Kensington Market, October 18, 2008, before the great plague of the undead which struck Toronto that year
I’ve commuted to work downtown for the past three months. Nothing usually tickles my imagination, apart from the occasional encounters with people who block entry to the empty bus seat beside them, or that time a man spent the entire subway ride relating to me the gruesome details of his buddy’s motorcycle accident.
Last week it became apparent how zombified my fellow commuters look on a Monday morning. My sense of this might have been heightened by my own level of fatigue, due to a rough night (unlike motorcycle accident man, you’ll be spared the details), or perhaps something in the air turned upstanding Torontonians like myself into semi-conscious zombies.
The shuffle of fellow passengers boarding the bus. The glossy, dead eyes of teenagers headed to school. The higher-than-average number of heads which gravity forced toward their chests. The occasional snore heard on the southbound train. The commuters attempting to exit the subway station via the “enter” turnstiles. The remnants of a Tim Horton’s spill on the stairs leading into the office complex.
All that was missing was the low drone of “braaainnns”
This morning, I noticed the same patterns, sans turnstile clumsiness and Tim Horton spills. It’s tempting to argue the TTC itself suffered a case of zombieitis on the Yonge line, except that extended subway rides due to signal issues are a fact of life.
Questions racing through my head as I surveyed the sleepy hordes:
- Are they tired from Black Friday weekend shopping and/or the first major blast of holiday festivities?
- Are they struggling to rouse themselves to mentally prepare themselves for work they dislike? Have they told Santa all they want for Christmas is not two front teeth, but a new job?
- Are they slowly losing their brain capacity, as the cells in their head slowly mutate into goo?
- Are they catatonic from the news that Denzil Minnan-Wong is Toronto’s new deputy mayor?
- Should I worry that the snoring guy beside me will collapse on my shoulder, briefly wake up, and eat my brain? (Follow-up question: should TTC officials Andy Byford and Brad Ross make a video next Hallowe’en explaining how to handle such a situation?)