Friday, June 13, 2008

Suicide Rate Soars in Toronto


Not really, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did. I considered it freqently while spending hours in Toronto's traffic yesterday. I went to a JUMP MATH workshop at the University of Toronto and arrived 45 minutes late, even after adding an extra hour to the driving time suggested by Mapquest. It seems that Mapquest doesn't take heavy weekday traffic into consideration when calculating the time it takes to drive from one place to another. Two weeks ago, on a Saturday, my daughter and I calmly arrived in downtown Toronto after a carefree drive of an hour and forty minutes. Yesterday I arrived (not calmly) after three and a half hours of what I can only call EXCRUCIATING TORMENT!!

I don't know how Torontonians do it. Apparently it doesn't bother them to drive 2 or 3 feet at a time and then stop for a break, drive another 4 or 5 feet and stop for a little rest. Leaving aside my shattered nerve ends for a moment, I hate to think what all of this idling is doing to our air.

It wouldn't be so bad, I suppose, if one were a student of philosophy. I had plenty of time to think. I wondered why there were thousands of cars/trucks/transports on BOTH sides of the Gardiner Expressway and the QEW. Obviously people need to roll down their car windows and start exchanging phone numbers. The ones driving out of the city centre need to connect with those driving in - perhaps they could switch homes or switch jobs and they'd have no need to drive at all. Perhaps politicians could enact a law that prohibited workers from living more than 1 kilometre from their place of employment.

Then I noticed the Go Trains rattling by with room for hundreds at a GO. I decided then and there that if I was ever again stupid enough to travel to Toronto on a weekday I would take a train. Imagine, no thousands of cars trying to merge in front of you from all of those on ramps. No stop lights. The time to read a chapter or two while being whisked along at HIGH SPEED while your vehicle, if you have one, sits quietly at home - no wear, no tear, no pricey gasoline.

The only relief for my constantly roaming ADD-addled eyes was the sight of dozens of bikers, no doubt on their way to Port Dover for Friday the 13th. I was entertained by the variety of bikes, the outfits and the amount or lack of possessions. Some were loaded down with side bags and boxes and even a flashlight hanging by a rope where others were travelling lean and mean. But I could tell they were frustrated also as they had to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground - not so easy for those wearing flipflops and its NO way to ride a bike.

All I could do when I finally arrived home (traffic didn't start to move til after getting to Hamilton - took me two hours to travel 55 kms) was grunt to my daughter and lay down on the couch. I was disgusted that the round trip took seven hours in total and almost a full tank of gas. I just checked on the ViaRail website and a round trip would have cost me $69.50 - just a bit more than a tank of gas and much less time and frustration - they even have wireless internet!

Live and learn, that's all I can say.

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