Zat funny vun wis ze sree uzer guys

Posted on March 8th, 2010 2 great comments. Room for one more!

It’s been a helluva few days around here, dear reader. I’ve been cleaning the flat, apologizing to Ollie, and getting some stuff for my fridge. That last part I was once again pleased to be able to do at St. Lawrence Market There really is great stuff there that I haven’t seen anywhere else around town, and the neighbourhood locals are unparalleled. The one old lady I bumped into this time happened to be buying a loaf of bread from Future Bakery. I lucked out (one Vienna Rye still left!), and she seemed pleased / perplexed with her purchase.

The rest of this story I’ll narrate around the walk that I took shortly after that conversation. That talk propelled me into the walk, as it were. I pulled the shopping cart behind me the whole way (surprisingly, pears: unharmed), along Wellington Street. Just headed directly west. And  don’t know about you, but that’s one sexy street. Even just the way it begins!

flatiron building, wellington street east, toronto, city, life

The old city basically starts to spread itself open here. Wellington is an old-time street, it’s near enough to the lake to belong to the original town, I figure, plus there are enough old buildings left along it to suggest the same thing.

I love walking down here in the late afternoon; with the sun almost equally aligned between the pillars; it’s über-dramatic.

wellington street east, toronto, city, life

But I was discussing the old lady, wasn’t I? Right.

So, as we were waiting to pay for our loaves, she mouthed something imperceptibly. She’d done the same thing earlier when she saw me helping myself to the few bagged breads remaining on top of the display case (they’re loosely cordoned). She held up her own and said something. I’m not sure if she was proud of her ability to have heaved her shriveled frame up that case to retrieve her own bread, or if she had been finger-wagged by the staff for the same offense. Or both. Her face was an uncertain mix of smiling and frowning. At the same time. And she spoke so softly, I couldn’t make out anything she was saying.

It was a bit unsettling.

I thought she’d left by the time I’d finished pawing the merchandise, but she suddenly reappeared at the cash counter around the corner. Holy shit!

“You know zat voman? Zat funny vun? Wis ze sree uzer guys?”

This time, I guess, she’d cleared her throat or something, and was finally able to speak. Okay, but seriously, what an awkward opener? Zat woman? My mind jumped to Catherine O’Hara when she’d been on SCTV. But ze sree uzer guys? I’m pretty sure there were more than sree guys on SCTV at that time.

That’s where my thought train made its last stop. I was just left standing in the billowing steam at the station with a blank expression on my face.

bay street, bank, sewer, steam, taxi, toronto, city, life

“Zat voman on ze show…”

Okay. Narrower. Not narrow enough, though. Would I be required to think back to the thirties or something?

“Ze Force … her name vas Guy or somesing.”

The Force now? Guy? Caballero? The fuck was she on about? Was this a sign I should get the hell outta there?

ttc, toronto transit commission, streetcar stop, yonge, wellington, streets, toronto, city, life

“Ze Canadien Force. Her name vas Goy. Zat’s it.”

And this is where I revealed my trued inner nerdiness …

“Oh, you mean Luba Goy from the Royal Canadian Air Farce?”, I replied.

If you’re not familiar with the name, or the Air Farce, don’t fret. I don’t believe most people my age would’ve heard of the show, much less Luba Goy. For anyone younger or outside of Canada, that’d be even more unlikely. It’s, well, kind of a retiree show that used to be shot at the CBC studios. It’s especially retiree in reruns since it relied pretty heavily on the politics of the day. Yeah, politics, older performers, best-before date – that’s a pretty limited audience. Yet, I know of it. And I know Luba Goy.

I have no excuse.

The conversation ended with the old lady recounting how Luba Goy once bought her a loaf of bread at this very counter when she had mentioned that she’d seen Luba at a performance in Newfoundland.

I’m glad we finally cleared that up.

The recounting pretty much petered off at that point and she nodded politely and shuffled off. She stopped to lovingly molest an infant with its doting mother a little farther down, but disappeared shortly after that.

Having heard that story, though,  it added just that thin extra layer of interesting to Toronto. Market especially. There are portraits and signed photos of stars’ favourites shops, but not all of them — no Luba anywhere around Future Bakery. This is just one of those things that may have gotten lost in the scramble of the city. Love that kinda stuff. Makes my kung fu stronger!

king street east, poster, kung fu classes, toronto, city, life

2 Comments on “ Zat funny vun wis ze sree uzer guys ”

  • Kato
    March 10th, 2010 1:28 pm

    Awesome pics, and awesome story. Makes me want to get my butt down to the Market one day. I know right? I live here and I have never been. I should be made to watch re-runs of Royal Canadian Air Farce.

    Ahem. Kidding!

    Read more from Kato at:
  • Patrick
    March 10th, 2010 6:16 pm

    Oh, Kato, no! No one deserves that. Hey, why not just stroll on down to the market? Tell your guy/gall/friend/cat/dog/fish/parrot that you'll be a bit late one evening and grab a dinner for two (the pasta place on the upper level, south-western corner, my suggestion). Insist that they offer free samplers. :)

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