Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lament for a Village

The other day - as I sat on the subway commuting to my place of work... my friend Lobo looked at me and screamed. Little black worms were crawling up and down the neatly pressed sleaves of my oxford shirt (the same shirt that I had Parker's clean for $5.00 after getting into an argument with my cheap downtown dry cleaner... sigh, guess that personal jihad is over).

Suddenly I began to notice the black worms everywhere in the Faux's many ravines. At first I thought the worms, a new species - Faux Vermes - were a possible product of global warming. The longer and hotter spring had perhaps created a larger window for the seemingly innocuous worms to spawn and take over additional territory. However, after jumping down from my Al Gore perch - is it really an inconvenient truth? - I started thinking that Faux Vermes were tied to much more sinister developments round the Faux.

I would argue that there are few binding myth's that hold the Village together as distinct from the rest of the city. Although a love of Starbucks and all things Gucci would seemingly point to a strong sense of common identity these characteristics are at base simply proof of rampant commercialism. Does Lululemon equate the concept of a Village sovereign identity - or is it simply an extension of a pervasive mono-culture?

Yet for all of my attempt to lambast this place - the Village does have its own special physicallity to it. Mostly constructured in the 1920's and 1930's the Village's staid Georgian and Mock Tudor houses provided a welcoming respite for Toronto's emerging upper middle classes. The Faux allowed lawyers and doctors to escape downtown Toronto's cramped Victorian row houses for a life in the suburbs. The Village was and is the original extension of that cliched North American dream. Essentially a early twentieth century garden suburb - there is nothing special about the Faux's geographic plot of land; yet the 'hood is consistently referred to as exclusive or tony in the pages of Toronto's papers. Yet it retains this air of exclusivity regardless of the rather plainess of its natural beauty. The Faux does NOT for example have the geographic splendour of its Montreal equivalent: Outremont and Westmount. No - the Village and its bucolic glory is actually very Torontonian - quiet and efficient - magnificence has never been what the Village is selling; rather, its shiny red brick boxes, gracefully placed behind wide front lawns, each crowned with a large maple tree, have been the key features which have created an image of everlasting elegance.

With sadness, however, this Village is no more. It's Upper Middle Class tax bracket has long since been broken by increasing wealth - doctor's and lawyer's don't live here anymore - inherited wealth, stock broker's and the like have long since moved to town - tearing down vintage 1920's centre hall's to erect faux chateau stone monstrosities, often too big for their plot of land and which lear over their neighbours, with a showy sense of non-modernity, as if proclaiming that, "hey our leaded glass windows and dental moulding makes us look old right?" This is in fact faux on top of faux [remember the tear-down of today is actually a mock tudor]- a concept too difficult for my simple mind to wrap its head around.

I know... this sounds all rather classist of me doesn't it? Decrying the new money that has suddenly usurped my pleasant utopia, as if these "people" don't deserve to experience to the type of lifestyle and serenity that has attracted Toronto's elite for the past several decades. And yet the libertarian in me understands this need for dynamism - stagnancy leads to a slow slow death.

As I walk to work every morning my black dress shoes get muddied by the ever marching beat of construction - I can't help but feel a little nostalgic for yesteryear - when the closest thing anyone had to a sport utility vehicle was a Volvo station wagon, which is not only sensible but fuel efficient too.

Monday, May 28, 2007

I am sixteen going on seventeen

Remember when you were 16? And you thought you were the smartest, most mature person ever. It was the year you probably decided to mix vodka with slushies from Mac's Milk, and then got drunk in your parents basement by downing Mike's Hard Lemonaid, eventually throwing up hot wings while stil repressing your sexuality? (Or was that just me?)

When you're 16 and a daughter of a scion of Toronto's financial world... rebellion doesn't just equate boozing in your parents basement - the act of disobedience is much much worse.

How much worse? How about hot boxing your parents whirlpool, inviting over half the Senior class from Upper Canada College over for some Mary J as the immigrant nanny looks on in horror. Why simply throw tea into the harbour, ya know?

One would think that such acts of civil discord would result in punishment once the parental units returned home. Alas... just last weekend, our Sam Adams of the Village was seen tweaking out about EdoKo. (When you get the munchies in the Faux you eat edameme... please, who orders pizza - think of the carbs!).

Hmm... not too shabby for a 16 year-old you might say. But it gets even better - our very own Faux Hill Village Lohan-Lite was overheard shouting this nuggest of wisdom to her mom: "I saw you at Second Cup in the Village today. You can't ever be seen at the Second Cup. It's embarassing!"

Starbucks anyone? Or would you prefer a vodka slushi and a side of repression?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Faux Hill Vanity License Plate of the Week, Part 2

Black Denali SUV (whose owner probably hasn't seen an Inconvenient Truth).

Vanity License Plate: Bukame

And that's the thing about the rich... they don't seem to think puns are as funny as I do. Insert bukkake joke at your own risk.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Flock of the Faux Hillary's

The Village has reached its nadir for the summer; all social order has broken down.

Dateline - Victoria Day Weekend, Faux Hill. University students are back from school, european vacations haven't started and high school students have given up of their studies not really caring that weekly tuition at a private school is like $500. If Marie Antoinette were still around she'd probably declare: "Let them drink latte's". Calling Kiki Dunst. Welcome to May, where the Village is overrun by the annual migration of the Village's native species, the Faux Hillary; anthropologists have come to call their movements: "the Flock of the Faux Hillary".

A Flock of Faux Hillary, is a group of 14 - 17 year-old girls who travel together (minimum groups of four) to Starbucks in their parents SUV's, order drinks, chat on their cell phones: "Where are you? I'm with Melissa. We're at Starbucks. Come meet us. Ok we'll meet you at Billy's." The Flock is usually female, the male variant is smaller and stealth. The Flock of the Faux Hillary refers to the increased movement of the pack in May, when the flock comes out from their winter hibernation to wreak havock on the good people of the Faux. (and by good people I mean me)

A Flock of Faux Hillary's are assumed to be armed [the gucci waste sac is their primary weapon] and dangerous. The Flock are known to be rabid Starbucks fans and subside mostly off of over priced sushi from Edo Ko. For the time being it is recommended to travel through the Village with a partner.

Recent reports from this years Flock have not been particularly promissing and appears to be the biggest in recent memory.

While standing in line at Starbucks today Tammy, an apparent Starbucks regular, stood impatiently tapping her foot. [Don't mess with your average Faux Hillary on cafeine withdrawal. They have super human strength.]

"Hello," she randomly shouted [across the coffee shop] at the minimum wage staff, "are there really only three people working here today?" Funny she should ask, because I'm sure there were at least 15 staff doing a civil war re-enactment in the back room smirking to themselves on finally being able to deny Tammy her venti, non-fat, half soy latte. "We really got her this time!"

"I've never see Starbucks so busy." She was right, as in front of both of us, was about twenty tweens. Tammy turned to me for some empathy, not that she got any. Tammy, although a Strarbetic, was unaware of the Flock of the Faux Hillary. Literally 20 girls were standing in front of us ordering latte's and rummaging through Gucci bags bigger then their boobs for change to pay for frappuchino's. It was not a pretty site. Colour Tammy un-amused.

Although this was a day time occurance the Flock of Faux Hillary most often come out at night. They appear out of nowhere, just when the Village appears quit and calm; suddenly, a group of ten girls will depart from black SUV's, run into Starbucks, grab what they want before screeching off in a hurry off to the next house party. Sometimes two separate groups will meet on the street exchange fake pleasantries before juding everyone's legging and RH Vintage Life, Nature, Love sweat combo.

The best way to deal with a Flock of Faux Hillary's is, however, to stand your ground. KB and I did that last night while protecting our own turf from a male pack of Faux Hillary's. The three sixteen year-olds where smoking on the patio (a non-smoking zone). We kindly asked them to stop... however, the one with braces got a bit lippy, referring to yours truly as a homo (damn straight) and KB as a cunt.

"I'm frightened," said KB. "Maybe we should go?"
"No. We can't show weakness." To a flock of Faux Hillary any sense of weakness will be exploited - and enlarge their sense of entitlement. Luckily KB whipped out the trump card: "I have asthma," and the patronizing, "sweetie, your smoking is really bothering me."

Patronization is your only weapon against the Flock. Use it wisely.

Monday, May 14, 2007

"What are you doing this summer?" Part 1

I ran into the younger sister of a Faux Hill friend the other day. Having just gotten back from university the sister, avec Gucci aviators, was out and about trying to find a waitressing job.

"So what are you doing this summer?" She asked before too long.
"Same thing I did during the fall." I responded sincerely. "Work."
"Oh." Silence. "You aren't working at the Gap are you?"
"No - I have a full-time job. So what are your plans for the summer?"
"Looking for a job, then I'm going to Europe with some friends! You should come!"

And I realized - Faux Hillary's don't really work in the summer. I mean why work when you can play? Once the weather turns nice, kids return home from university, spend about a month sitting at Starbucks before being sent off to sleepover camp and or Europe so they can sit in the one Starbucks in Madrid near the Reina Sofia and absorb the culture. "Don't you just love Spain?" Europe is not a priveledge - its a right. Besides how cool is it to buy Louis Vuitton from Paris? Like OMG.

I left wondering whether Europe was indeed always given. Then I remembered a conversation Sim Sim Sima recently had with one of her gal pals, who declared, "you know how when people turn 60 theyir husband's take them to Europe?"

Ah - the apples don't fall far from the many trees in the Forest.

For the pratfalls of the European vacay, however, stay tuned...