Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Rideshare, Sterilization and Doughnuts

I once knew a guy named Benjamin Tracey. In his early 20’s, Benjamin Tracey worked with kids in social services. He felt traumatized by the epidemic of people who used their bodies to make children but didn’t have the skills or resources or kindness to take care of them.

“We need a program to stop cruel and incompetent people from having children. If they agree to get sterilized, they get 35 bucks. Then, after the procedure, we’ll take them to Tim Horton’s and we’ll buy them a doughnut. Any doughnut they want.” According to Benjamin Tracey, this is how eugenics should work in Canada. With doughnuts.  
Doughnuts. Which one would you choose
Doughnut Photo Courtesy of my friend Shayna
She likes to buy doughnuts on Sundays 

The rideshare van from Toronto to Montreal always stops at a Tim Hortons just past Pickering. I don’t know why it stops so early. It is barely an hour out of the city.

On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to get a spot in the ten a.m. ride share van. The  pick-up is at the Pizza Pizza near Sheppard-Young subway station. The van is late. A woman wearing pink jeans and a red jacket seems very anxious that they have left without her.
“Where is my ride-share? Can I use your phone?” She is carrying a couple of shopping bags. Underneath her red jacket, she wears a t. shirt with an enormous, glittery can on it.  The cat has terrifying turquoise glitter eyes and fur. Its paw is patterned in red sequins. The woman’s name is Irena.
I volunteer to sit in the middle seat, at least for the first half.
“Where’s the seatbelt?” I ask. The driver points to the ceiling. I attach the belt across my torso but can’t figure out how to make it hold my waist.
“Guess that’s just the middle seatbelt,” says the guy beside me. He is dressed all in blue and looks as though his name might be Michael. On his knee, there’s a brown baseball cap with the word OBEY on the front. Finally, I figure out that you can keep pull seatbelt in a very specific and special way, it will attach on the left and contain my waist. Now I don’t need to white knuckle the whole 401. That said, my driver seems to text quite a bit. It is kind of like driving in India, though because Ontario is much less magical and spiritual, I feel significantly less safe.
I open the ziplock bag containing the marijuana macaroon that a childhood friend has given me for the road. For a moment, I wonder if it has an obviously foul smell to it. Then I realize that in fact, the smell comes from the tiny white dog who silently sleeps in its fabric blue cage in the back seat. The owner is significantly larger than her dog, but she too makes no noise.
The macaroon is oily. Its effect is not profound. I lean back in my seat. The left half is two inches back from the right. The blue Michael dude curls up on his blue pillow against the window. Irena rotates her torso to the right, impeding on a quarter of my ass space. She breathes heavily as she looks out the window, sipping a Merit Selection peach cocktail that contains 20% pure fruit juices. We pass several trucks filled with concrete.
Pickering reminds me of swim meets and Timbits remind me of Monday night band practices. I played the trombone and our music teacher Mr Hurd was nice enough to bribe us with timbits Sometimes we would get timbits on the swim team, but if an important swim meet was coming up, all chocolate and doughnut products were forbidden. Apparently doughnuts take at least three days to digest. Seems a bit risky.
At the Tim Hortons, I think about Benjamin Tracey and the sterilization and the doughnuts. I do not buy a timbit. Neither does Irena. She cracks open another peach cocktail juice box and stands beside the drive-through menu, gazing at the red and orange images of fresh fruit smoothies. I nibble a little more of the oily macaroon. I thought that being high would be more fun. Maybe I am too hungover. The dog owner walks the tiny white dog around the parking lot. Blue Michael smokes a cigarette with the driver and complains that he can’t sleep. The driver complains that he’s sick of driving.
Back in the car, Blue Michael gets to work on his computer. Vigorously, he types green letters onto a black screen. On the right side of the screen, windows keep popping up. Janet has a party, the window announces. Janet looks like a 2-dimensional human Barbie. There is a long red rectangular box where you can click, Yes, I am attending, or No thanks. Another window pops up. Angela will be at a golf club cocktail. Will you attend. Won’t you attend.

Although we are barely halfway, we stop again at the Freshmart convenience store and Esso gas station in Kingston. I pee several times, each time taking note that if the washroom cleanliness does not live up to my standards, I will be rewarded with a free container of air freshener. Love from Esso. Our driver leaves to pick up the other driver at the mechanic’s. The white dog is still in the car and his owner seems a bit disappointed. Blue Michael sits on the edge of the curb, his ass crack ever so generously peaking out from his blue jeans. Nobody seems to worry that the driver could very easily keep the dog and the stuff and leave us stranded at the Kingston Esso station. Irena asks to use my phone a whole bunch of times. She calls her son but there is no answer. Afterwards she offers me white chiclets from Israel. I mix them with my Excel Whitening Bubblegum.  

The new driver finally comes back with the car. I remember him from the time I went to Toronto to visit Benjamin Tracey four years ago. His name is Johnny and he wears a hat.
“Please make sure you have your seatbelts on,” he tells us. He only texts once or twice. Nobody volunteers to switch with me and take the middle seat.  There is construction on the 401 so we drive along the St. Lawrence. In the front seat, an Indian business man examines his Excel spreadsheets. He has the loudest, most obnoxious ring tone ever and people call him all the time. Irena eats a bag of chips. She offers me some but my mouth is still full of bubble gum and chiclets.
I look at the Thousand Islands and turn on Dan Savage’s sex podcast. Dan offers cures for Cunninlingus Lockjaw and says that continuing to sleep with your ex-husband is not a terrible idea.  Having an ex-husband sounds so grown-up. The Boatman and I were never married, and so we never got to have a divorce. I close my eyes and imagine the cells of my knees and my thighs dissolving into the crooked lumpy seat. My neck feels very stiff. I keep thinking about my cells. Soon I feel a pressure building at the base of my nose between my eyebrows. I wonder if I have suddenly become so aware and intuitive that my third eye is awakening. It then occurs to me that the pressure is from my enormous white sunglasses.
Irena nudges me and asks if she can use my phone again. I help Irena text her son and tell him that we will be in Montreal at 3:45. She is impressed by how fast I can text.

Valleyfield, Saint-Anne De Bellevue. The van rolls in to Montreal at 4:04. Irena’s son is waiting for her. The small white dog is let out of its blue cage and onto Sainte Catherine Street. All over Montreal, delighted people carry baguettes, eat frozen yogurt and drink beer on patios. There are no doughnuts in sight.

 The End.
This is not fiction. Benjamin Tracey really invented sterilization with doughnuts. I take zero credit for it, though I changed Benjamin Tracey's real name and I think that I did an excellent job.

Once Benjamin Tracey also wrote a play about a tennis game. The backhands and the lobbing and the missed serves reflected some couple’s relationship. Simon used to say that I was like an eight-year old sore loser tennis who cried when she didn’t get her way. Simon isn't alive anymore. 
Very Attractive Photo of Me and My Sister.
You'd be extra lucky to land us in your rideshare van.

Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go

Vipassana Diaries: Bus
Poopy Mango Babywipes, and the First Day of Christmas (almost contains nudity)
Day Trip
Selfies on the Happy Stairs (contains doughnuts)
Selfies with Brownies (self-evident)


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