Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Two to Go: On Windsor

I'm writing this in a beaten-up Moleskine cahier I bought shortly after I got my job. I was initially disappointed that instead of the hardbound, banded journal Moleskine is known for, I ended up with a set of three softcover notebooks. No place ribbon, no expandable pocket, just pages wrapped in cardstock. Yet even though I've since purchased the attractive and expensive model I originally wanted, I still find myself turning to the fragile and unattractive mistake I originally bought. The cover is wearing away in spots, the wrinkles, divots and dents form a cartography of the abuse I've put it through. I've only recently passed the halfway mark, the black stitches sealing the previous year behind its threaded seam.

I've been putting this one off for as long as I can. Up to this point, I could still pretend I had some tenuous connection to the city I loved, the city where I found myself, the city where I discovered what I didn't want out of my life, and gave me what I did want [which, as it turned out, was a way out].

But with the end of this blog concludes the last "contribution" I will make to our city for the foreseeable future. And surprisingly, I am perfectly fine with that. Because while I will always love you, Windsor, and I will rep you until the day I die, if my life works out in a way I would like it to, I will never live there again.

This is not an easy reality for me to acknowledge, and though I probably suspected it for months, I was able to ignore it on the basis that I was never home long enough to know I was right. But this past Christmas was the first time in maybe a year I was home long enough to get reacquainted with the flow of day-to-day life was like.

And it was slow. And boring. And small. And for the first time since I left I realized there was no denying that I had become the person I always hated: the guy who leaves Windsor and finds himself a little ashamed when he comes back. And I was okay with it.

The thing I realized tooling around with my man Hollywood on Boxing Day was that while I feel like my average speed has moved up, Windsor's has stayed the same. There's no way to say that without feeling like an arrogant prat, but it's the truth. Even in the most mundane activities here, you see more, experience more, live more than you do back home. Example: when I lived in Amherstburg, it would take anywhere between 25 - 35 minutes to drive to Windsor. Lady Trail and I drive for longer than that finding a Taco Bell across town, and it's not as soul crushingly boring as that commute up Howard Ave. used to be. Because there's something to look at other than fucking cornfields and a driving range.

So it is with a lighter heart than I was expecting that I bid you goodbye, Windsor. If not to you than to what you represent. I think I never fully let go of you, and that was a mistake, but it was the only way I knew how to leave. You were all I knew, and I had to take you with me when I left. You were never really what I wanted, but I made you work, like this beat up Moleskine. But if I now have what I want, why am I still holding onto you? Why am I fighting against who I am now, reluctant to appreciate everything I love about Toronto? Because I'm afraid of betraying you? Unlikely, you washed your hands of me the second I left. I've been in your shoes, I've done the same thing. So be it.

These are the dark days for you, Windsor. The auto economy is tanking, the Greenlink plan is bleeding money for nothing, tuition is going up and up and up. And it's gonna hit bottom before it bounces upward. But I have faith in you. I know there are enough of you who don't adhere to what the Star or Gord Henderson tell you [one last time: Gord? You're an imbecile], who don't want to feel like the victims the city's narrative is trying to construct for you. And I hope you find the strength and support to get up and bring the change the city so desperately needs.

But it will be without me.

I'll see you again, Windsor, and there's no denying the part you have played in my life. But I'm really not interested in having you part of my future.