Friday, 8 June 2018

Venice West

After the food bank on Saturday I rode home and put my groceries away. I wanted to also go out to the supermarket but it was after 11:00 by the time everything was unpacked and I wanted to be in front of Bike Pirates by 11:30, so I’d have to ride down to No Frills later. There was nothing functionally wrong with my velo but when I got home from riding on the day before I noticed a little rip in my front tire. It was still fully inflated but I figured if I didn’t replace it there was danger of getting a puncture the next time I was at the other end of town, so it was better to be safe than sorry.
I was the first one there as usual. Sitting a few doors down was a down and out guy that I’ve seen in the neighbourhood for years and who from time to time comes up to chat, but this time when he saw me he came over and had a much longer conversation. He often calls me “Commissioner” when he greets me but this time he started off by asking, “How was Victoria Day?” His hair is often natty and has usually caught some floating fluff or perhaps picked up some dirt from sleeping outdoors, though it’s always fairly short so he must find someone to cut it from time to time. He also often has some pastry crumbs on his lips and sometimes spits out white saliva when he talks. I told him Victoria Day had been okay. He informed me that he hasn’t had a job in 27 years and that he’s been in Toronto since he was six but he came from New York. I was trying to figure out how old he is but it’s difficult because he doesn’t look very healthy but I assume that he’s younger than I am because none of his hair has turned grey yet and black hair tends to go grey sooner. I guess he could be somewhere in his 40s or 50s. I was also thinking of asking him his name when a guy came walking by and asked, “How’s it goin Stephen?” Stephen turned slightly to bark vitriol at the middle class looking guy that had just spoken to him and who turned and went into the Common Sort second hand clothing store. I learned that he drove long haul tractor-trailer for seven years throughout North America but he said he wouldn’t want to do that anymore because of the bad drivers on the road. I asked him if he lives indoors and he answered, “Sometimes”. He said he’d like to get a job so he could have a place and cook his own food. I asked him if he ever goes to PARC for the free breakfast and he told me that he used to work there sweeping the floor. He shared that he’s also washed dishes and I told him that I’ve done that too. He said he sometimes hangs out on the Danforth but he might go back to the States. After a while Stephen shook my hand and walked off and I could see that he has a little bit of trouble walking.
A tall and very talkative teenager arrived holding a bicycle tube, telling me that he needed to buy another one and wondering if they had any at Bike Pirates. I assured him that they have plenty.
The volunteer from India came and propped his bike against the locked metal fence that goes the shop door. Since he’s not a key holder he had to wait along with the rest of us. He told me that my tire had probably ripped from the rubber drying out. I asked him who else was coming in. He said that Dave would be there. Both he and Dave work for pay at Bike Chain. I’d always wondered if U of T sponsors Bike Chain but he says that it’s actually the student union but they pay cheap rent to the university. I asked his name and he told me it’s Gautam, as in one of the names for Buddha. I wondered if he goes to U of T but he answered that he already graduated with a Masters degree and now he wants to work in art therapy with low functioning autistic children.
Dave opened up late again and even a little later than two Saturdays ago. I took a stand and removed my tire. Since this was only the front wheel I thought it was going to be a simple operation but there were unanticipated complications. My rim tape was all dried up so I decided to replace it but in a lot of places it was stuck to the rim and so I had to scrape pieces of it off with a screwdriver. I put some new rim tape on and it took a while to centre it evenly. I bought a new tire and put the wheel back on my bike but noticed that it was out of true so Gautam helped me true it. I still didn’t really learn how to true a rim this time either. Gautam does it by eyeing the space between the rim and the calliper and turning the spoke until the daylight is gone. But I still don’t know which spokes to turn unless I’m told. In this case Gautam told me and so I turned those ones until there was no daylight and it seemed to do the trick but I still wouldn’t be able to start from scratch. I’d had to remove my plastic reflector to access some of the spokes and ended up breaking it when I tried to put it back on. I had to look around for a while but I stole another reflector from a second hand rim and that one went on easily. Gautam told me that those rim reflectors aren’t really visible at night until the car driver is too close to stop.
I was at Bike Pirates for about an hour and a half. I paid $16 for parts and gave a $14 donation. I went home to pee and then went back out to No Frills where they were having a $2 sale. I got strawberries, grapes, bananas, 500 grams of old cheddar, a pack of chicken drumsticks, a bottle of mouthwash, some yogourt and a bag of superfries.
After I got home I put my food away and then went back out to the liquor store to buy a couple of cans of Creemore but they were out. I went home and took my bike up to the Beer Store to get my beer.
I had the hummus crackers that I’d gotten from the food bank with hummus for lunch but the crackers were stale.
            After I’d eaten I was tired from the busy first part of my day and needed a siesta. It was already after 16:30 so I knew it’d be too late for a bike ride when I woke up.
That evening it had been 24 hours since I’d begun to soak my amethyst rock in vinegar but there was no progress to speak off. There were a few flecks of sediment on the bottom but it’s possible that they would have been there if I’d soaked the rock in water.
 I had eggs with toast and a beer for dinner and watched two episodes of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
In the first, Thalia has a scheme to make money from a big youth picnic by ordering the bread and fixings for 400 ham and cheese sandwiches on Dobie’s father’s bill while his parents are out of town. With Maynard’s help they make the sandwiches but the morning of the picnic it rains. They learn that the picnic will be held on Sunday instead so they put the sandwiches in the freezer and then of course it’s a disaster because they have to figure out ridiculous ways to thaw them out, thereby ruining most of them. They save 100 sandwiches but it rains again.
The second is interesting because Maynard gets a Beatnik girlfriend. Dobie and Maynard meet the wealthy Sabrina Armitage who invites them to a fancy party. Maynard is says no because though he does a lot of things bad, dancing is what he does bad best. Suddenly Sabrina’s Beatnik friend, Venice West arrives and they she and Maynard are gone on each other. “Who do you dig on the horn?” she asks “Dizzy Gillespie, who else?" "Like cool! On the 88s?” "Thelonious Monk, natch!” Now Maynard wants to go to the party. Sabrina tells them as she leaves, “It's a formal party, so we're dressing." Maynard says, "Naturally! There's like laws in this town!" The night of the party Dobie and Maynard arrive in their best clothes but the butler turns them away, saying that the dress code is “black tie”. They come back with black ties but they are still rejected because the butler had meant tuxedoes. They meet Sabrina’s cousin Chatsworth Osborne III on his way in and because he’s been trying to be accepted in Dobie and Maynard’s social group he agrees to share his tuxedo with them at half hour intervals. Maynard gets to hang with Venice with their heads together, their eyes far out and snapping their fingers whether there’s music or not. The name Venice West is derived from the fact that Venice West, California was a Beatnik haven.

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