…time to start taking up martini-drinking.
The first time I ran this route was actually during the summer. I’ve done it quite a few times since, but it was quite the little day of discovery for me when I first ran it. Being mazeophobic as I am, yet not being able to work a map or iPhone GPS to save my life (I hope that never becomes literal) I tend to not “try new trails” all that often. (When I do, I write out a list of word-directions in the Notes app on my phone. Because I’m special like that.) Anyhow, this is quite a lovely route that goes along the Humber River (going south towards the Lakeshore) and there are some lovely little parks along the way, plus big green open areas for dogs to run around in. This is the route:
[It’s a screenshot from Mapmyfitness, so ignore the New Balance store plug in the centre of it. Although it would be funny if there were just a giant red NB stuck in the middle of Bloor Street.]
I enter the trail just off of Old Dundas West, and right away I had to stop and take this picture, because I thought it would be an awesome place for a picnic for all my weirdo friends. (See the tiny picnic table in the centre?) As long as we all wore hip-waders, it’d be pretty neat, actually. No reservations required! Plus, you could have the freshest damned fish you could eat. If you could eat the fish from the Humber River, that is. Or if you’re not afraid of dying from horrible stomach ailments. Either way, a fun time to be had by all.
The trail has 2 separate trails for pedestrians and cyclists/pathhogs (i.e., Rollerbladers) and follows quite closely to the river proper for most of the trail going south. Here’s another picture of the river, cuz it’s pretty:
The trail does a funny abrupt end/jogs across a street and through a gussied up overflow parking lot for the Old Mill subway station, and then branches off to develop into King’s Mill Park, which is less a park than it is a big open space behind a secluded-as-shit yacht club. I found this sign posted right at the end of the trail before you get booted off into the street:
…which is pretty great. And I kind of like the look of the construction scaffolding that is currently housing the Old Mill subway overpass. The grid of the bridge within the grid of the scaffolding is nifty.
Once you pass by the secret-as-shit yacht club entrance, (as well as a couple of signs that remind me about just who should actually still own the crap out of all the land I’m running on), you get spat out for a little bit into a residential area. Continuing down along Stephen Drive, the trail hooks back up just past Cloverhill Road. And just after I stop to take a picture of the most amazing tree, (now officially my favorite tree in Toronto so far)
I turn a bend in the trail and discover this weird little place:
It’s like a giant frisbee, except with a hole in it, so an Aerobie. Or, you know, a basin. Anyway, it’s weird. having a hole in the centre of the overhang really negates this as a useful place to have a camp gathering or a picnic…or a night of live music. So, what the hell is it? I’ve become fairly obsessed with finding out, so I’m still waiting on an email back from Toronto Parks and Recreation because when I searched for information on the South Humber park, all I got was this:
Thanks, guys. Very useful. And this is what I found when I tried googling it:
Which actually made a lot of sense, because I paused my run to do a little exploring of the little weird building itself.
From under the hole:
The light that comes through the hole:
Around back of the basin:
And, oh, look: how every terror sequence in every horror movie starts:
Well, for most people, at this point, the internal dialogue would be something like, “do we run backing away slowly, or do we run while crying (and maybe peeing at little bit)?” For me, it was more like, “Do I just go in the door that’s already open, or do I fashion my headphones into a tiny crowbar-like tool to pry the other door’s padlock off? Also, if there are shapeshifters behind the locked door, does it mean that the open door has zombies living in it, or does it just house the shapeshifter’s snacks/discarded victims’ limbs and/or heads? Or will it just be Local Molesting Hobo Gus, pooping in a bucket?”
I have to admit I felt a little nervous venturing forward (I decided to keep my headphones intact.) Probably for good reason. Secluded trail area, outpost of dubious history/use, the closest person to hear my screams would be too distracted by the beauty of their own willow tree to pay much heed, if any at all. Inside the open door was this;
Clearly, this is where Jim, the lonely high school janitor from the local high school, came to live after his wife hung herself from the old elm tree out back of their small but cozy house on the old county road. Childless and alone, Jim continued on at the school, but sold the old house, choosing to live here. He had a plentiful food source, of course. Problem was, there was no way to refrigerate meat at his new little hovel. So he began to salt his own meat, curing it in the lockers he stole from the high school. Years passed, and as child after child went missing Jim became fat. Too fat, eventually, to climb up the ladder he had to prop against the trunk of a nearby tree to cut down their swinging bodies. His wife had given him the idea, you see. He’d soaked a rag in ether in her case, too, held it to her face, dodging her grappling hands, before stringing her up to the elm, letting her drop, and snapping her neck. In fact, he still kept her salted hand in that blue milk crate on the desk. For those nights he’d be feeling amorous.
La la la, here’s the pretty bridge!
And here’s Sunnyside Pavillion! But what the heck is on the steps? If it’s a goddamned human hand, I’m gonna shit my pants. I also hope it’s not just shit.
But no! It’s Ganesh! Chillin’ on the steps of the pavillion! Oh, this erases all earlier feelings of spookitude, and makes me actually quite happy.
I’m slowly building back up to running again, after a shitty summer featuring family death and the resurgence of social smoking on my part, as well as a recent hacky cold. To make things more interesting I like to go in different directions and new routes when I have the time (because I tend to get horribly lost which, on a schedule, can be disastrous. Why yes, I DO have an iPhone. I still get lost. IT’S STILL A MAP, and I can’t read maps unless I can flip them around to be the direction that I’m walking in, but of course the iPhone, thinking it’s being ever so helpful, assumes that I always want to know what true fucking north is. So I still get just as lost as ever. Anyway.)
Tonight as I entered onto my newly discovered and beloved Humber River trail, I chose to go north instead of south. This is the route:
Right away, I notice a distinct difference between going north and going south: there are far less people on the trails going north, and what few there are seem MOTHERFUCKING ANGRY AS SHIT. Eveybody’s biking, or walking, or running, or rollerblading, but everybody - EVERYBODY - is a scowling, growly grumpypants. Some guy was frowning while feeding chipmunks. I’m not lying. Frowning. Feeding chipmunks.
Aside from the unusually taciturn patrons, what a gorgeous greenspace. South-ways on the trail has a shit-ton more views of the very pretty river, but north-ways has a shit-ton more arranged plots of very lovely flowers and gardens. And a bunch of wee bridges and streams, too. I totally dig wee bridges and streams:
I continued on my merry way for a bit until I began to breathe in almost 40% pure gnat cloud. It was then I remembered what a pain in the ass early autumn running can be on nature trails. The one instance in my life where having a niqab would be sweet is autumn running. Those little fuckers - such dense clouds of them, and yet, can you see them until they are in your nostrils, down your throat, sticking to your sweaty skin, and, my favorite, drowning themselves in your eyeballs? Next time, I’m bringing goggles and a ski-mask. Or a niqab. No wonder those people were grumpy.
Eventually I choose to skip back out top-side onto Eglinton to avoid further gnat-ingestion. Eglinton’s an ugly street, a main arterial road in the city, and as such, has all the charm of a freeway. I took some pictures I like, though:
You know, forgotten urban wasteland kind of stuff. Then this cracked me up:
*HUGE* TOYS. Huge. You need a backup generator for these toys. Good luck fitting them anywhere.
Regaining my giggly composure, run run run I go till I decide I should probably turn south towards home. After deciding not to run through Prospect Cemetery, I turn down Harvie street, to find some absolutely lovely homes, nicely attended yards and gardens, and an absolute super-cache of NDP supporters! Every second yard had a Jonah Schein sign on the lawn. And check this out:
I guess they felt they needed to make it extra clear that they REALLY SUPPORT Jonah in the election, what with all the general support he’s getting on that street. Guys, it’s okay. I want him as my boyfriend, too. Be cool.
Here are some lovely roses that were right next door:
Run, run, run. I turn along St. Clair, and nearing my place, remember about the crazy fucking prayer tent that I should also snap a shot of. For whatever reason, I’ve only ever passed by this thing at night, when a) it’s dark and I can’t really get a good picture of it, and b) people are actually, you know, doing whatever they do in there. Now, look. I think our culture is saturated enough with religion, and you actually have to work to AVOID tripping over a church, synagogue, temple or mosque. What possible need can a ramshackle tee-pee style structure built from 2 x 4 and tar roof tiles in the middle of a parking lot, between 2 used car lots, be filling? Is there such a crazy demand for late-night praying that this simply had to be erected? Is this where AA people go after?
Still thinking about the crazy-ass asphalt tee-pee, I’m running on Runnymede when this catches my eye:
It’s just lying on the side of the road, the embankment before the underpass. It’s thick paper, glossy. And, hey, it’s a boob. It caught my eye. I notice that the entire embankment is littered with what turns out to be an exploded collection of vintage porn. Most of it is pages from an old Esquire mag, but some of it is photos, such as above. THIS IS PURE AWESOME. You never find GOOD stuff on the side of the road. Litter is always so fucking depressing and predictable, pop cans and condoms. Even on the Lakeshore, where I constantly search for small animal bones, the only white things on the beach are tampon applicators and styrofoam cups. But this, this was a great piece of happenstantial litter. I snapped up every piece that wasn’t too desiccated by rain, and, telling my inner germiphobe that the rain’d probably washed away any antique spooge that might remain, resolved to a) do this blog post and b) incorporate it all into some collage or other.
Oh yeah, then, amidst all the porn, there was this, which struck me, really, as the weirdest of all. Ladies and Gentlemen, Norman Rockwell:
I’m gonna do more of this type of thing. I can’t guarantee they’ll all be as awesome as this (unless I contrive to somehow include doing laps around the stage at Club Paradise) because, frankly, random porn happens so little anyway, and to have it be bonafide antique porn? We’re talking “odds someone you know will jam with Carlos Santana.” (That is to say, not astronomical odds - well within the acceptable realm of probability, but still rare enough to make you go, “Damn. That’s rare.”)
I’ve taken pics on a few runs, and, though it really fucks with my pace and time and whatever-the-fuck, I typically enjoy the runs I take snapshots on way more than the runs I do that are pure running. It’s because I’m more engaged in the experience of my surroundings, as opposed to just chasing some ephemeral, arbitrarily set distance goal. Don’t get me wrong, I love running for running’s sake, too, but part of the spectacular experience of it is that you can go to all of these places you haven’t been before. May as well take a few pics on the way, I say.
and if you wanted to punch your computer today... -
Our species just really needs to fucking die out, like, right now. Now to enrage myself further, I’m going to check out the “related stories” in the blog, like the one that queries, “push-up bikinis for 7 year-olds. Too young?” HOLY FUCK, YOU FUCKING TWATS, YES, YEEEESS IT BLOODY IIIIIIS!!
looooooooooove. My goodness, so dreamy.
Wheeee, I heart this.
“Hey! It’s Saturday Night! SAT-T-T-UR-DAYEEE NIIIIIIIYAAAAHTAH! We need to go out! OUUUTAH! We’ll corral 2 guy friends we think are cute and who totally want to sleep with us but we’ll use them as leveraging mates on the dancefloor. Oh, and let’s bring Katie because she’s chubby and makes us look better.
Then we’ll have to meet at one of our houses to pre-drink, primp, and make awful, subtly cutting remarks about each other’s clothes and weight. No, YOU drive, you have the less-high heels, loser. We’ll spend an hour going from Dufferin to John because we are going where everybody else who thinks like us is going, and because everybody who thinks like us is too stupid/buzzed on Red Bull and Vodka to take a route other than King. After finding the 2 cute disposables and Katie waiting for us at the only Green P that had a parking space kind of open (sorry about those mirrors, Sentra, LOL!) we’ll walk, talking as LOUDLY AS WE POSSIBLY CAN in order to convince anyone within a city-block radius that we are more important and interesting than they are. (This is a scientific fact. It was on Discovery channel. Like, if you see a bear in the woods, you’re not supposed to play dead, you’re supposed to start talking really loud at it to make yourself seem bigger or something. I don’t know, I changed the channel partway thru because there was a re-run of the Swan on. Anyway, if it works with bears, biographically speaking, it works with humans.) So we’ll loudly reminisce about the time in 8th grade we totally made out with each other (it’s totally not true, but guys really want to sleep with girls who have made out with other girls but not in a real way, more like in a pillow-fight way that went wrong) and then by the time the story gets interesting (where we embellish our lies more to get the disposables even MORE desperate to sleep with us) we’ll be in the line.
A lot of people complain about the line, but the line is the only real proof you have that you are at the place that most people in the city most want to be on a Saturday night. How’s THAT for evidence? (See, I could totally be a scientist. It’s just that people don’t want hot scientists. They can’t trust other scientists around us. Their loss, I say. I totally have a better energy-drink recipe in my head, but their loss.) The only thing bad about the line is that other people have obviously watched the minute and 30 seconds of the Discovery channel that we watched, because EVERYBODY is talking as loud as they possibly can in hopes of seeming the most interesting. This is the lead-up to the competish inside. If you can’t hack it outside in the lineup, you are going down on the dancefloor, my friend. The line up is where you pick who you’re going after, as long as they are within ear-shot of you and can see you “borrowing warmth” from one of the disposables by being cute and snuggling into his jacket. We know that leveraging works, because who wants someone that DOESN’T already have people interested in them? (Again, it’s just plain science.) It’s also a great time to reapply any makeup that may have been blown off by your car’s heater or the arctic wind of Toronto.
When we finally get in, around 50 minutes after being in line, we’ll have to gang up on chubby Katie to convince her to take our respective lipsticks and money, because we’re hot, and wearing hot clothes with no pockets, and you can’t dance with a damned purse in your hand. I mean, not unless you already have something else to hang it on, like if maybe you were one of those cripples with the squiggly legs and those special crutches that kind of clamp onto the forearms…don’t they have little coat hooks on them? Anyway, Katie will resist like she always does but between a combination of rallying BFF claims and guilt over making us consider stashing our lipsticks and money in our vags, and possibly contracting some weird disease from the dirty dirty money that will result in our becoming pulpy and warty and not hot, she will relent, and be our little packhorse for the night! Kisses!
We’ll drag the disposables to the bar to get them to buy us our first drinks. Katie has to buy her own. It’s not my fault, that is the way of the world. She wasn’t smart or hot enough to bring her own disposable, so she buys her own drinks. While at the bar, Chantelle eyes a beefy guy with Elijah Wood kind of squeezed-doll-pop-eyed look to him whose gaze briefly lands on her ass, and so Beefy Squeezy Wood becomes her mark for the evening. Nevermind that he actually has a skinny redhead on his arm who has THE BEST GODDAMNED SHOES I’ve ever seen. Like, these were honestly 100% Choo.
As Disposable #1 orders my drink, I catch the eye of a group of guys wearing identical white Gap t-shirts in the corner, and I stick my tongue into Disposable’s ear. When my drink comes, I wetly whisper, “be right back” in his ear. Then Chantelle and I weeble our way onto the dancefloor, mincing meaningfully past our marks.
The dancefloor is a difficult navigation process, especially for females, because there are so many of us. AND we’re all wearing heels. AND we all want status, but not so much status as to be singled out as, oh, I dunno, the girl in the crowd who can Vogue really well. Not that any maniac does that anymore, but you know what I mean. No one wants to DANCE, we all just want to kind of jiggle around and look hot. But who can jiggle and not dance and look hot THE BEST? Ah, that is the true challenge! There are different tactics to use, like climbing on top of a table and dancing there, but most clubs don’t have tables near the dancefloor, and so that would mean actually dragging a bar table into the dancefloor…(huh. I think I just had an idea. File under “genius subterfug!”) Mostly, in these situations, the chicks with the best hair, face and boobs win out; I mean, they can have an ass like something from former East Germany, who can see it on a packed dancefloor?
Chantelle has roots showing. I can’t dance with her. I can’t even be SEEN dancing with her. She will taint me with her roots-showiness by association.
Wow. I’ve written alot. Like, way more than I intended to, but like, I still feel like I want to just not finish this right now and maybe do a second installation. Okay, internet? That’s what I’ll do. Because I have to make sure I paint my nails and have them dry soon because it’s, like, Friday night, right? Kay.
We know as much about your fucked up knee as we do about your fucked up back.
I’m always wondering about the line that defines acts of random art vs. acts of random vandalism. Very interesting. Does it really all come down to matters of taste and opinion?
L.A. Police Blame ‘Art in the Streets’ for Rash of Graffiti