Autumn in South Toronto 

When someone asks you, “When a holiday falls on the weekend, do you celebrate Friday or Monday?” you respond with something like, “Well it depends on which day the actual holiday falls.  I guess if it’s a Saturday, I’d acknowledge it on Friday; Sunday holidays are celebrated Mondays I suppose.”  Your mind never goes to this:

One, because it’s not a holiday, and two, because well, dope that I am, I at first thought she meant actual holiday.  But this?  Sublime.  My friend Christine is one of the most intelligent people I know.  She’s brilliant and witty and talented and clever, and all the more decent because she has to work with me and deal with my moodiness when I brood over the injustices of working in public schools in 2015.  Which happens a lot.  One the upside, she is horrified at my unabashed shamelessness about my “concentrated hobby” which makes for a super fun time for the rest of us.  Horrified though she may be, she lobs in a sweet, fat pitch right down the middle EVERY TIME, and I smash it out of the park.  EVERY TIME.  And then she dies a little inside, turns all red, and laughs so hard she can’t speak for about 7-9 seconds.  It’s fantastic.

It’s not my birthday again, no, yesterday was my favorite singer’s birthday.  And how did YOU mark the occasion?  Yeah, I thought so.  I sent a tweet thanking him for the songs and words that have built friendships with girls around the globe, and I meant those thanks sincerely, but I’m not stinking crazy.  I do understand that I am not actual friends with my favorite band; they don’t email or call or text or tweet me.  I’m awesome, so they totally should, but really.  I’m not all crazy stalker-y, but that’s mainly because I am afraid of prison–I watch Orange is the New Black too.  And also possess all my mental faculties (minus the one that makes me feel sad because my kid has fucking MD, but I don’t think that’s all that absurd all things considered here).  No!  I’m not crazy stalker-y because I am crazy in love with my real life.  I’m better grounded than this blog might lead one to believe. Mostly. 

Anyway, for about a year or so, my husband and I have been toying around with the idea of moving.  It’s nothing more than a lark at this point because we’re poor.  OK, we’re not poor.  I work in the central city, and I know from poverty; we are not poor.  Neither are we as comfortable as we’d hoped to be, but this is old news if you’ve been following my story, so back to the move.  We’ve talked in dreamy sidebars about moving to the mountains or the ocean.  My husband seems to think we’re destined for Portland, Vancouver, Denver, Toronto or the Carolinas (I’ve not been to any of these places except TO), so clearly our plan is in its infancy.  When a certain politician threw his hat in the ring for a bid at the US presidency (hold on, I just threw up in my mouth a little), we felt certain we’d have to emigrate north, so we not entirely jokingly began referring to things around home and at work as South Toronto.  I have a Canadian flag and more pictures of Canadians than my family in my cube, so today is South Toronto Day.  My boss can’t keep a straight face when she sees me, just laughs out loud in my face.  Not an inappropriate response to me. Another colleague just smiles and nods. But the bestest fun is when someone comes over to wish me a happy birthday, and I calmly announce “It’s not my birthday” while Christine and Nicole fall out in laughter.  Me?  Not embarrassed. So Rita from down the aisle comes to my desk, where I couldn’t even sit because I was stunned and awestruck and laughing like the total idiot I am, marginally able to breathe and not snort.  Rita, a lovely woman, asks if my husband knows about the South Toronto Day festivities. And I say of course because he is no stranger to my concentrated hobby, and that my husband is totally cute and I love him lots and that he was 92% totally cool with my celebrity crush.  And yes, mathletes–I understand that 92% is not equal to totally.  But my husband did laugh at me (because who doesn’t?) and at my friend’s “celebration” BECAUSE IT’S FUNNY.  And it’s ridiculous.  And so am I.  And it made me smile and giggle all day long. 

And at the end of South Toronto Day–and it was a rather abrupt end–I got an email from the genetics lab at Emory University with the results from my son’s first round of genetic testing.  I don’t understand one fucking word of the data reported there, and I just do not want to wait until November 30 for our next consultation with the neurologists.  I’m intellectually incapable of parsing through these numbers and letters to construct meaning.  Inadequate merely begins the series of adjectives illustrating how powerless I feel.  I’m certain I am misunderstanding what I see, and every time I read it, it’s nuanced differently for me and it’s a scientific fucking report–there are no nuances.  Why can’t I get it???

Lastly there’s this–Beyoncé.  Perched above the insanity at my desk is our mascot, our work chicken, Beyoncé, the ugliest Chinese-newspaper-stuffed-hair weave-on-the-tail-green-bow-sporting-barcode sticker-stuck straw chicken ever created.  My Beyonce is a thing because of another of my heroes, this one heroic in a totally not musical, but gifted with words and bravery sort of way.  I get to meet another of my heroes tomorrow, and I’m kinda silly over it.  I used to say I never wanted to meet my heroes, ’cause what if he or she was having a bad day and behaved like a complete a-hole?  I took my chances once and won.  I wonder how much I’ll babble.  The safe bet is on a lot.  Or mutism.  Depends.

But the end of the day, this is not a post about music and musicians or books and authors or even MD.  It’s a post about how much I appreciate my friend for encouraging me (some might say egging me on. . .) to be nuts when I need to be, and for letting me be silent and brooding when I need to be, and for kicking me in the ass when I need to be.  Thank  you, Christine. 


3 thoughts on “Autumn in South Toronto 

  1. You guys are always welcome to visit and see the Carolinas! We could commiserate on the injustices of the school systems 🙂 Wishing the best for you guys.


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