The Downgritty, pt.1

Posted on January 18th, 2010 9 great comments. Room for one more!

Okay, so I just made up a word for the title. I think, dear reader, you will find it quite apt toward the end of this series as we get down and gritty with Kensington Market, the motherless whore of Babylon. Alright, maybe not that bad, but still pretty gritty, at least for Toronto.

Before I start, and in case you’re wondering, I keep making these in series simply because I end up with a molehilly mountain of photos that I can’t deliver all in one go (a further bunch sits unused in my “keepers” folder). I would not subject you to a twenty megabyte download, dear reader. That’s rude. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, let me just say I’m concerned about not abusing your hard-earned time. Especially not with lengthy and, ultimately, completely unnecessary spiels about how I wouldn’t abuse your time. I mean, wouldn’t I be wasting your time by alerting you, in a wastefully lengthy manner, to the fact that I’m trying not to waste your time? Aren’t I doing that right now through the use of excessively wordy questions? And any apology I could offer would now be adding insult to injury because I’m just stretching it out even more? And why am I still going on knowing all of this?

Recursive introspection, it’s not just for breakfast anymore. :D

But the trip to the market did have a bit of a serious note to it though. At least for a little while.

ems, emergency medical services, drunk, ambulance, sidewalk, dundas street west, toronto, city, life

Of course, if you see something like this on the street, it is incumbent on you to stop and gape. So I did.

Dead? Mugged? No, just plain old alkeehol. One reclining woman and one reposed man doing his thing on the warm vent grate. The thing being him being passed out.

Momentarily, a somewhat dishevelled gentleman propped himself up against the wall I was against. He pulled his open coat behind his back with his right hand, his left making a boozily odd angle with the wall, and he leaned in slowly saying, “that’s my woman over there.” “Oh, yeah?”, I replied, partially expecting him to commence the pummeling he was holding at the ready back there for the offense I had just committed (I don’t think the details matter that much when you’re drunk).

Instead, he continued, “yeah, I can’t go over there cuz I’m drunk.” Well now there’s a pickle, isn’t it? What does one do with a statement like that? “Oh yeah?”, I replied.

“Yeah, I’m drunk, and that’s my woman. I can’t go over there right now. Oh shit, they’re not taking her?”

I guess he’d been expecting the emergency crew to gurney her up along with the snoozing dude and get her to a warm place, but she made that one classic mistake that all amateur streetfolk do: sitting up making slurringly idle chatter with the paramedics. Not really an emergency at that point, so no hospital bed.

“Well, at least she’s alright”, I tried to console him. “That’s my woman over there”, he insisted. “Right, I got that”, I nodded back.

The conversation didn’t pick up much after that. But, thankfully, the ambulance packed up and left, so the man was free to lumber back across the street to his woman where, I’m sure, he reminded her that she was his woman. Probably also informed her that he was drunk.

That was my cue and I double-timed it toward Chinatown (and Kensington Market).

chinatownm sidewalk, signs, signage, dundas street west, toronto, city, life

Chinatown is also gritty. And I don’t mean the trash, that’s kinda normal. You have the trash, the grimy streets, the graffiti; even the most illustrious establishments are tagged up like it’s going outta style.

goldstone noodle restaurant, chinatown, spadina avenue, toronto, city, life

Oh but please don’t let me mislead you, dear reader, I think gritty’s great. I may not be able to read MC Snuhrb’s tag on yonder wall, but it certainly adds to the ambiance. The ramshackle nature of the whole area makes me think that it could all be torn down in a matter of hours and replaced with something of equally wonky construction. So much stuff … so precariously perched. Exciting!

fruit market, chinatown, dundas street west, toronto, city, life

But that’s Chinatown. Let’s see how all those European immigrants do it, shall we? On to the market!

Continued in next part…

9 Comments on “ The Downgritty, pt.1 ”

  • wngl
    January 19th, 2010 9:30 am

    Your facility with language, sir, is an inspiration. Gritty is one of those words that's been neglected of late. High time to restore it to the parlance of our times, which are indisputably grit-ridden. I'll do my best to work "downgritty" into a conversation today. Who knows, you may have spawned a new category.

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  • Patrick
    January 20th, 2010 2:14 pm

    Thanks, wngl. I'm going to try to incorporate Zeitheist into a future post too — I'll link to your blog for an explanation :D

  • Laura
    January 19th, 2010 1:32 pm

    I like the word gritty. It describes the city well, parts of it anyway. There are some parts of Toronto that I don't miss at all. The gritty parts, that describes it really well.

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  • Patrick
    January 20th, 2010 2:15 pm

    Gritty implies a texture to me, Laura, so I can understand why this might not be at the top of your list. But it sure makes for easy (lazy) photographs!

  • Kato
    January 19th, 2010 2:39 pm

    This post was double time hilarious!! Oh the characters we meet on our daily treks :)

    I love Kensington. It looks so strange without all the people in the summer!

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  • Patrick
    January 20th, 2010 2:17 pm

    I know, eh, Kato? So far I've avoided being mugged or run over so my impression of Toronto's characters is still pretty benign. Unfortunately I don't spend too much time in Kensington (I'm a St. Lawrence man myself), but it seemed pretty busy over the weekend. Maybe it's just because of the tiny sidewalks :)

  • FX 初心者
    January 20th, 2010 1:55 am

    Chinatown is indeed gritty. Almost can be found in every country.

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  • Mr. Stupid
    January 20th, 2010 6:09 am

    Once again, great pictures. The streets sure do look deserted at times.

    Isn't the white car in the second picture a Nissan? I love these Cars.

    Anyways, have a good day!:)

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  • Patrick
    January 20th, 2010 2:20 pm

    Mr. Stupid, I must assume you're correct about the car being a Nissan. I kinda know what a VW looks like, maybe a Porsche, but otherwise it's a conveyance. I'm totally ignorant in that area.

What's on your mind?