Five hundred and forty-nine

City living

I’m on my way to my parents’ house in the country to visit for a few days and breathe some fresh air.  I mostly love living in an urban area, but since my parents moved into a large property in the Niagara wine country, I am more drawn to getting out of the city.  I’ve always loved being in the fresh air, but as I get older, I hit a point where I get so frustrated with the crowds and pollution of the city that I need to leave.  I feel depressed and overwhelmed.  I get annoyed with the littlest things, like a piece of litter on the side of the street or a rude cashier.  I can’t take the noise of the construction or the smell of the body odour of the person sitting next to me on the streetcar.  I need to get out.  And so I leave the city, I breathe some fresh air, enjoy the quiet and go for walks in the trees, and then I come back and I’m refreshed for awhile longer.  I wonder if everyone feels this way, or is it only me?

It’s not just the grime of the city that bothers me.  I also get sick of the people.  I’ve found myself in a place and time where it seems the ideas of morals are shifting.  I get so angry when my friend speaks of her married friend who constantly cheats on his wife.  Unless his wife is okay with him sleeping around, he is a horrible person and I don’t want to hear about him – ever.  I’m sick of seeing some drunk guy try to fight some other drunk guy and knock over an innocent bystander.  I hate women who back-stab, or bratty children who have been taught no manners.  I’m sick of people who spend all their money on things they don’t need, then complain they don’t have enough money to pay rent, and yet walk past a homeless person and tell them they have no money to give them because they have as little as that person does (while wearing an expensive pair of jeans or carrying a Gucci purse).

I’m not religious, although my ideas of morals come from Christian foundations.  Am I just programmed to follow these rules of morality?  Or is this a natural human trait?  I guess we will never know the answer to that question.  I try to be open minded, but I draw the line when it hurts other people.  And maybe I’m being all high on my horse because I can be – because I don’t need to steal or lie to survive.  The thing is, I would be okay if someone stole food or money from me because if they didn’t do this they would starve. But it isn’t those people who make me angry.  It’s the man (or woman) in his suit with his good job, sleeping around on his wife, stealing money from his company so he can buy another big screen television, whose son watches him and models himself after his father.

I know I’m not perfect.  I don’t ever claim to be.  I know I have, to some degree, lied, stolen, cheated.  I try to learn from my mistakes.  Maybe it all comes down to one word: honesty.  Maybe if we were all honest the world would be a better place.  But of course there are pitfalls with too much honesty.  I don’t have any answers, just lots of questions.  I guess I just have to make my own decisions and follow my own moral code and try to surround myself with people who are similar to me.  And try not to worry about other people and their choices.  My friend’s cheating friend still makes me angry, but he’s not worth my energy.  And I need to make time to regularly get out of the city and escape to the country.  I obviously need that RIGHT NOW, as I can’t seem to stop ranting!

(As I finish this post, I’ve arrived at my parents’ house.  It’s interesting how a bit of fresh air adds a a different perspective.  Maybe I’m being too judgmental?)

No blog next week…

Next week, I’m taking a week off from the world, so there will be no blog.  I’m heading to Algonquin Provincial Park to hike, see the beautiful fall colours of the leaves, take in more fresh air (and a longer break from the city) and write the last bits of the book.  I will see you in two weeks with hopefully some amazing photos to share!

Three hundred and sixty

I had to go to Chinatown today to get a follow-up ultrasound from my kidney infection and ovarian cyst fiasco three months ago, so I thought I’d take a few photos while I was there.  Chinatown is just so interesting and colourful.  And that section of Toronto played a few roles during Out of My Comfort Zone month (those pig’s feet were really not that bad, although I can still remember our server asking us repeatedly if we were sure that’s what we wanted to order!).

“Chinatown”

Three hundred and fifty-seven

I get really excited about topics I’m interested in.  It’s a personality trait that has come in handy during the past year. Once I start to learn about something, I fall down the rabbit hole of information.  There is always more research to be found – more branches and twigs from the tree of knowledge.  Each bigger idea has smaller relevant topics leading out from it.  It’s never-ending.

Here are some branches and twigs from my journey the other day.

“More fun Toronto signs”

Three hundred and forty-four

“My hood”

How can you not be inspired living around this?  My surroundings affect what I write, what I research and what I’m interested in.  I just can’t say enough about how much the character of Parkdale has shaped this year – from the people and the old houses, to the shop signs and the rusty old garbage cans piled near the waterfront.

I went for a walk today and took a bunch of photos around this area of Toronto.  I have been playing with my camera and what it can do.  Some photos turn out better than others.  I tend to spend more time on the photography part of this month than the actual writing.  I almost feel like the photo tells a story on its own – that any explanation takes away the individual response to the image.  It’s this individual response that makes art personally affect us.