"Next Stop: Soho Street." The familiar bell tolls for Soho Street and I maneuver around the crowed streetcar to get to the back doors. After coming to a shuddering stop, the doors swing open and it's out into the crisp air I go.
It's day like these in which I love this city. It's a cold day, the sun shining through the clearing clouds and fog. The sounds are tangible. The clacking of heels fades the further away from Queen Street I walk. The bangs, pangs and booms get louder as I approach a construction zone. It's like Toronto is a continuously growing organism.
Beep-beep-beep of a reversing dump truck cuts through the air, carrying with it dust and crumbling rubble. Whistles blow as a police officer directs traffic around the dump truck. The ground rumbles as the truck pulls away, taking dirt and concrete away. The dust starts to settle, orange vests with orange heads sit along a broken wall, smoking cheap cigarettes and holding dirty coffee mugs.
The smells of the city are a map all in themselves. City air will never be as delicious as country air, that's a fact, but it is still something to relish in. The smell of people, productivity, growth, changes, hustle and bustle, cars, food, dirt. It's something I look forward to. Cigarette smokes intertwines the city smells, mostly as you pass a coffee shop or a bar or The Second City Training Facility. Occasionally the smell of horse manure is weasels it's way into the fabric of Toronto. They you know the horse cops have been out. The faint smell of hot dogs wafts down King Street. It must be lunch time.
Walking down a city street is like walking to a heat beat. 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2. You set a stride for yourself, clearing pot holes, cracks and piles of garbage on Thursday mornings. The patter of other people surrounds you, other people's personal beats help making up your own beat. Unconsciously, I find myself matching other walking beats or walking opposite to create a new beat. Every block or so, the beat changes, like the chorus of a song. As the street is chopped into segments by streetcar tracks the beat changes. One big step, two little. A step slightly left, switching back to the right. One, two, pitter, patter.
As the wind kicks up, I near my building. Weaving through the lunch traffic while crossing Wellington, a crunch through the gravel spread across the sidewalk. I shrug my scarf closer to my ears and fish my keys out of the bottom of my purse. The honking of angry cab drivers is muted as I enter the lobby, which marble glittering in the afternoon sun. It's strange to call somewhere so fancy home, but I do.
It's weird to think that I really enjoy being somewhere other then Oregon. But I really do. This city feels new and fresh and I'm ready to try it on.