Excuse me for breathing what a satisfying coincidence that two weeks after that toxic winter fog settled over the city, the board of health asked council to produce a smog plan within a year.
It takes a near-death experience to really grasp what a relief this is. I remember mine - pneumonia, and how I rocked between each laboured breath. Dizzy from lack of oxygen, I drifted like a falling leaf, not scared, almost comfortable. I was 12, made vulnerable by my asthma.
Asthma was rare then, and I kept my weakness private. When a room filled with cigarette smoke, I'd leave to use my inhaler. But long before society sent smokers outside to puff, I'd progressed from medicating for asthma twice a year to more than twice a day, for there's no escape from this smoggy room called Toronto.
Hoping homo automobilus would evolve out of the zoom-zoom stage, I've dodged cars. Awaiting a sensible readjustment of habits and economies, I've used medication to survive. After all these years, I don't know what so many motorists are still doing here: cursing each other, grinding their teeth, arguing with the parking cops.
Maybe the personal automobile has such an irrational hold on people because it's marketed to appeal to our inner idiot. Many ads appeal directly to the inner sociopath: Dominate! Control! That's a great mindset to have as you settle yourself behind the wheel of a killer machine. But in this hungry world, one commercial really scares me. It's the one where a long-haired eco executive proposes turning crop land into fuel. The auto and petroleum industries are co-opting green sensibilities in order to inflict yet another intrusion of the car upon the landscape. Pardon me for breathing.