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the ten minute hurricane

Terrifying – another violent thunderstorm, pounding lashing rain, cracks of thunder – at rush hour. I am in my house wondering again if the sump pump and downspouts will hold, but many thousands of my fellow Torontonians are struggling to get home. And my friends Lynn and Denis are getting on a plane in Montreal, headed here. I have a feeling they might be delayed. The power went off briefly; candles are ready. Luckily my stove is gas.

It has been dark and wet all day, but with several bright spots for me. One is that Toronto city council voted to make a legal challenge to Doug Ford’s attempt to destroy it. Local democracy counts!

The other was going with my friend and neighbour Gina to the nearby Children’s Book Bank. We had kids’ books to give away; I am culling, and extremely painful as it was, I gathered three full boxes of books, board books my grandsons are too old for now – even Ben, who’s not that interested in books since you can’t climb on them – and others we just won’t have time for. So Gina drove us to the Book Bank. And a glorious place it is too – where anyone with a child is invited to come, sit, read, be read to, and go home with an actual book that belongs to them.

This heavenly place has been nearby for years and I’ve never been there before. But I will certainly be back soon. Small persons in tow.

Chris posted this evocative picture on his blog yesterday

and it reminded me of something I saw downtown the other day. A homeless man had a flatbed cart with a tall frame, loaded with his possessions and also with a mattress; he had obviously grown weary on a street corner, parked, pulled down the curtains, and gone to sleep. We talk about tiny houses – well, they don’t get tinier than that. There he was, in his private bedroom at the corner of Yonge and Alexander. And then I guess he rolls up his curtains and sets off, towing his domain behind him.

Speaking of the city’s marginalized, since the hideous Ford has also declared a moratorium on new safe injection sites, a band of volunteers has set one up. And I am all in favour, except that this one is close to Anna’s house. As she says, she is all in favour too, except that this boulevard was the one part of Parkdale where people were not using. And now they are. A little too close for comfort, as far as I’m concerned. My kids grew up in the inner city and knew far too much too early about human fallibility, and I guess Anna’s will too.

Speaking of controversial takes on vital topics, I saw this and liked it very much. It was done by the woman in the picture, an artist. I have come a long way on the niqab, especially after spending a lot of time, last year, with niquabis. But though, yes, women have the right to wear what they want, it rankles in the most visceral way that it’s only women who feel they must go faceless.

Have you been watching HBO’s Sharp Objects? Just the most riveting TV. After this Sunday’s episode, the penultimate, I went to Google and spent half an hour reading about stuff I didn’t quite get. Haunting, dangerous, grownup television. Nothing in the world would pull me away from the TV this Sunday at 9, for the final episode. Just as nothing would have pulled me away yesterday at 8 – Carpool Karaoke, James Corden with Paul McCartney. Their brief bit earlier this month was so popular on the ‘net, the producers took all the outtakes and did an hour’s show. And sheer heaven it was too. SUCH A LOVELY MAN. Funny, self-deprecating, kind. A tiny bit vain. Love. I watched with Wayson, who remembers being in his father’s restaurant in Belleville when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. He was in his early twenties, but they hit him hard. I would argue they hit me harder, but who’s counting?

My aunt is struggling. She is in great pain, which now we think is because her back is simply disintegrating. After 98 years of feisty independence, she is disintegrating, frail, and vulnerable, and it is painful to witness. My cousin wrote, Maybe we should start stocking piling sleeping pills for ourselves. A bit early yet, I wrote back.

Now – fifteen minutes after I began this post – the rain has stopped and the hot sun is out. The trees are dripping, the sirens are shrieking, but the storm has vanished and for the first time today, it’s bright outside. The new normal is that nothing to do with the weather will be normal.

And now, five minutes of proofreading later, the sun has gone, the clouds are back, who knows what will happen next?



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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