I’ve spent the last few days wandering across the wilds of both northern and southern Ontario remembering my youth. Did not see any brown until I got past Sault Ste. Marie and was beginning to suspect that the white was permanent and went on forever. However bare ground did appear and there was even a hint of green on the lawns by the time I got to North Bay.
By the time I got to Pembroke and a visit with my granddaughter, the memories and terrors of so called civilization was returning. By the time I reached Trawna, eight lanes of traffic in each direction pretty much frazzled my mind. What really blew it was the fact they were busy ripping up the old highway and building even more lanes. From the frenetic public infrastructure projects in evidence you would think there was an election coming up… oh yeah there is.
I made a trip on the Go Train from Kitchener to Trawna and a few things stood out. First the cost $9.70 each way for us old toots for an hour and one half ride in comfort with a selection of 8 to 10 trains per day vs an hour of sheer terror on the 401 and an hour on the Gardner Expressway (aka parking lot) plus forty buck a day to park your car in downtown.
Second, everyone was masked and not bitching and no one spoke to anyone. And it was not crowded. Normally Union Station at rush hour is like an ant hill or zoo. On my trip obviously a large contingent of the ants were either still in hibernation or working from home. Must be lots of empty offices on Bay St.
Third, there were no panhandlers littering the sidewalk… more on that later.
I visited the old Tim’s in Kitchener where the Gene Pool used to alleviate my pockets of loonies as they learned to calculate the cost of goodies. The line up of panhandlers there were missing except for one soul, then it hit me why. NO ONE CARRIES MONEY ANY LONGER! It’s all TAP!
But this lone soul had made the leap. With a sign around his neck saying, “Please help me! Just tap to give me a buck,” it said as he held out his portable debit machine. And some obliged I noted as I sat and enjoyed my brekkie.
As the morning rush ended he finally wandered down the street past the Bus Stop, unlocked the door to his Lexus, climbed in and drove away. Homeless problem solved.