...and I was going to miss you.

There's a gift shop located a fifteen-minute walk away from the apartment. When K. and I first moved to Toronto it tended to stock the pretty, the sweet, and the funky. After about a year it started stocking the kitschy, the trendy, and the fey. Due to the shift in stock, we tended to walk past. It was always a comfort knowing that it was there, though. If we did indeed need something kitschy or trendy or fey at the last minute, we didn't need to head down to Queen West.

After Christmas, I walked by the gift shop and noticed a realtor's sign in the window, promises of big savings, and a small notice stating that the gift shop would be closing after over ten years in business. I felt sad. I told K. She felt sad. We figured that the store owner was tired. Perhaps the owner was losing money. We shook our heads. Later, we discovered the actual reason why the owner was closing the gift shop and now it's hard to feel bad about the currently empty storefront. The main drag by our house will be getting a streetcar right of way lane this summer. I supported it. K. supported it. The people south of the main drag and business owners opposed it, even though all of the studies cited to oppose the right of way had serious methodological flaws that even a scholar in the humanities could notice. The gift shop closed because the owner opposes the right of way. When I found this out, I started remembering all of the overheard conversations in the store between the owner and the more obviously well-to-do patrons that should have kept me from going back but didn't. Instead, they'd place a six-month gap between visits. The owner didn't like the fact that the Goodwill and the Salvation Army were down the street. The owner complained about the poor people and the immigrants in the neighbourhood. The owner praised one too many rats posing as dogs. And now the owner doesn't like the fact that there will be a dedicated lane for the streetcar, making the commute for the poor, the environmentally conscious, and the can't-be-bothered-to-drive faster and making life for drivers more difficult. Now I really can't say that I'll miss the gift shop. In fact, I'm happy that the owner will be gone. I just hope that this individual doesn't live in the neighbourhood. There's far too much NIMBY crap here as it is. -Zh.


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