wendyo's blog
APRIL 17, 2010 12:29PM

The Curse of Toronto is Lifted pt2

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Before coming here to Toronto, I read, and sorry that I don't know how to put her name in blue, Gail Waters' amazing post about her short but horrific time in Toronto.

I read it four times. I decided to lift the curse for both of us and actually I've  had a great, wonderful blessed time, with friends and with new acquaintances.

After the immigration craziness all went amazingly well.

In fact, I fell in love with Toronto. It seems to me that it is most like NYC in the 60's. We had warm weather and people were so nice, considerate, fun, punky, grungy at all ages, welcoming, chatty.

I felt so well that I  wanted to stay longer. But I woke with Robert Frost's lines coming at me from inside a dream:  "But I have promises to keep" and then I read that poem online. A beatiful poem ending with "But I have miles to go before I sleep / But I have miles to go before I sleep." Some say he was thinking suicide. I say it's a poem that is (if any poem is 'about' )  responsibility. So I'm packing up.

Later:  On leaving, at the US Customs, I didn't have a crazy person but rather: My fifth grade teacher. A Canadian woman was with me and she overheard this farewell conversation.

Customs Woman: "You're handwriting is quite poor. What exactly is that address. Could you not write it more crisply and stay within the lines? Okay, you say you have nothing to declare. That means you bought nothing?"

In fifth grade mode myself, I said, "O, I bought the shoes I have on, walking shoes."

She gave me a long look, "But you did not declare them."

Me: "I guess I forgot." She: "You have on a pair of shoes but you forgot you bought them." Me: "Something like  that, yes." She: "How much did they cost?" Me: "Thirty dollars."

She stared at my shoes. Closely. Boring white things that help me walk better. Me:  "30 dollars and fifty cents actually."  She actually took time to add the 50cents, even though I had to pay nothing.

I walked away and turned to the Canadian who was behind me.  "Fifth grade," I said. Canadian woman: "I thoght she was splendid, rather."

This made me think that in addition to hipness and wonderfulness, some Canadians are also too literal, and humorless. Of course that is true anywhere but Canadians are usually just so wonderfully kind, so very sweet that I pondered this new thought.

Then it was time to Board. This time the plane was tiny. Like eighteen rows and on my side, all single seats. My old --once conquered-- fear of flying returned, full blast. The flight was bumpy the whole way. I thought I should write out my last will on back of my Sue Miller novel I'd just bought. Then I realized I have a last will. I thought about writing out a Living Will because I thought it might be found it the debris. But then I realized my thinking was seriously askew as  I would already be dead.

Anyway, I have a Living Will and it basically says, do not even think about putting in the tubes you want me to say I want removed. I will die of death, so do not even think about touching me if I am unwell. I never intend to go to a hospital.

My lawyer found my living will hilarious. It was NOT however, a joke.  I'm a jewish Christian Science-tist freak.

So not to scare the others on this short flight, I  concentrated, best I could, and wrote down the best books I have read.  You were all around me, doing this OS exercise. I also by flight's miraculous safe ending, wrote down the name of the flight attendant who personified kindness, Canadian kindness.

 When I got home to "promises to keep" I saw that Eddie was better.  Looked better, acted better, more appreciative, healther with of course some chemo fog. 

He had two old friends of ours over and he loved the company and I did too. We all have serious diseases and we discovered how much they all overlap. And we laughed for hours. Love is the answer; I forget the question...




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Wow, it sounds like Canadian immigration/customs guys can be as big a bunch of jerkwads as Americans. I'm sorry to hear about your ex. Best of luck in Israel. I promise I'll read the NYT column.
Sorry about our customs guys.

I should look up the pieces you mention (would, if you'd made it *easy* by putting in the links), but why/how/what is this undercurrent of hope in/re Israel? (Looks pretty depressing to me...)
Lovely. Will go read Cohen.
back in NYC "promises to keep." Myriad if you can link them that would be heaven. The Cohen piece is easy to find under op-ed NYTimes. But Uri Avnery means going to Gush Shalom. It all heartening. Hi Deb, Hi New Lefty... just got in so later, gators...
I think I'm going to edit this free write because Toronto after the crazy guy was totally wonderful. Friendly. Arty. Chatting with everyone around. I swear it was like the 60's in Manhattan. I LOVE Toronto so I just wanted to convey that. I walked in and Eddie's two best friends, a couple, Jeff and Virge were here and he looks so much better and so I'm praying he gets good news Tues, petscan and lots of tests on Monday but wonderful Dr. Boyd.
Great story. Bureaucrats live everywhere but so do nice people. Glad you met both... less divides all of us than unites us. Anyway, I take that attitude with me whenever I travel.