There has always been an attraction to the city of Toronto, even when I was living in Oshawa – some thirty miles away. A half hour away, as the crow flies. Or roughly an hour and a half, as the car crawls.
A major magnet for me has been the movie industry. Toronto strives mightily to be seen as “Hollywood North”. And it does this by trying to run every single film that’s on the entertainment scene every weekend. As well as quite a few of the lesser known independent films. And of course there’s the annual Toronto International Film Festival. The place is richer because of the movie industry. Films that might not make it to Backwater, Ontario will get their début in the big city.
I went to one independent movie this evening, called “Carlos”. It was about “Carlos the Jackal” – a well-known Venezuelan terrorist in the late 60’s to late mid-80s. The film was five and a half hours long, and it boasted two intermissions. A good thing, because I doubt anyone could manage to stay seated to watch a film for that long, straight through.
Still, it was interesting. I only knew of The Jackal through what I’d read, and he was always presented as an amoral monster who set bombs and assassinated people right left and centre. Turns out he only killed those on the right. I had no idea he operated according to a set of Marxist principles. Which of course doesn’t make him any more appealing. It’s just that he wasn’t a nihilist.
During the second intermission I exited the Bell Lightbox Theatre (a brand new film complex) and made my way down to a coffee shop at the street level, there to do a walk-by of their baked goods. I wasn’t going to actually buy anything. I didn’t need anything, really.
But I bought some high-calorie crap anyway. But not to eat at the theatre.
Although I did.
On the way back from the coffee shop, with two minutes to go until the end of intermission, I noticed a woman standing in the rain outside of a trendy restaurant. Her job, I think, was to try and entice customers into the establishment. She smiled at me and I grinned at her.
I walked by, and then turned back. “Hey, you must be cold, in all of this rain.”
Her face brightened. “No, I’m dressed for it. Overdressed really.” And she glanced down at her oversized winter coat.
“I even have winter boots on, to keep my feet cold. No way is the tiniest bit of cold air going to get through”
I nodded. “Doesn’t look like it.”
We started chatting. She wanted to know if I lived in the area.
“No, I’m just down here to see a film, about a terrorist called ‘Carlos the Jackal'”
“Yes. You don’t know him?”
“Not really, no”
“Yeah. The film is five and a half hours long”
“Wow. Really? Hey my name is Danielle by the way”
“Wolf. Pleased to meet you”
(Not her real name. Mine either.)
Turns out she likes films too. So we talked about that for a while.
Then she said “Wolf, right? I was going to call you Dave but I knew that wasn’t right”
Right then I realized I couldn’t remember her name, even though she’d just told me. This happens all the time – and so that’s when the subject of my ADD came up.
Anyway, we learned a lot about each other. She got to telling me all about her discussions with her mother about the Bible – and I started to smile, realizing that she was attempting to “witness” to me. For those who don’t know – that’s when a fundamentalist Christian tries to convince you that you need saving. She was subtle about it, of course. As animated as she was, she wasn’t about to put the whole subject in my face, as some have done – hell, as I used to do, I think.
I smiled at her. “My favourite book in the Bible is the Book of Job”. Once again, she brightened visibly, pleased to “discover” a fellow fundie. It wasn’t true of course, but I didn’t disabuse of her of that notion. Not yet, anyway – there wasn’t enough time to get into it. I realized that intermission at the movie was many minutes long past.
So we agreed to get together again at some point.
There was nothing romantic about the exchange. Just an exchange of interest, and a realization that we could probably have a long conversation. I think, in this socially cold city where women tend not to look at men, in case one of them turns out to be a creep; where men don’t look at women for too long, in case they get taken for being a creep, our encounter was a nice change.
The film was OK too. It held my interest. I’m not quite sure I’d recommend it to anyone else though. Unless you’d really like to know about Carlos. At the end of the film he was still a monster. And apparently still alive. Unfortunately.
Don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable with people who are excessively passionate about ideologies and ultra religious ideas. At this point I have no idea if Danielle is part of that crowd. It’ll be interesting to find out.
Maybe I’m passionate about my own anti-ideology ideology. There’s a worrisome thought.