Power outages, service, world class city
A MONTH IN THE CITY THAT WORKS. NOT
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Torontonians love to think they live in a world-class city that works. We point out that the world's best-known urbanologist, the late Jane Jacobs, used to live here, and that the late, great raconteur Peter Ustinov once described Toronto as "New York, run by the Swiss." My how things have changed. The nightly shoot-ups, the increasing number of vagrants and the pot-holed, garbage- strewn streets are only a few of the things that threaten to turn "Toronto the Good" into Toronto the not-so-good. This is a cautionary tale for other Canadians who might think that Toronto's woes could never infect their own fair cities where, for now, every thing hums along nicely, Crime and homelessness are, of course, big issues, but sometimes it's easier to take a city's pulse by noting the small, everyday things that go wrong. Here then, is a month in the life of one befuddled Torontonian.
1: The store called to say our TV, which was in for repair, was ready to be picked up. When I went to pick it up, no one at the store knew anything about it. After dozens of phone calls the TV was finally located. It had not, however, been repaired, that would take another week.
2: Visited the post office to use the copier and found it was on the fritz.
3: My wife and I decided to take in an afternoon movie. One coffee urn at the refreshment counter was empty; the coffee in the other one was only luke warm. I took it anyway, and this turned out to be a lucky break because when I sat down in the theatre, the seat collapsed. Had I had my usual hot coffee in hand, I would have been scalded.
4: Went to the hospital for my usual treatment only to be told they had no record of my appointment even though it had been confirmed the day before.
5: A garage, which boasts that it installs auto-mufflers in minutes, removed my damaged muffler then, found it didn't have the right parts to install a new one. They sent out for the parts and completed the job a mere forty-eight hours later.
6: My wife ordered a white shirt from a catalogue, and they sent us a blue one. Still, it was my size, so I kept it.
7: Three power outages in a row, while we were watching a movie on TV.
8: The drugstore delivered my prescription on time, but it was short three pills.
9: Visited a video store to rent the movie, Annie Get Your Gun. They had a copy of every old movie musical that I could think of except one. Yup: That one.
10: Went to the Albert Campbell Library to get a back issue of the Scarborough Mirror. They didn't have one, but the nice lady there phoned the Cedarbrae branch and said they had one there. The friendly guy at the Cedarbrae branch said that they should have had one, but for some reason it wasn't there. He checked his computer, and told me they had one at the Agincourt branch. Off to Agincourt where they didn't have one either, and couldn't understand why it was on the Cedarbrae computer. Anyway, except for not being able to locate a copy of Annie Get your Gun anywhere, things have been going along fairly good lately. The TV is working, the car is running okay, the lights are on and even the copy machine in the post office is fixed.
But, hey! It's only Monday.