Come August 21st, I will have been a here-and-now resident in Oh Canada for TWENTY YEARS — that’s 240 months, 7,305 days, Two Decades, and One-Fifth of a Century! That’s unbelievable to me since I have never in all my almost 69 years hunkered down in any one place for this many days, months, years, and decades in a row. Could this mean that I am home? Could it be that those weak little roots I sunk in the ground here in 1995 have taken hold? I don’t know how that happened since in my early days here the Murmuring Ex-Husband sneakily yanked them out as soon as I started to feel settled and at home. But, it seems that my roots were stronger than his yanking and now, all these years later, are strong enough and deep enough to declare that, “You, Annie Eyerman, are a Torontonian. You Are Home.”
The cats must have been worried that with this 20th Anniversary I might decide that it was time to go “home,” meaning back to Columbus. They have let me know over the decade or so that they’ve been here that they never wanted to move their fat, little, Canadian-furry bodies south of the border to my “homeland”. Lately, they have been driving me crazy wearing their cute little red-and-white, maple-leafed t-shirts with the inevitable “We Are Canadian!” plastered on the front. That was bad enough but then they started humming the first few bars of Oh Canada whenever I walked by. It was all too much. They were taking no chances that I might get all nostalgic for the Home of the Free and the Brave and start packing up their fur-encrusted schmatas. I didn’t bother to tell them that I would almost certainly not be moving back to the land of expensive health care and too-many-guns, even if some of my favorite people in the world live there.
Think of it, if I had stayed with the Murmuring Ex-Husband (I tremble at the thought), this would have been our China Anniversary (not the country but the stuff you put on the table). I could have been lunching on Wedgwood and not Ikea! As it was, we only got as far as the Candy/Iron/Wood Sixth Anniversary which, I must say, would have made an interesting gift if we were still doing such things at that time. No, it is better to celebrate these twenty years without looking back on the first six.
So, I have decided that this summer — well, all two months of it that are left, June having been more like March than the month heralding summer — that I’m going to celebrate I Am Home. Not only am I going to have a little Woopee-Party in August on my glorious Best Porch Garden in the Neighbourhood (maybe the World), but I’m also going to spend the summer doing as many First-Time-For-Me-Toronto Things and/or Things I Have Not Done in At Least Ten Years. I want to make clear that I’m not looking at this as the Definitely-Inferior Consolation Prize of a summer vacation. No, no this is going to be a summer full of Great Adventures for Annie! No staycation in my mind, no siree, I am going to be out and about.
I’ve already started. My long-time, Walk-Through-the-Black-Forest pal, Christina, was in
town this past week and came down to hang out with me for a couple of days. I’m not sure whether it’s been ten years since I’ve hung out with her but, even if it isn’t, it’s been a long enough time to qualify (at least in my book), for one of my “Something I Haven’t Done in 10 years” adventures. I have begun.
Now, to keep my lists balanced, I had to do something I haven’t done in my 20 years in Toronto, which, embarrassingly, is a pretty long list. I mean, really, what the hell have I been doing with my time over the past 20 years? Yeah, I got my Masters degree. Yeah, I wrote two books. Yeah, I went through divorce. Yeah, I even had a job for part of that time. Yeah, I have tolerated, fed, and cleaned-up-after four fur balls — why does it seem that my first two American cats, Mili and Dex, did not shed like these two Canadian variety? Don’t tell Rose and Nick that I said that. But surely there was a lot of time around all that busyness to discover new stuff. Maybe I just needed that double digit number to get me in motion. I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t I start this on that decade anniversary, hmmm? Sometimes you just have to do things when they want to get done. Eh?
So, it is time to forget about what I haven’t done in the past 20 years and start doing something new now. Just to accommodate my mission, Sunday was the Pride Parade. I had never, ever in all my years in Toronto gone to this parade. Nothing political about my decision, mainly it’s been because it’s usually putridly hot and humid and the thought of hanging out on a sidewalk with thousands, and thousands of other people kept me in a movie theater or at home in air conditioning. But not this year! No, it was time — and anyway it was raining and cool and Christina really wanted to go.
So off we went! We managed to squeeze ourselves in between four orange-and-white wigged Japanese girls who were hogging the front. But this did not deter Christina, no way. In a matter of minutes she had maneuvered herself to the front of the crowd where she would be sure to get as much bling as she wanted. Since this was my first Pride Parade, I did not appreciate the importance of location in order to get all the junk. And besides there was a tiny girl, named Eva, who I would have had to uproot in order to be in the front. I asked her mom, chat-tingly, if this was Eva’s first Pride Parade. “No,” she said, “she’s come every year.” Eva was five. I am 68. I wonder what will be left on her Never, Never List by the time she’s here for 20 years?
It was all good fun — Loud, Noisy, Naughty, Wet (the rain) Fun — even with politicians being there. Christina bragged for the whole day that Justin Trudeau himself had rescued her bling necklace when it slipped out of her hand onto the street. Maybe he didn’t realize that she couldn’t vote here.
Next day, I tackled another of those Things I Haven’t Done in 20 Years. I ate an Italian Sausage sandwich sold by one of those push cart Russian guys down on the waterfront. I shouldn’t have done it. I thought about it for a while before buying it. I imagined how my stomach would feel after I ate it and how much heart burn I’d get, and what evil germs probably lurked on that cart and seeped into the sausage. I bought it anyway and ate the whole thing loaded with onions and relish and mustard. I have been suffering since. That is definitely not going to be on any of my future lists — from the looks of my stomach in this picture a lot of other stuff better disappear from my Food and Drink List too.
I have begun. There are new neighborhoods to discover, poutine to eat (How can I call myself a Canadian and not have tried poutine?), a bike to, once again, climb onto at some time this summer, and lots and lots more. Not a bad way to spend my summer vacation!
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO ALL MY READERS IN THE US OF A!