Toronto is a vibrant and exciting city, full of interesting places, events, and people. Of course, along with these sorts of things that big cities boast, come the down sides, like crime, pollution, and homelessness. The latter is likely the biggest problem Toronto faces, and I encountered one of these folk on the subway the other day.
I was travelling downtown when a man in a bright green winter jacket and sunglasses stumbled his way onto the train, stumbled, twisted, mumbled, and plopped himself down in front of me. He drooled, mumbled some more, and called out asking for a light. I at first felt pity for the man. He was obviously mentally ill, but still getting himself out and about.
Then he leaned over and spat a big heavy loogie on the floor. "OK," I thought. "He's mentally ill with bad manners."
He then opened his bag and pulled out a can with a big label reading TURPENTINE. "Oh dear," I feard. "He's going to burn up the entire subway."
He opened the can and proceeded to soak a small songe or rag. He then sealed the can, put it away, and I watched closely to see what he would do, wondering why he was asking for a light earlier.
He put his hand to his mouth and took a big, deep breath. And then again. And again.
"Ah," I thought, as all previous pity quickly whisked away. "He's definitely mentally ill; it's just completely self-inflicted."
With his newly refreshed turpentine high, he began shadow-boxing with himself, and giving people leaping thumbs-up. Then, just as his show had become scary/entertaining enough, he rose, grabbed a support pole, yelled "HELLO POLE!!", and licked it.
Yeah, that takes the cake in terms of subway crazies. I am going to keep my distance from turpentine from now on.