By Susan Mcfadzean
Would all car passengers please return to the car deck now please.
‘Spadina. Spadina Station.’
‘St Michaels & St Mary’s Church.’
When you take public transport you get attuned to hearing that tone of voice which stands as a beacon for home. I can’t read those words above without hearing them in the exact accents they used to ring out at me. There are only a few which are embedded in my memory, but when I mimick the call in my head a plethora (fancy word alert) of characters from that time in my life are conjured up.
I see the lady with the black hair who would scuttle around the ferry gossiping to every table and pulling on my chubby cheeks and ruffling my sisters hair. The words transport me back to the anticipation of getting away for a day and driving out of the dark car deck into the daylight on the ‘other side’. And just as easily I can be transported to Toronto and into a house overpopulated with girls chasing mice out trainers or sunbathing on the porch in the glorious sun in summer. I can remember the walk through China town to school and every sports game we went to see. I’d never seen basketball or ice hockey or baseball before. And I remember Bulk barn and the Fiji apples and trying to stay awake during a lecture from the man with the most calming voice in history. I remember all that just when I read the words ‘Spadina Station’.
And then I’ve listed my call on the 135 in London. It’s my call that Arbour Square is coming up and I should scramble all my things together and get ready to jump off. They only difference is, I can’t really conjur up anything with fond memory yet. Because I’m still in it. I’m still part of this chunk of my life. Playing it out. Riding through it. And the strange thing is I know I will look back on the house in Stepney, the months at SCA and my time as a waitress at Bistrotheque with just as much giddy-ness as home and Edinburgh and Toronto.
I once worked a fancy event and standing holding canapés listening to the speeches a very successful designer laughed about his first flat in London that he had chosen only because it had a red telephone box outside. It was his office. When I struggle with my current climate I try to remind myself that one day I’ll look back on all of this and it will seem terribly romantic. And I remind myself this is the fun part. I’m learning. Everything is new. Scary. Unknown. But that’s what makes it so exciting. I’m not bored. And I never want to be bored.