Monday, 5 May 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Any journey to Canada begins with easily the most tolerable border experience in the world. An official who appears to actually possess interests outside the gun range looks at your papers and asks you one or two questions, then sends you on your way. I surrendered my can of pepper spray after he couldn't find anything on it to suggest it was for animals and not for people. So sensible, I knew I wasn't in America anymore.
The only way to avoid spending a night in Buffalo was to take the 3am Greyhound. There are many American destinations I can recommend against, and three hours in the downtown bus terminal early on a Sunday morning in one of the poorest cities in the country is near the top of the leaderboard. A police officer, baton drawn, passed me every 15 minutes or so. Two men with beards stared at me, and at the woman near me whose fat had given up, perhaps for logistical reasons, any attempt at cohesion and divided itself into a loosely-linked sacks.
The bus was a jarring reminder of why I had taken the train all this time. If sleeping on a train is like sitting beside Michael Flatley in full flail, dozing on a bus is like sitting inside a box on a trampoline inside the belly of a dragon who had eaten too much Indian food. By the time we arrived in Toronto at 6am, I had achieved several minutes of sleep thanks only to minor concussion.
The hostel opened its doors at 10am, which meant that for four hours I wandered the streets with other people who had nowhere to lay their heads. Many also had nowhere to spout their theories on dance music stealing their thoughts, though for sheer brevity the man who constantly shouted,"The lights! The lights!" won my attention most fully. The ambiguity of pointing to crossing signs was what sealed the deal for me; for the tiniest moment, I wondered if there was something terribly wrong with the system, instead of with the man.

It is good to be back in Toronto. Awaking after a few hours of sleep, I looked out the window and felt at home in a way I had not for a very long time. If I'm able to gather enough of the pocket lint that is currently my life, I may be able to put together something cohesive, and even, and firm, and strong.

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