11 May, 2008

Puzzling Experiences In Toronto

Here is a list of things I saw in Toronto the first few days that left me puzzled:

Condominiums built with their backyards exposed, in spitting distance, to millions of cars driving along the 401 large thoroughfare.

So much has changed in the city that I only recognise the names of the streets, but practically none of the landmarks. I haven’t been here for 25 years.

It is cold outdoors (10 degrees C), yet many people are walking around in T-shirts and flipflops. I have three layers on and regret not having brought any long sleeve turtle-neck shirts.

Most of the people I’ve seen in this area of the city are young (teens up to their 30s). I rarely see people my age or older.

A grade school traffic warden waiting at a street corner early morning for the school children to arrive: smoking one cigarette after another and looking very scruffy and hung over. What happened to the perky mothers on alternate traffic duty?

A group of overweight youths with man breasts, greasy long hair, pants that seem to mysteriously stay up somewhere in their hip regions, gold and diamond earrings on both ears, and expensive PSPs or Bluberries devices in their hands. After sitting together, in silence, in a café for an hour, one decides to go to school, two say they are skipping classes, and one goes off shopping. Initially, when they first came down to sit next to me, I thought they must be poor, then when I saw the expensive jewellery and digital devices I thought they came from rich families, then after an hour of watching them do nothing, I thought them poor in a way it is hard to explain.

I am completely baffled by the advertising. It no longer seems necessary to state what the product is or what it does. Example of three adverts:

  • Billboard: Three guys standing in working clothes. In print, “Try Us” and a website address, which is something like www.tryus.com. Billboard shown in the gay sector of Toronto, so I had no idea if the guys represent various trades, a stripper’s service, or a dating platform.
  • Billboard: A young woman sitting in her gym clothes, holding a cell phone. Slogan, “Fat-free mobility is here!”
  • A Cover Girl nail polish restaurant washroom advert: Your husband is sampling your entreé, 16-hours of colour/ don’t miss out.

It is like they adverts are speaking a foreign language I don’t understand.

1 comment:

  1. Facinating. Yes, they want you to use their products but know their ad-speak is understandable by the younger generation. Text messaging is another whole world.

    Gang kids bonding. They are poor. That may be real gold also, but their moms and dads are working two to three jobs to feed them while the kids deal. The parents never see the kids any more.

    The scruffy corner guards? Moms have one to two jobs now....costs are so high here. Bread costs are up six times higher in a year. Old folks work as much as they can now until their bodies stop working. Eggs tripple. Flour and rice are astronomical. As fuel goes up, everything else does too.