I’m living for the month in a one-bedroom apartment that the landlord is trying to rent as a two-bedroom by converting the living room into another bedroom and the oversized kitchen into a kitchen/dinette/living room combination. It’s not really a feasible proposition, but as a one-bedroom this apartment would be fabulous for a couple; it’s large, and attractive, and very reasonably priced. (Although due to a variety of reasons I won’t go into here, I am currently living here for free.)
The apartment is on St. Clair Avenue West in Toronto, near Dufferin. Those who know Toronto will be aware that this places it smack dab in the middle of the Corso, the Italian/Spanish/Mexican uptown strip. Indeed, just around the corner is a tiny little Mexican diner, pupusas only $2.25 apiece, made on the spot, stuffed with pork, beans and cheese, and loaded down with cabbage and thin, spicy tomato sauce. (And their burros are even better, and only three-fifty.) A gelateria down the street provides some of the smoothest, most delicious gelato I’ve ever had. The laundromat across the street is clean, open twenty-four hours, and obviously entertaining in its way. The fruit market downstairs next to the tiny little cafe I live over (which provides the free wireless I am stealing right now) has fresh pineapples for seventy-nine cents apiece.
Right now, as I study Cooper v. Hobart for Legal Process tomorrow, the back porches that cover the rears of these stores and buildings are alive with Italian and Mexican families, chatting quietly in the twilight. Somebody starts up a CD of slow sambo music, and a chorus of half-a-dozen voices dotting across the night spontaneously arises. Occasionally, there is laughter, of the sort that you only hear when a really dirty joke just got told. Sure, the dirty jokes are in Spanish and Italian – but you can tell by the delivery (and the occasional cuss word you might understand) that they’re dirty jokes.
I know there are arguments for small-town life, but for the life of me, I hope I never understand them, that I continue to understand them as little as I do tonight.