Mimetic Desire: Track 3 Step & Stand

It is 8:17 local time. I’m seated beneath a sepia-tone print of Frank Zappa on the commode, at a table depicting a lady aviator that reads “Mort Subtie.” Between myself and the English girl across from me is a lamp. It is made from something I’ve seen but have never had a name for. A gray haired but fit man fusses around the room, ensuring everyone is delivered waffles with fruit and whipped cream. He might be the publican. I might be ageist. The waffle is delicious, but is soft and hard to cut. This is compounded by my leaf shaped butter knife. Do you every discover that some things are “stealth useless?” Looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, unwisely blows its paycheck on junk bonds and chili dogs like a duck?….I dunno…This waffle is really good. The Eternal House of Pancakes makes the things too crispy, like pour-able vanilla scented cardboard. This waffle is not that, and the whipped cream tastes fresh. An Irish girl, her head side-shaved, walks in and out of the room in a black apron singing along to the muddy strains of “Mrs. Robinson” which sounds like it’s playing off a record, but definitely isn’t. She probably works here. Probably made my waffle. I am grateful. I am a rock, I am and island, you are a Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits compilation playlist…

The English girl is gone. My feet hurt today. I had a few hours to get to the hostel and so I decided to walk from the Union Station. It took about two hours and I packed in about 13000 steps. My attention en route was dominated by public art and public houses. The sun and the hills were my enemies. You hear people talk about defeating inanimate nouns all the time, but how is that possible? I definitely see how Mt. Whatever “most treacherous whatsit in the whole whocares” could defeat a person. They could fail to climb it, or die, or tell a really implausible lie claiming credit for interacting with it. That all seems clear, but what about the reverse? How does one defeat something that cannot possibly participate? Can one really “lay the smackdown” on racism? Can defeat be defined as “to make something go away?” or “to be the party that is not defeated.” All of these are unsatisfactory. The sun and the hills of Toronto were my opponents, and though I didn’t get in any good licks of my own, I held out for the draw. I had heart. I was like Rocky.

Yo Adrian, an effort to “defeat” pervasive racism in American (and I daresay the whole of global) society is a daunting prospect, complex to unpack, predicated on mass cooperation, and riddled with derision. I however, am philosophically and, in some way, fundamentally an optimist. That said, I leave you with this thought: If I can change, and you can change, than everybody can change.— R. Balboa, Rocky IV

Speaking of change…the music just turned to Parliament’s 1978 hit “Flash Light” which just happens to be my favorite song. Out with the old and in with the funk. Most of all I was aided in my search of this town’s inner funk by Toronto native, musician, host of Zest Radio Show, and all around good dude, Paul Richmond. It was awesome. I got to be a tourist in the best way possible. I’ve always maintained that the best way to experience a city is to experience it, to build up a kind of dialogue. The next best thing is to hang with someone whose own personal history is woven into the fabric of the place. We walked all around the city, talking about things that are, and things that used to be, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, the PanAm games, Toronto’s punk heyday, rock and roll, all sorts of things. I am kicking myself for not asking him the question I would like to ask all Canadians, “So what’s the deal with Rush?”…que serah serah. I’m usually so anti-tourist I guess because I feel like tourists come to a place and slather there own agenda all over it and leave the locals as little money as possible for the trouble. Essentially basking in the funk. The funk cannot be replenished with money alone. Though I think that definitely happens, maybe I’ve been a bit hard on tourists all these years. I mean…I don’t know what I mean…Al Green is playing now. Here I am, in an eclectic hostel bar, in Danforth Village, in Toronto, in Canada, in North America, in the Western Hemisphere, on the Earth, in the Sol System, in the Milky Way Galaxy, in a universe we don’t know enough about to satisfactorily and simply label. If I can change, and you can change, and the music can change, everybody can change…or maybe my that’s just my imagination, running away with me…

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