I went for a walk last night with a friend. We processed some of the global events of the week. She said to me, ‘what is obvious, again, is that humanity is a thin veneer.’
The next morning, on the subway train to work at 6:15 a.m., two men were arguing at the other end of the car. I couldn’t get the gist of it from a distance, but it sounded crazy. It was distressing to hear and made me tense. I was on alert for signs of escalation.
Then, a young mother and her little boy got on at a stop and sat down opposite me. He was six or seven and flashing a big toothless grin — all his top front teeth were missing. His legs were dangling just above the floor. He was happy. They both were.
They got off at Spadina station. I imagined them going to the Jewish Community Centre for a morning swim in the saltwater pool. Maybe she was passing along the habit of caring for the physical body to her son.
Humanity was right in front of me. What I focus on is a choice. And a privilege.
If you’ve worked in restaurant kitchens for any time, you know people who have fled war.
In Toronto, brilliant career dishwashers came to the city from Sri Lanka in the mid to late eighties as part of a great wave. Generations of people — mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, grandfathers, daughters, sons — fleeing a brutal civil war at home. I work with two men who came during that period. They are the backbone of the team.
In many restaurant kitchens right now, there’s a person who knows war first-hand or has family living in a warring country — Ukraine leaps to mind.
I’ve heard stories of war. A few told by children.
Many people live through unthinkable hardship. Our privilege is being sheltered from those horrors.
Walking and talking about life’s important stuff with a friend is good for my spirit.
A perfect French croissant and a cortado are too.
I looked for music to calm my anxious heart.
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