Part of the reason I’ve been quiet lately is that I moved. I didn’t go far; I actually just moved from just east of Pape to Donlands, and I’m still north of the Danforth. If you know Toronto, you know that’s only about three blocks. If you don’t know Toronto, well, that’s only about three blocks.
Still, there’s a bit of a cultural shift. I’ve crossed the dividing line between the fashionable part of the Danforth and the more downmarket stretch of the strip at Jones Avenue, where there’s a Starbucks right across the street from a Coffee Time, thus marking a cultural border where yuppies and hobos uneasily pass and nod. Plus, the Greektown district gives way to a more Muslim neighborhood at this point. I don’t have to put up with the incessant clangor of the various Greek parades, though I may overhear calls to prayer from the minaret of the nearby mosque past which I have to ashamedly trudge to and from the liquor store. Well, I don’t have to. But I do.
After a long, hassle-filled move that, between taking the friend who helped us out for dinner and drinks and incurring two parking tickets while parked on the sidewalk in front of my old place, ended up costing more than if we’d just hired movers for the job, we’re pretty much settled now. If we had just hired movers for the job, I also wouldn’t have learned that my dresser was too big for either of the two vehicles at our disposal and then attempted to use my computer desk as a makeshift hand truck to push my dresser to the new house, only to, a block short of my goal, have one of the casters explode into pieces that rolled off in different directions with tremendous speed and turned out to be practically white-hot when picked back up. I write this now with a slightly burned hand on a desk held up at one corner by an old spindle of CDs.
Anyway, with the lifting and carrying and putting down and unpacking done, we’re pretty much in the cleanup phase. Earlier, I had my girlfriend just throw a bunch of empty boxes off our balcony and I dashed around back in T-shirt and pyjama pants to break them down (partly achieved by pounding them with a cardboard tube swung like a stickball bat as they fell). I’ve got so huge a bundle of cardboard out back now that I might end up scrawling “Sorry!” with a marker before hauling it out to the curb for sanitation workers to pick up.
Then I ran back inside. “I just exposed myself to an old woman out there,” I lied. “Is that okay?”
“Yeah, why not?” she said.
“You’re right,” I said. “Nothing she hasn’t seen before.” Besides, old women around here love seeing my junk, historically speaking. You may have heard me complaining about the time I came out of my shower only to see my housemate Toula’s mother outside in the yard with her face pressed up against my window, hands shading her eyes as she stared through a gap in my Venetian blinds. It’s part of the reason I’m glad I’m on the second floor now.
So we lounged around and relaxed for a while after that, enjoying the fruits of our labours in our new living room, until eventually, my girlfriend had to leave. She has to go out of town for a few days. So, I helped her carry her baggage down to the back alley, then sat with her in the passenger seat programming her GPS for the trip. Then she drove my lazy ass out front to the street to save me about twenty steps back to the front door. I kissed her on the cheek, waved a merry farewell, then hopped out and sprinted back up my sidewalk.
And just as I popped out of the car and turned to leave, I felt the head of my penis pop right out the fly of my pyjama pants — right in full view of a group of Muslim women clad and veiled in their flowing black chadris, walking with their children by my new home.
What a way to introduce myself to my new neighbors. I wish I’d been the one with my face covered.
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