So as all of you rabid fans know, I recently ventured outside of my beloved Toronto into the great unknown. It was scary, but I survived.
First off, I had to rent a car. So I did. When I got there, I was informed that I was being provided with a PT Cruiser. I hate PT Cruisers. But I took my PT Cruiser and hit the wide open road. I forgot how much I enjoy driving sometimes…but quickly remembered that driving in the city is NOT enjoyable and I was only experiencing the glee of empty highway driving.
After four hours, I got to where I was going. A town with a supposed population of 5,000. I say supposed, because I do NOT believe that number to be true in the slightest. Maybe 1,000. Maybe. I found the B&B and the fiance, both of which were very lovely. We asked the B&B owners where to get food, and they recommended a new pub (note: this ‘new’ pub was approximately 2 years old. In Toronto, new means like, opened last week). It was alright. But, since it was one of the only places in town that hadn’t shut down, we ate there 7 times in 5 days. It was kind of embarassing. They knew us.
Small town stereotypes aside, this place SHUT DOWN after 7 o’clock. We would take the dog for a walk around the town (which was easily traversed by foot, I might add) and see not a soul. Not one.
Every house we walked by, if it wasn’t abandoned, had no lights on. None. But they ALL had the warm blue glow of the television coming out of the living room window. Everyone in the town was very fond of TV watching in the dark. It was a strange phenomenon.
There was a train that would go by every few minutes, and the horn would cut the creepy, motionless silence. But, we never SAW the train. It was like, a creepy ghost train. Coming from nowhere, passing through nowhere, going nowhere, and nobody around to see it.
At night, it was like walking around a movie set of really good horror movie. It was legitimately frightening. First, you’re isolated. Nobody else was around. There were no lights on, just strange blue glows coming out of every house. About a third of the houses were abandoned, adding to the scariness. Everyone knows that psychos like abandoned houses.
We walked past many a weird sight, which I will detail here. One night, we walked past a house that had a strange door between the house and the garage. Said door was open, swinging back and forth, creaking on its hinges, opening into darkness. Nobody was there, but the door just opened and closed, opened and closed.
Another house had a vintage teddy bear perched on the windowsill, and it was backlit by the TV glow. It was facing out onto the street, watching the nothingness and listening to the ghost train. Fucking thing creeped me out.
Another house looked JUST like any mansion you’ve ever seen in a horror movie. Big and old, not lit up except for one light at the top of a turret. And the window of the turret was open, and the white lace curtains were flapping around outside of it in the wind. At that point, the fiance turned to me and said all creepy-like, ‘Helloooooo Mother’, a la Psycho. I hit him. It wasn’t funny.
It looked IDENTICAL to this! I was waiting for the shadow of the creepy mother to show up.
So much of the town was abandoned that it was sad when you stopped to think about it. But mostly, it was just odd and horror-movie-ish. Everything had a dark connotation and feel to it, I don’t know why:
They made ice cream scary
And then all over town, there were random objects where there shouldn’t have been. Abandoned tricycles, abandoned swing sets…….but we never saw any children. Fucking strange. And this, a perfectly placed, uprooted shrub. Note the lack of dirt around it. It was like it was just dropped there from space. I’d think if you dragged a shrub to place on one’s front sidewalk, there’d be a trail of dirt and broken branches, but apparently not:
You know, just a shrub on the front sidewalk. Roots out, naturally.
Despite the fact that we never ever saw anybody, everyone had a perfectly manicured lawn. I guess the nightly ghost train brought some nightly ghost landscapers, I dont know.
There was one intersection that had the traffic lights out. They were stuck on flashing yellow. For the entire week I was there. Everyone just kind of drove through. What the hell? Isn’t someone around to reset the damn things? Why do you insist on having a blinking yellow light going on all the time! How come nobody’s fixing this? If that happened here, they’d have someone on it in 5 minutes, right after they heard about the string of accidents.
All in all, the town was just bloody weird. The people were weird and had backwoods Southern accents (how they managed that in Northern Ontario is beyond me). The entire main strip was almost completely shut down. The one business that WAS still alive? Why, the exotic lounge of course! My question is….who goes to a strip club in a small town? Don’t you know everyone? Isn’t Becky the Dancer your part time babysitter? Your next door neighbour? Your coworkers daughter? What the hell? I don’t want to know the strippers…..how awkward.
There was nowhere to get a decent coffee. I literally had to drive one town over, in my douchebaggy PT Cruiser. I found a store that was called So and So’s Fine Food and Coffee Emporium. Okay. So I ambled in, and really wanted a damn latte or something with espresso. Not seeing any menu at all (ugh), I asked (as only a City Asshole would), “What kind of espresso based drinks do you have?” The blank stare that I got was priceless. The answer hurt me a bit……”Oh…expresso? Uh, I think a few blocks down they’ve got that.” Expresso? Oh. My wounded coffee loving soul. It’s eSpresso. With an S. My gawd.
There were good points. One, I wasn’t at work. Two, I totally didn’t give a shit about work. Three, I couldn’t get online, so I couldn’t get my work emails. Four, fuck you work. Five, I had CABLE! Six, I got a lot of knitting done. Seven, I got to see the fiance. Eight, I did a lot of drinking. Nine, no work. And ten, we were really close to a small town that my family stopped in for two seconds, generations ago, when they came to Canada and worked their way to Saskatchewan.
I’m a HUUUUGE family history buff. So we went to go check out the small town and find the gravestone of my great great great grandparents. I had no idea where they were buried, but we scoured several graveyards and tried to decode dozens of faded headstones and I managed to find them:
Shook. Not my last name. I found this amongst hundreds of graves in the rain, it was amazing!
I went, I saw, I missed my coffee. I missed my subway and my rude cityfolk. I enjoyed the time off, but damn, I’m now a city snob through and through and was SO happy to come back.