Six million people live in Toronto, and yet I see the same people all the time. Not in the same place, you understand. I see the woman with the giant beehive hairdo striding down Yonge street one day and then a week later lying in the sand on the shore of Lake Ontario.
Three months go by, and then she’s on the subway heading north to the suburbs. (Here there be dragons.)
God’s extras. The non-player characters who drift in and out of your life, and you never talk to them and they never talk to you, but when you’re wandering around the city and you see one of them – reading a book, or singing to themselves, the world feels… a little less lonely.
There’s a neighbourhood in Toronto that’s filled with tiny yapping dogs and SUV sized strollers for fertility-treatment twins and health food stores.
And Mrs. Stroller-Yoga. Scowling and be-sunglassed, talking into her iPhone on her way, of course, to yoga class.
And what is she saying? Well, this.
Mrs. Stroller-Yoga, by Kymm Zuckert of The Mighty Kymm
Hello, Susan? It’s me, Ashley. … Oh, I’m at yoga and I’m waiting for it to start, but something about the instructor was in some sort of… bike accident or something. I don’t know what it was. So we’re all waiting. … I know. I mean, GREAT. It’s wonderful that you’re saving the planet and everything, but can you please not ride your bike in the parking lane?
Okay, maybe some people call it the bike lane, but if there’s cars parked in it, it’s the parking lane, so watch out for my door opening, okay? … Honestly. Anyway – oh my goodness, it’s been such a week. Such a week like you would not believe. So – well, first of all. I had this feeling about my dogwalker? Because, you know, I have the little – the piece of paper by the door where the dogwalker drops the dog off, she checks off whether he’s gone peeps or poops, and for the past few days there’s been no poops. And I’m like, what is she DOING with this DOG that he is not POOPING? Ah – … Because if he doesn’t poop on the afternoon walk, it means that I have to take him out and it means he poops on the night walk. And that’s – … I don’t know. I don’t want to pick it up. That’s the dogwalker’s job.
Anyway. So I decided the other day that I was going to follow her when she took Simon out for his walk. So I waited for her to pick him up, and then they were going into the park and I followed them close enough that I could see but not close enough that she could see me. And, you know, she’s LIMPING, first of all, which is – I mean why didn’t they send me another walker if she’s, you know, CRIPPLED in some way. And they walked a little while, and then she sits down.
She sits down. … You’re not supposed to sit dow – you’re supposed to WALK THE DOG. The dog isn’t going to poop if he’s just STANDING THERE waiting for her to stop RESTING. You know, she’s, like, rubbing her foot or something, I don’t really know, but – seriously. She should get another job if she can’t WALK. So, and then – and then I noticed that she didn’t have the choke chain clipped, with the leash, to the other collar? … So the dog could CHOKE! It’s ridiculous and – then they’re walking around and she goes into another apartment to drop off one of the other dogs, and they’re in there for ages. I don’t know what’s the matter – is she, is she sitting down in that apartment?
My dog is not getting enough exercise if the dogwalker does nothing but sit around all day, walking from one sitting place to another and of course has the collars on wrong. So I called her boss and had her removed from my walk. I do not want that woman walking my dog anymore. … Apparently she has a broken toe. But like I said, she just should not have walked dogs that day. … Well, I don’t care how long it takes a toe to heal. I’m sure she has enough money to – that she doesn’t have to work for a couple of weeks. I mean, who doesn’t? And if they don’t, they should get a job where they DO make more money. … Well, yes! Absolutely!
ANYWAY, I was planning on having Brittany’s birthday party for her sixth birthday – it’s coming up! A week from Saturday! … And I hadn’t sent out any invitations or anything, but, you know, I mean – who else is going to have a birthday on – … I got an invitation. For another kid in her class who’s having a birthday party on that SAME DAY.
And so I called the mother, and I said, “Um, Brittany was going to have her birthday party on that day.” And she said, well, we’ve already sent out the invi – … I don’t care if they’ve already sent out the invitations! And so I said, what day is your child’s actual birthday? Because my child’s actual birthday is three days after that Saturday. So – … If Brittany’s birthday is closer, she should get to have her party the day they – … Well, this woman thought the question was ridiculous, and she’s having her child’s birthday party on that day, so you know what she said to me? She said, “Is Brittany coming to the party?” … Like Brittany’s going to THAT party. I guarantee you, the kids are all going to come to Brittany’s party.
I’ll have – I – what am I going to have. I’ll get a pony! AND a clown, AND a magician, AND a bouncy castle, AND A CAKE by one of those cake makers on the tv. That’ll do it. That other kid? He’s not going to have anybody show up to his party. … Look, I don’t care. They should know that that Saturday is the closest to Brittany’s birthday. … Well, I THINK the class sends out a list of birthdays. … Well, if they don’t, they should. People should have a little bit of consideration for other people.
Oh god, and this is the worst part. Seriously. This week has been insane. I was on my way here, to yoga, and I always stop at the Starbucks that’s on the way. You know what happened at the Starbucks on the way? The Starbucks that’s on the way was CLOSED.
So normally I can walk from my house, to Starbucks, to yoga, I can stay on the same side of the street, I don’t have to cross, it’s a straight shot, I don’t have to cross, I get my latte – they know me, they get what I want, I don’t have to explain how to make it – some of these people, honestly. … You certainly know why they’re working at Starbucks. Anyway. I had to walk across the street. To THAT Starbucks. It’s so inconvenient. Honestly. What am I, JOB?
Oh! Oh, oh. Instructor finally decided to show up. Namaste, namaste – I gotta go, Susan. Talk to you later…
God’s Extras runs on various Mondays and Wednesdays on tyrtle.com.