I accidentally got on the wrong streetcar yesterday because I wasn't really paying attention. A minor detour took me a few blocks further south than I wanted to go, but it also gave me this story to post.
A young couple with a tiny baby got on the streetcar in front of the Art Gallery, with a tourist map in hand and looking totally confused. The Husband approached the streetcar driver for directions and was quickly waved away with a brisk grunt, so when they seated themselves in front of me, I asked them if they needed any help.
They happily accepted my offer, so the Husband and I mapped out their route, and he confessed that this was his first visit to Toronto, and remarked that everyone was "much friendlier than in New York". I asked if he was from New York. He was from South Carolina, but the Wife hailed from Utica, NY, and came here often to visit her sister.
They told me how much they loved Toronto, how friendly and helpful our people have been, and how our city was so clean and beautiful. I felt really proud of my city at that moment, even though it smelled like shit. Literally. There was an intense sewage stench in the air and I assumed we had stopped next to a sewer grate, or maybe it was the evildoing of their small infant...
But being the awesome urban ambassador that I am, I pressed on and answered their questions about where to dine, where to find good fashion bargains, and general places of interest. Their enthusiasm was infectious, and by the time we arrived at my stop and I bid them farewell, I was thinking there's no place else in the world I'd want to live. I complain about this place sometimes, and all the jerks I have to share it with, but when you evaluate your surroundings through a stranger's eyes, it can remind you about all the amazing things you should be grateful for.
That's when I discovered the source of the nauseating stench that had plagued our commute. Right next to the exit door, someone had taken a HUGE DUMP on the streetcar floor. A huge HUMAN dump. And the culprit, a smelly and senile old man with a cane, was trying to kick his crap under a seat while everyone around him hissed insults and called up to the driver for assistance.
I felt really bad for the guy because he didn't seem to know what was going on, but there was no way in hell I was gonna stick around. I'd done my good deed for the day, so Mr. Stinky was on his own. I hopped over the pile of dung and headed for the subway, with my contempt for fellow Torontonians fully reinstated.