Coffee And Doughnuts

CB750K

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cordelia’s Mom recently published a post about inadvertently getting pulled over on her way home from work, in the middle of a SWAT takedown.  She escaped with clean underwear and no bullet holes, and asked if anyone else had had something like this happen.  While not quite that exciting, I’ve had a couple of times that I’ve been pulled over when I was completely innocent.  🙄

For about 20 years, I rode a series of motorcycles 8-10 months a year, from when enough ice melted off Canadian roads to make it safe – to when they iced up again the next winter.  This all stopped when I fell off my bike and broke my wallet.  Being on medical leave for 8 months for reconstructive surgery and physiotherapy at 80% of average wages, followed by a 500% increase in the cost of insurance for a car that wasn’t even involved in the accident will do that to you.

I used to ride the bike to work.  Taking the same route a thousand times, I soon had the traffic lights timed.  A full stop at a red light in a car is irksome, but at least you’re comfortably seated.  A full stop on a bike means supporting the machine.  I learned where to speed up a bit, and where to go a bit slower, so that lights turned green just as I arrived.

One night I left the house at 10:20 PM, for the 5-mile, 10-minute cross-town ride.  Four blocks from the plant my road was crossed by another, hanging on the side of a small hill.  The pavement flattened out to cross, then dipped down the hill again.

As I approached, I could see the orange light on the cross-street, but no headlights from any vehicles enticed to run the orange/red.  As I reached the white stop line, the light went green, and I scooted across at 30 mph.  Just over the rise, coming out of the driveway from a doughnut shop, was – a police car.  How cliché.

I slowed slightly, in case he pulled out broadside, but he slammed his brakes on.  I swerved around his protruding nose and continued, keeping an eye on my mirrors – and he turned out.  Three blocks to the main street, and I made a careful, legal right turn – and he followed.  It’s the main drag, not to worry.  A block up the street to the road my plant was on, and another cautious right turn.

The company offered parking for motorcycles on a concrete pad over an underground tank, at the end of the parking lot.  It was under some trees, away from streetlights, and next to an abandoned house.  Most of the plant’s bikers elected to park on the cement apron beside the stairs to the front entrance, where constant traffic offered a little more security.

I eased across the sidewalk and stopped the bike.  Officer Officious was still following. As I rocked the bike up onto its center stand and started peeling off my riding gloves and leather jacket, he swung onto the other side of the road, pulled a U-turn, and stopped facing the wrong way again, beside me.  Do not try this at home kids.  Only legitimate police officers are authorized to violate traffic regulations that we must obey.

I pulled off my bug-stopping riding glasses and undid my helmet strap as he swaggered his way over.  It is entertaining to see the facial expressions when someone’s preconceptions are dashed.  Perhaps he expected some teen/20s rider that he could intimidate, and seemed confused to be confronted with a 50-year-old man, old enough to be his father – but he fired the first (verbal) shot.

“Are you late for work?”
“Yes!”
“I’ll need to see your driver’s licence, ownership, and proof of insurance.”

I pulled my licence from the wallet and passed it over.  Most bikes have a small, lockable plastic box beneath the seat with a toolkit.  That’s where many bikers carry their paperwork.  I unlocked mine, dug it out and handed it over.  He retired to sit in the cruiser while I leaned on the bike.

I’d had a minor highway speeding ticket about ten years before, but my record – driving and otherwise – is surprisingly clean.  After his computer forgave my few minor sins, he returned my documents.  I put everything back where it belonged and picked up all my junk and headed for the door.  As I passed him, he took one more swing.

“I guess you have to admit that you were going pretty fast over on the other street.”
“No!”

Canada doesn’t have the Fifth Amendment, but we do have laws which prevent self incrimination.  I wasn’t going ‘pretty fast’.  He was just inattentive, and embarrassed, and possibly pissed because he’d spilled his coffee; but even if I was speeding, I don’t have to admit it.

He’d eaten ten minutes of my time, and got two words from me for his trouble.  I walked into the plant, leaving him to clean up the soggy doughnuts, and wondering why I wasn’t awed by the force of his personality.

Street Meat

Trust me to know all about food.  There are a number of food trucks situated locally, fish and chips wagons, burger and fries trucks.  Most of them have been anchored in the same spots for so long that they’ve added shaded, or completely enclosed eating areas.  There’s even a tiny, original, brick, Dairy Queen store, that used to be on my route to work at my last job, which now serves up “Newfy Fries”.

This is a delicacy (?) brought up from Newfoundland, consisting of French fries, served with seasoned bread stuffing, and often cooked peas.  I never saw the point of adding carbs, to carbs, and just stuck to gravy on my fries.

Apparently there are a number of more upscale food-service vehicles, affectionately known as gut-trucks, which remain mobile, and move from place to place, as the opportunities present.  They’re not allowed at the Multi-Cultural Festival, or the Croatian Food Festival, or the Greek Festival, held in the parking lot of the Greek Orthodox Church.  One or more of them show up at places like the daughter’s Cherry Park Festival, the Non-Violence Festival, or Afro-Fest, and move on to The Word On The Street.

To all these worthy causes, the City has added another festival (?), a Battle Of The All-Stars, food-truck display at city hall.  No history, no heritage, no information handouts, this is strictly a commercial venture  The city hall is U-shaped, with wings that almost reach the sidewalk on the main street, but the main body of the building sits back.  The rear part of this open space is a paved area, sometimes used for concerts, behind a reflecting pool/fountain/winter skating area.

Recently, the city invited eight of these food vehicles to show up at city hall.  They closed off three blocks of the street, centered on city hall, put supports in the pool and covered them with a plywood floor.  They placed four of these trucks behind, and two on each side of the street, in front.

The trucks are gaily painted, with bright graphics.  Access http://www.schmucktruck.ca, or any of the others, for menu and prices, and a list of upcoming locations.  There is an Ontario Association of Food Trucks.  I saw a rep. wearing an association tee-shirt, photographing and videoing all of the trucks with his tablet.  Aside from merely the type of food each provides, most of them present some sort of theme.

One of them appears to be a big SWAT van, because they serve Sandwiches With A Twist, cold or grilled sandwiches with premium ingredients and side dishes.  There is a British Bakery truck, covered with Union Jacks and bunting, which serves English meat pies, steak and kidney, ham and Swiss, fish and finger, Melton Mobray and Cornish pasties, which are not worn by Cockney strippers.

There was one rather plain-Jane creepy crepes truck which offered “healthy food.”  I’ll eat healthy food at home, if the wife can catch me.  If I go to a food-truck, I want breaded and deep-fried cholesterol, with lots of salt, and a beer, not Evian.  I’m told that Mr. Schmucktruck, above, serves more than just hot-dogs, burgers and fries, but even they are Angus beef burgers and fries cooked in peanut oil.

They must have had a good day.  It was supposed to last from 11 AM, to 7 PM.  The son and I went down just before 6 PM, and they, and the Brits were out of stock, and closed.  Feisty Jack serves fish and chips, chicken tikka, and a masala box.  West of Seoul provides Korean and Asian street food, including a WOS Asian, Big Mac wannabe.

El Luchador is a Spanish name which means the warrior, or fighter.  It’s the name given to the soap-opera-style Mexican wrestlers.  The couple who run that highly-decorated food-cart, dress in tight black jeans and tee-shirts, and serve customers wearing the strange masks that the Mexican wrestlers wear.

My taste for Mexican food is what drew me downtown, and to the Luchador truck, where I was disappointed.  They don’t really serve Mexican food.  In fact, they don’t really serve anything I wanted.  It’s a yuppy fusion-food wagon.  See the menu.

Menu Board 1

The son and I walked several blocks to a well-reviewed, new, Mexican restaurant, but we, and all the densified, gentrified residents of all the new, downtown condos and lofts, found it, and every other decent downtown restaurant closed on Sunday.  There were several bars open, where you could get pub-grub, but for that, we could have gone to East Side Mario’s, three blocks from the house.

We trudged back to El Luchador, stood in line an outrageous amount of time, and settled for the chicken (?) burrito.  No mention of “cat” or “gila monster”, so it must have been chicken, Thai chicken, but chicken.  For dessert, Kool Jim’s Ice Cream Truck doled out chocolate dipped, frozen bananas, banana splits, sundaes, and soft ice cream.

Overall, I was disappointed with this spew of crass commercialism, masquerading as culture.  Sitting in the sun, on concrete, eating overpriced, pretentious grub, with hundreds of strangers doesn’t really appeal to me, but the paper says that thousands attended, and a survey says that most were thrilled.  Me??!  I’ve been there twice, the first time – and the last time!

Out-of-town blog visitors, don’t be intimidated by “The Regulars”.  I appreciate your visits, and all comments are gratefully welcomed and responded to.  Feel free to have your say and ask questions.

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