Good times, good times

When I arrived home from work today, I took the time to make sure that I hadn't received any new phone messages. I usually don't bother because I rarely receive them, and when I do they are from a) friendly neighborhood realtors; b) my landlord; or c) Jack Layton (in the last federal election, Jack left me an upbeat message a couple of times, even though I don't live in his riding. I suspect he wanted a piece of this weblog's 'juice', since it is regularly read by literally dozens of people).

Anyhoo, my dearth of messages reminded me of 1995, when I moved to Toronto straight from 6 months of hell in Lake Louise Alberta. I didn't know a single person in Toronto, having accepted a job as a cook at Bar Italia after a phone interview. So I had never met my new boss or the owner, let alone laying eyes on the restaurant where I would be working.

Needless to say, I was a bit lonely until I had been here for a few weeks and had made some friends. The strongest memory I have from that period, new in a big city, was getting home and seeing the blinking of my answering machine's 'message' light for my new Toronto number.

It turns out my new number was really the old number of a defunct crisis hotline (probably cancelled by the Harris Conservatives).

Every night, I would get home, and listen to my messages. From day 1, they were desperate pleas for help from lost people. There didn't seem to be any kidders or pranksters. It was just really depressed people leaving a synopsis of their heartaches for someone, anyone, to listen to.

I altered my answering machine message to state "Hi, this is Pete. This telephone number is no longer a Crisis Hot Line".

But it didn't matter. People kept on leaving heartbreaking tales of personal loss and sorrow.

I must admit I fast-forwarded through a lot of the longer messages, but what can you do. It's not my job!

Welcome to the big T.O., bro!


Anonymous said...

You sound like a lonely individual. Puerto Rican rum is sometimes helpful. Buck up...the holiday season is upon us and I'm sure you can take so solace in knowing - at least I hope - that you have loved ones that you can spend some quality time with.

PALGOLAK said...

Thank you for your kind thoughts, but I consider myself a 'loner', rather than 'lonely'. There is a significant semantic difference between the two words.

And was that last comment about taking solace some sort of piss-take? It is generally understood that the holiday season is the worst time of the year for 'lonely' people-- not that I am one of those, of course.