede jacket I bought as if I was planning to go to movie premiers every week-

Oh, I’m doing it again. Ok, I’ll try to be positive. Think… concentrate… smile… alright, take two:

It’s summer in Toronto. and I’m buying summer shirts. For some reason, I found myself with three striped shirts. Someone told me that stripes make me look wider. So now I have three striped shirts. How about some variety, ah? Just call me Merril Stripe. So I went and bought a shirt that says “Kiss me, I’m Irish”.
Alright, I give up, I have no sense of fashion whatsoever. It’s hopeless. I might as well-

Arrr! I’m doing it again. I have to be more positive. Enough with these boring rants already!
Ok, here we go. Concentrate, breath deep…

It’s summer in Toronto. And it’s so fucking hot sometimes…

It’s Summer in Toronto. People are chirping, birds are smiling, and the squirrels are running to and fro, carefree and happy. It’s a strange weather, dry but pleasent, but they say that it gets pretty sticky around August-
Alright! I give up! I mean, I’m talking about the weather here, people. What can be more BORING than the weather?!

Can we talk about something else please?

It’s summer.

In Toronto. 

I’m hopeless, aren’t I? 

Being green

Well, I’ve been here a month now. Came on the train from New York City on a chilly April morning. We crossed the entire state of New York in a ten hour trip. It was pretty amazing. 
I spent the first few days in Toronto at a luxury condominium (for free!) after helping some Israeli guy I met on the Net (no, not on Jdate!) to move some furniture up there. That same guy helped me find the current apartment I’m staying at, until I’ll find a more permanent one, inside the city of Toronto. It was meant to be a temporary thing. Just for a week or so. It’s been a month already.

A month. A whole month have passed here in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Actually, It’s really a nice place. Very green, very quiet. Pretty houses, children on bicycles, families in the park, birds chirping… zzzzzz.

Oh, sorry. I fell asleep there for a minute. The truth is that you really need a car here in order to live a normal life. The nearest grocery store is a 20 minute walk. It’s really insane. It takes me two hours to get to work. I first have to walk to the bus station. That’s 20 minutes right there. The trip itself, to the outskirts of Toronto, takes about half an hour. Then I take the subway to downtown. That’s another 30 minutes. And then I can either walk 15 minutes or wait and take the streetcar. all in all, it takes me almost two hours to get to work, and then two hours again to get back to the land of Far Far Away.
Add to that the fact that I live in a basement with no real windows and you have to ask yourself what the hell am I still doing here. But let’s not beat the apartment thing again. It’s starting to get boring.

Let’s see some pictures instead!

Continue reading

Full House

Roommates? Basements? Sublets? What’s the better option?

The Human Race has pondered these age old questions since the beginning of time itself. Is there anything more unnatural than sharing your living space with total strangers, living underground like a mole, or leave your precious possessions in the hands of who-knows-who?

The first documented case of strangers sharing the same living space has reportedly took place at 505 BC in the small Greek village of Terana, where a man named Lisaris shared his furnished three bedroom hut with two women who came all the way from Crete to watch the Olympic Games. Polakis, the village poet, noticed the strange event and wrote a famous poem about it translated freely as “Who used all the hot water?”  Exactly why Lisaris decided to make this bold act has been lost long ago in the mists of ancient history.
We do not know how much the women paid or how long they stayed, though it is safe to assume they went away after the games were over.

Another famous example of early room sharing occurred in the year 12 AD in Germania, when the Teutonic warlord Grappa the Bold rented a room at his clay duplex in The-Middle-Of-The-Forest street No. 11 for 60 Sesterce a month (equivalent to approx. 200,000 US dollars), including utilities, to a young stone mason named Archard (Archie). It was said the earth shook that day when the tribes discovered their leader is in a financial strife. It could well be that this event has caused a major shift with regard to the fate of Europe’s ancient tribes.

Basements. Nowhere is the scale system more evident than in the basement rental world. while the rich live in the front, with big windows facing the view, the poor are relegated to live in the back yard, underground, like they were all Counts of Monte Cristos. One just need to bring them a bowl of soup once a day and shove it under the door, and then the experience would be complete.

In the year 1775, in the west suburbs of Paris, a Marquis by the name of Rober Filamon was the first person in recorded history to rent out a basement apartment in his Chateau. The basement came complete with iron chains, heavy oak doors and tiny slits for windows (on a good day you could see the pavement), but people so craved to experience the Parisian way of life that they were willing to live anywhere and under any conditions just as long as it is in the city limits. The first tenant had to sign a draconian lease of 20 years occupancy, and has finally won his freedom only when the Marquis was beheaded in the town square 14 years later. According to legend, the Marquis last words were: I DO NOT WISH TO HAVE MY HEAD IN A BASKET!

Subletting is another strange habit. People take their apartment, including everything that is in it, and I mean EVERYTHING, and rent it out to complete strangers for a limited amount of time. People they only just met will be sleeping in their bed, on their sheets, eating from their utensils and doing what ever they like to do. Isn’t subletting the complete invasion of privacy? And it’s done voluntarily, too!

A great example for this would be the case of Sir Ronald Fitzmorris. Sir Fitzmorris, a well respected knight, joined Richard the Lion Heart for the Third Crusade in the year 1189, and subletted his two-bedroom apartment in Dardoranidum Keep for a young couple, just until he will return from his travels. Four years later, when he came back all battered and bruised, expecting: a) to receive his full rent for the sublet, and b) to relax once again in his beloved adobe and find relief for his exhaustion, he found out that the couple, Sarah and Gavin Smith from Hertfordshire, have painted the place in red and pink and turned the living room into a sculpting workshop. Apparently, they thought sir Fitzmorris has perished long ago in the holy land.

They say the punishment that Sir Fitzmorris meted against the insolent subletters for breach of contract has brought, in a very convulated and circular fashion, to the invention of the chastity belt.

Adverse effects on the apartment seeker

Exhaustion. Here’s what it does to you:

1. Last week, I was supposed to start my training at work on Monday. I came on Tuesday. Apparently, I read the diagram of the training plan from left to right instead of from top to bottom.

2. During the the past several weeks (including New York), I have walked 254, 870 miles in total. If you were to put all my travelling in one straight line, it would circle Earth 1.8 times (give or take a mile). As a result, I’ve developed foot pain and today I’ve officially started limping. Those Caterpillar shoes sure has their work cut out for them. Lucky I didn’t get cheap ones!

3. I went to see an apartment. I walked a lot to get to it. I waited on the stairs for half an hour. I thought we made an appointment for Tuesday. Apparently, it was for Thursday. Who decided how to name all these days, anyway?

4. While passing the time towards the meeting-that-was-for-thursday, I went to eat hamburger and fries. I sprinkled salt on it.

It was sugar.

5. At work, I tried to send an e-mail a couple of times and just couldn’t do it. The address book kept popping up. I called someone to help me find what’s wrong.

Note to self: Next time, click on “Send”, not on “To”.

6. I went to see another address. It was at no. 462. the street was very long. The sun was very hot. My mouth was dry and my feet hurt like hell. I stood near no. 100 and had no intention of getting to no. 462 by foot, so I stopped a cab. when we got there we discovered an empty lot. I phoned the guy and asked him what’s the deal. where’s the house?

The house was at no. 146. I took the cab back and stopped one hundred meters from where I first took it. I paid seven dollars to drive up the street and back again, or in other words, I paid seven dollars to advance one hundred meters.

And that’s very symbolic, you know.