So my cold has now developed into an ear infection (as it always does..). Which leaves me feeling a little off balance and uncoordinated for the most part, and partially def also. But I have story as to how I believe this cold has come to be! Putting my extremely pathetic immune system aside for a while…
Last weekend we had a few drinks as usual, and headed out for a house party – which actually is a rare treat over here, as all of us exchange students are generally living in apartment buildings which are just too small to hold more than 20 people at any given time.. Anyway of course we chose to walk – and with a few drinks down no one really had any motivation to complain, and we were all thriving in one anothers company as we do.. We actually arrived without getting lost, and it wasn’t even a very far walk! Especially having taken a short cut through a large central park (Moss park – store that name in your mind for later).
So we arrived at the party around 11pm, which turned out to be located above an auto-dealership on a street with no nearby neighbors – very convenient for a party. And we generally hung around and met some new faces and talked to people.. as parties go… AND as parties go in Canada there was generally a large group of people gathered on the balcony outside smoking. Which is all well and fine… UNLESS one nameless bloke is involved. We shall call him… Bob.
So Bob turns up the party, and is out on the balcony pretty promptly, rolling himself a smoke. Which lots of people are getting in on, and no one is at all nervous about.
BARE MINUTES later. Bob is pinging. He is jumping and running about and yelling and jumping ON things. And eventually breaks a table.. and then tries to hide it in the fridge.. while a kitchen full of onlookers just stand about and stare at him with indifferent recognition..
Slowly our group of exchangees begin to disown him. Every one having failed to calm him down or sit him down. And to any one who doesn’t have to put up with it every weekend, I am sure he looks like he is just having a good time.. But as a large portion of our group finally give up just after midnight and decide to head home, me and Bria become aware that we have become… the babysitters..
AND Bob has just hit on someones girlfriend.. and apparently really pissed off a boyfriend… So the rest of night… became one giant testosterone drama. On several occasions bob was approached and told to consider going home, while simultaneously 2 polarized sides were forming in preparation for a fight that could.. but really was not likely, to ever happen.
I’m not going to lie… I was kind of hanging out for Bob to get hit just once, real good, in the face. But alas this was not fate.
Me and Bria pretty much just hung around all night keeping a casual eye and talking to new people.. Until maybe 2 or 3am, when we finally had had enough and decided it was time to leave. In the end the simple offer of food (poutine) was what it took to get Bob out of the house (we had been playing cat and mouse chasing him between the exit stairs and the distant balcony for a good hour at least). And I’m disappointed to say the idea took so long to come to fruition…
BUT at some stage in the early morning hours we were back out on the streets and hopefully not too far from home!
Oh wait… There’s Bob talking to some RANDOM guy that he’s somehow got to pull over his car. He’s trying to convince the guy to give us a ride home… The guy is NOT in a taxi.
So I quickly grabbed an arm, thanked the random and with Bria’s help, began to march us all home. However, as we got around the first corner one of Bobs loyal followers was calling out to walk with us..
And thus enters.. Bob2.
So we started walking home as a small group of 4. Managing to place one foot in front of the other without too much fuss now. Improvising with directions just a little bit, seeing as it was Bob who had lead us to the house party at the start of the night.. And we eventually come to pass a couple pubs that look a little familiar.. With their older demographic hanging around in the cold out front.. One foot in front of the other.. All is well.
Wait.. We’ve made it a couple hundred meters up the road from the pubs and I turn around to find.. That somewhere in that very short space of time and distance we have gained a member… An aggressive member.. Who was perhaps in his 40s, very large and visibly drunk.. Who has dreadlocks and is wearing a leather jacket… And who is apparently upset with Bob2..
Now first, I will give a small amount of credit to Bob2 here.. Because he very quickly assessed the situation and told us 2 girls to walk ahead and get drunken bob out of the way (bob was really only good for creating more trouble at this point.. as he had been proving to us all night..). So we pick up our pace a little. But as voices were raised behind us it was pretty hard to just forget about Bob2…
The result was.. We ended up standing out in the cold, for an extended period of time, waiting for Bob2 to defuse a situation.. Which I really don’t believe he was trying all that hard to defuse… And across the road is that green and grassy Moss Park.
Let me insert some information about Moss Park now, so that I can paint an effective picture for what ever small audience I might have (remember mum and dad – I survived it to write about it), and for my own amusement when I read this in years to come.
According to a Toronto City Guide.. “Moss Park is one of Toronto’s largest public housing projects. It is situated in the poorest part of the city. The Salvation Army Hostel is located across the street from Moss Park”. In addition… According to a Crime Hotspots newspaper review.. Moss Park, on the eastern edge of the downtown, is ranked: First for per capita drug charges. Second for per capita assaults. Fourth for per capita break-ins, and seventh for per capita sexual assaults… I really cannot say whether or not it was to our benefit that we were not aware of these statistics on the night of our walk home.. What we were aware of, was that Moss park was the park that you were told to avoid as visitors to the city.. So my personal stress levels were somewhat alerted.
SO what happened was…. after what felt like 10 or 15 minutes of loud “negotiation”.. The angry man grabbed Bob2 by the throat.. And kind of just threw him backwards. But bob2 was not all that impaired, and managed to regain his balance, he didn’t fall over. BUT I personally did not feel like this was going to be a gracefully resolved argument after watching such a scene… And so I made the executive decision that I would have to calm the situation down.
This night. Of several nights. Which have left me angry at the general population of men for their needless and self-actualizing and selfish instinct to fight.. Was a whammy.
I walked up to the two. And initially, of course! Was assumed to be a mere possession of Bob2! (lets not even embark on that warpath) .. I grabbed Bob2 by the arm. Said maybe as many words as “OK” “OK” “We’re just gonna go now..” and marched him across the road… and around the corner.. and out of the way.. And all the while, I could feel his body tremble with the adrenaline that I can only imagine must have been coursing through his bloodstream.. And all the while I listened to Bob2 mutter that he had to go back.. That a stranger couldn’t just “get away with” grabbing him by the throat.. And I lost my shit.. Just a little bit.. I was mad. And shut him up. And we ate Poutine. And we got home. And I went to bed. And in the morning me and Bria condemned men and needless violence, and got it all off our chests.
But today. As I sit here sick. With an ear infection. I know why…