My favourite parkdale bar is gone. The Golden Circle is gutted, and so am I. One less living room for those who live in rooms. The highly contagious "hip' infection is spreading west to squeeze out the original leisure class. Expensive beer makes the new joints very exclusive. But riff-raff are used to being excluded. They just shuffle down the line till they get to the end of it.
In the meantime, they're cluttering up an up-and-coming "nabe" or "hood," as the cool realtors call it. Happening stylers are herding to soon-to-be-groovy addresses only to find reality cases way harsher than TV on their doorstep. Well, sometimes technically they're on the sidewalk, and maybe the sidewalk's public, but there's a No Loitering sign posted in Parkdale, so the locals are engaging in an illegal activity.
Just get rid of the rest of their watering holes and they'll disappear to wherever it is undesirables disappear to.
Happened to witness a right textbook case of how to get a lazy poor person hangout closed down so that another nice wine-in-snifters money- coining operation can open up. Desperate to escape the house, I venture into a place where I can get a beer for thirty dimes. An unusual stranger who happens to have three police officer brothers in other countries offers the rare gift of gab, which I accept in spite of his inevitable expectations.
The incident occurring outside is under way for a little while before any of us inside take notice. Then we see a big, well-fed, lumpy fellow wearing corduroy slacks and glasses raising a cane to beat on a thin streety fella who is unarmed.
The big lump is obviously unused to physical activity of any kind, let alone fighting. The lump is combination big baby and bully. He jumps back after delivering every whack. But you can't just go trying to beat somebody up - even if you do have a stick - if you're out of shape. Lazy poor people can be tricky. Thin but wiry.
A former Circler who has kindly bought me a second beer in honour of my birthday coming up this year tries to make light of the spectacle as the pair crash into the bar's big window. "It's wide-screen!" Nevertheless we're all a bit appalled at what is not a fight, which is usually a mutual affair, but an attack.
A very short time later, four bike cops pull up and walk into the bar looking for the altercators. But they only seem to want one guy, the skinny one. They're still poking around, putting a damper on an already dismal scene, when who walks in - caneless and minus the glasses - but the beater himself!
But he's a citizen with a phone and a (soon-to-be-groovy) fixed address. He can call the police when he feels like it and they'll come. When his feeble attempt at administering a licking failed, he went crying to the cops, and worst of all, he blamed the bar.
Several police cruisers arrive. Imagine the taxpayers' money this guy's tantrum is costing. And, as my friend Rocky once pointed out, drinkers and smokers pay more taxes than anyone. But all we're getting is our night ruined. And this endangered bar is getting written up, again, this time for no good reason.
After we all abandon the place to the uniforms, I catch sight of the Lump leaning proprietorially in the adjacent doorway. He can afford to smirk. He knows whiners win.
He moved into an apartment next door to a rough tavern in a block whose local colour is not yet completely the type approved of by the Business Improvement Association. He can't stand the idea of anyone sheltering in what he considers his private doorway. So he calls the authorities and indicts his neighbours. I checked with the bar owners. They say yes, he did move in recently. And he has no reason to move out. Time and the law are on his side.
He knows that all he has to do is keep complaining and those serving and protecting his fears and prejudices will help to squeeze the bar out of existence.
Hard-working poor person I'm Not From Nova Scotia says, "Yup, they just want us all at home chained to the TV set." But the unglamorous will persevere in their pursuit of a social life, and the clash between posh and poverty will grow in glare.