Saturday Six

Why not? A day late, here is my Friday Five

1. Where were you born?

In Toronto, Ontario, in the maternity ward of the Women’s College Hospital, I believe. I now live in Kitchener, Ontario, about a ninety minute drive away.

2. Do you want to move back? Why or why not?

I don’t think the Women’s College Hospital accepts tenants, so I couldn’t move in.

Seriously, if my job or Erin’s job took us back to Toronto, I couldn’t be happier. I lived there for the first nineteen years of my life, and am still a little homesick for it. Whenever Erin goes there, she’s always impressed by the diversity of neighbourhoods, venues and people. And we both would love to be able to live without depending upon an automobile. However you cut it, it’s a great city, and if we could afford it, we would be proud to live there.

However, Kitchener is also a great city. It’s becoming more cosmopolitan and, better still, the houses are still cheap, and its downtown is coming back to life. Moreover, we’re just a ninety minute trip from downtown Toronto, by car, bus or train. So, from where I’m standing, I can have my cake and eat it too.

3. Where in the World do you feel the safest?

I’m a pretty big guy, and although I don’t take safety for granted, I’m still less likely to be attacked than others. I’ve also spent nineteen years of my life growing up in Downtown Toronto. For this reason, there are some areas I find safe which ring alarm bells in others’ minds. For example, Rebecca Anderson says that she couldn’t spend more than an hour in downtown Toronto without feeling terrified, whereas I could linger there without batting an eye. However, after nineteen years of living in Toronto, I know at an unconscious level the places where you should go and the places where you should avoid.

It would be better to ask me where in the World have I felt the least safe. Parts of Chicago scared me; I’d not seen urban blight at that level until my trip there. I know enough not to walk around in downtown Detroit after dark. And there are even parts of Kitchener (small parts) where I turn my street sense up.

4. Do you feel you are well-traveled?

No. When I met Erin at a Chicago convention in 1995, it was my first time in the United States, and only my third time outside of the province of Ontario (previous to that, I’d visited Hull, Quebec for an hour, and Montreal, Quebec for a couple of days). Since then, I’ve travelled farther than ever, visiting Florida, Boston, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. When I visited Pierre, South Dakota, it was the furthest west I’d travelled, ever. Heading out into the Black Hills pushed me even further. I’ve now gone as far as a few miles from the Wyoming border.

In contrast, I first met Erin on the Internet in 1994, when she was in Geneva, Switzerland. She’s seen Paris, Ireland, the Pacific Coast, New Mexico. Her mother has been to Australia. No. I’m not well travelled at all. When we get some money, I’d like to see England and Ireland, at least.

5. Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?

I’d have to rate the Black Hills high on this list. There, I saw the Crazy Horse memorial, climbed a mountain, ate buffalo burgers and experienced Western kitsch. South Dakota in general has isolation, a truly dark night sky (try getting that in southern Ontario) and the Badlands. So, though you probably wouldn’t think of it, South Dakota’s pretty interesting. And it’s easier for me to handle in July than Florida.

The humidity has broken. Erin and I slept in our own bed last night, with the fan pumping cool air in. Our air conditioner has been switched to “fan”.

We’ll celebrate by visiting Toronto and perhaps touring the Danforth.

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