Like those hundreds of little turtles busting outta there shells trying to avoid the dangers of seagulls, crabs, people, fish and all other obstacles.
I’m reminded that even if it seems impossible, against all odds,
NEVER GIVE UP!
I once lived in the multicultural capital of Canada, Toronto Ontario,
from roughly 20-23yrs old. In this span of time I lived in some questionable
places, most notably a brothel for a week or two and some other colourful
houses. Including one that housed a super crazy neat freak, one super messy lazy ass and his Jack Russell (that was a real treat) & one lady in her 50’s whom the 1st I met her she had an overdose and I happened to be walking home as the Ambulance rolled up to the house, so I let them in & met my new roommate! I actually think I could write an entire book or at least heavy chapter on people I’ve lived with!
From there I moved right to the heart of things, across from Kensington market and Chinatown. Fresh market, crazy locals, beer store out my front door, it was perfect. I used to get up toss on my very fashionable white robe that I jacked from some hotel I couldn’t afford to stay at, chuck on my flip flops, a pair of ladies oversized shades, fill my 32oz red wine glass with O.J. and roll into the market for some fresh eggs and imported cheeses to whip up breakfast. Ahh glory dayz……..
In my down time I’d usually set about exploring different parts of the city and judging shops on there window displays as I was clearly just a window shopper.
One hot sunny July afternoon I set out for a hike up past the U of T then up to Bloor street for a boo at some of the local shops. Like any other hot summer day in T.O. it was a mass of people and cars and bikes and the usual organised chaos of a big city that I love to hate.
This particular afternoon was hot enough to have the likes of the Dickie Dees ice cream guy out on his half bike half ice box filled with ice cream. He was on the road with all the other traffic and bikes, taking up more space then a regular peddle biker, though not enough space to fill the lane of a car, just enough space to be annoying.
He must have just started his shift, as he came from a stopped position he would need to put about all of his mite onto the initial pedal in order to get the inertia going in order to spin the chain, of which had no gears, to move this large heavy insulated box full of ice creams that he hoped to sell prior to them all melting.
As he came from the standstill position and pushed with all his mite onto the highest pedal to move the ice cream bike, a serious of bells would jingle from atop the ice cream box alerting anyone within 100 feet that there was an ice cream bike in close range and to organise there change to get some cooling satisfaction. Well I’m sure for a relatively fit man in his late twenties sweating like fired chicken through a paper take out bag, with a box of ice cream that needs to be sold before it melts, or your student loans are gona to just keep getting bigger. Dawning the classic blue apron that you hope isn’t bleeding change as one peddles, controlling a box tank topped with bells to alert the public of your whereabouts. Trying to balance between
being noticed and pushing product, yet avoid being seen by any of your peers whilst blocking the better part of a lane of traffic in downtown Toronto. The magic of the Dickie Dees ice cream pusher.
Well on this particular hot July day on the corner of Bloor and University the traffic light switched from green to yellow, as traffic slowed and pedestrians began to halt for the little red hand on the stop light. Backing up some 30 or 40 cars in each direction and some 40 to 50ppl on each of the corners. The sound of the clanging bells atop the ice cream bike began to settle and were immediately trounced by that of the blistering pipes of a classic Harley Davidson bike and biker. To the front of the line came hundreds of pounds of steel, sweat & sex appeal. Oversized white wall tyres partially covered by leather tasselled saddle bags topped by another layer of tanned cowhide leather covered seats, eye blinding chunks of chrome engine parts and modified Harley gas tank all leading up to a mass of ape
hanger handle bars that sit awkwardly above the bike ending with tassel
handle grips. With each touch sending a rocket of ear piercing exhaust out the rear of the bike. A top this iron horse was a true blue Harley man through and through.
His tanned skin as tough and leathery as his outfit and the
better part of his bike. Black leather from headband to the toe of his blunt
nosed biker boots. I suspect cows quivered as they spot this man wearing one of there friends.
At the most perfect of moments these two men both begging
to be noticed yet trying to hide there true selves. Meet at one of the busiest
corners of the city of Toronto at the white the line lying in front of a red
light marked like the lights of a race track whilst the entire crowd waits
impatiently for the signal. Hundreds of people ahead, behind and awaiting the light to signal, all noticing if only for second the light chime of ice
cream bells and the heavy gruff of biker pipes. The devious section of the crowd notices this moment and imagines the two contrast of worlds colliding like Gladiators at the Coliseum. Plotting simple ice cream bike against years and pride of Harley ingenuity. I’m one of these deviants and a grin catches my face in the reflection of a number of others.
Like the frog in the mouth of the stork trying to strangle his way to freedom the Dickie Dees ice cream pusher knows that he will preserver against all odds. He looks at the crowd of onlookers for reassuring support, in a flash the crowd is behind him, glancing but for a moment at the red light, then over to the leather clad biker.
The crowd has now forgotten there phone calls and reasons of
impatience to watch as the biker drops into gear and the ice cream pusher rests his heavy foot on the highest peddle. Like the chains rushing through the sands to open the doors revealing pits of tigers and lions under the ground of the Coliseum the lights switch from Red to Green and the walk signals from flashing red hand to white stick man. For the first time in all my walking everyone stands still, the ice cream pusher lays his size 10 VANS to the peddle, along with the days stress of heat, hustling, years of student loans, the resentment of that little blue apron, pushing ice creams in a city that has enough wealth to feed the world & his last hope of ego that if by chance he beats the leather man off the line, he will be the envy of the entire Dickie Dees ice cream fleet. If by chance…
As the crowd watches this moment the biker casually releases the clutch and eases into the gas to let loose the rocket of exhaust defining the chime of the ice cream bells. There is absolutely no question the front tyre of the ice cream bike crosses the line as the clutch of the Harley is released from it’s grip. Student loans erase, phone calls cease, ice cream is the new Canadian currency in this city and there is only one man holding the mint!
The crowd erupts into a mix of excitement, amazement, envy & applause. As the biker griping harder on the gas only to drown out the crowd in his last attempt to save face, looking back casually at the ice cream pusher and smiling as if to say it was an honest fight and I to envy your moment of glory.
It’s moments like this I remember those thousands of turtles and that frog choking his way to freedom and I am reminded that against all odds even if it seems impossible,
NEVER GIVE UP!