Toronto can be a lonely place for newcomers. I should know. This week I celebrate my one-year anniversary in this city, and it sure is difficult meeting people. Therefore, I think it only reasonable that a young single woman like me should turn to the one place guaranteed to be chockablock with men: public transit.Of course, most of them aren't my type. A lot of them look married, some look gay, and still others look as if they'd like to steal your wallet. But once in a while I find myself rubbing up against some tall, handsome stranger during the rush hour subway cram and a little flame lights up inside me. It's the flame of hope that somewhere out there that special someone is riding the subway, looking for me. And maybe - just maybe - the guy next to me is him.
And so, one recent Friday afternoon I find myself commuting home with the masses - a rather sad spectacle of humanity, really. Beaten and downtrodden by the week that was, I look forward to a frosty vodka and soda on my back deck.
Then I look up and see Mr. Right looking right back at me. OK, so maybe his jeans are a bit raggedy and his hair a bit weird, but we girls can't be overly picky these days. Most importantly, he is - gasp! - making eye contact! A feat in itself for a Torontonian. Maybe he's a foreigner like me, from some other friendlier Canadian clime. A jolt of excitement rushes through me and I do the only thing I can think of: immediately look away.
A few moments later my gaze creeps back. So there he is, standing a dozen feet away, swaying to the rhythm of the train, clinging to the bar above him like some urban Tarzan: 5 o'clock shadow, 6 feet tall, 7 o'clock - drinks? How to break this inter-passenger vow of silence that everyone seems to have taken? Compliment his unusual haircut? Nah, he might think I actually like it: notions like that must be nipped in the bud.
What could I say to this complete stranger? "What stop are you getting off at?" Surely, we must have something in common besides the fact that we both ride public transit, although it is a good indicator that we're in the same economic bracket, the prestigious those-who-can't-afford-cars bracket. Either that or he could be one of those enviro types, which would be cool, too. Because even if I could afford a car I still don't think I'd own one. In fact, we're probably a lot alike.
But wouldn't it be a nice surprise if he's actually very wealthy and takes transit and wears old jeans because he's passionate about saving the environment? Now, I could definitely get hot and bothered about a guy like that.
The train pulls into Yonge and Bloor station, and he takes a step or two toward me. My heart beats faster. Am I blushing? I hope I don't have coffee breath. What's this? He's getting off! Quick! Say something!
"Excuse me?" I say, sounding a tad more desperate than I'd have liked to. He looks back. Our eyes lock. "Do you have the time?" The doors open. People are jostling to get out of the train.
"Yeah. It's 5:35." Before I can say thank you, he's whisked away with the crowd. Bong, bong, bong. The subway doors close, sealing our fate. I pass through that station often, and I'm still looking for you, Mr. Right, on the Bloor-Danforth line.