Thursday, January 25, 2007

Siraj, sweetie!

I'm sooo sorry that I haven't posted to you sooner. I know you were probably wondering what was going on with me, and that an update from the Great White North is probably overdue. Well, yep, you would be right, mister. But OK, here's my excuse, and you have to admit, it's a good one: I started doing volunteer work at a shelter. I'm serious! I know, I know –it's totally unglamorous, but I really, really enjoy it, even if it's really hard work as well.

Given your immeasurably immense inside sources, you probably already know that in order to offset the boycott and resulting US petrol deficit, me and my fellow Canadian citizens have graciously made arrangements to send some of our own homegrown electricity down to the States. I couldn't bare to live with myself knowing I was warm and cozy while Jasper, Terry and your fellow Americans were freezing to death this winter.

Anyway, despite our efforts to keep the lights in New York, that fact alone hasn't stopped a stream of US refugees (predominantly from the New England and the Great Lakes regions) from crossing our southern border into Canada.

Siraj, we are undergoing a human deluge!

Some Americans are said to be en route to Alaska, but to my eyes it doesn't look like anyone is really leaving once they get here. As a result, Toronto is taxed to the limits in every way you can imagine.

I wasn't doing much more than going to the gym since I got back, so when it became evident the city was being flooded with Americans, naturally I signed up to volunteer at a nearby shelter. I've actually been working at a place called Sojourn House since January 2nd. Sounds peaceful doesn't it. Well, we have so many people walking through the doors looking for help that everyone –me included– is working 16 hour days, 7 days a week!

A friend of mine is volunteering at the Matthew House and they have the exact same situation: They're over-burdened, under staffed and there are too many people in need.

We try to help as many as we are able, but we just can't help everyone. Sigh. It really breaks your heart to send them back out in the cold, especially since so many people traveled on foot to get here, and they often arrive famished and frost bitten. Not surprisingly the Americans are filling up Toronto's hospitals too. It's terrible, terrible humanitarian crisis that nobody was prepared for.

Well, we don't really send them back into the cold. That would be utterly cruel. No, we send everyone we can't accommodate over to the Rogers Centre, which is a huge stadium in downtown Toronto. You may have heard abut it cause that's where the Toronto Blue Jays play.

Unsurprisingly, they are having the same problems over there that they had at the The Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans during in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. And the Rogers Centre is huge! I heard a 31 story office building could fit inside it when the roof is closed! Nevertheless, it’s packed with people.

And unfortunately, –this being January and winter–, everyone is pretty much stuck inside all the time. It must be unbearable. I remember that the Houston Astrodome housed something like fifteen thousand evacuees. Well, we probably have something like a quarter of a million Americans in and around the Toronto environs, that just arrived since Christmas! So, you can imagine, we have already reached super saturation in this city.

Although I don't know how many people are actually in the Rogers Center itself. –Maybe twenty to thirty thousand people? I can not overstate how dreadfully overcrowded and awful it is said to be inside. I heard the toilets are perpetually backed up, and that's just about all anyone ever talks about when you see an interview on TV with someone whose being housed there.

It blows my mind to see what's happening. Not only are there too many people in there, and a lack of basic human services, but a lot of them are really angry, and just about anything will set them off.

Point in case: A little local magazine published by members of Toronto's Islamic community published an article the other day that featured some anti-Christian cartoons. Well, it completely blew up and the Americans got all huffy about it that they nearly blew the roof off the stadium. The Toronto Star reported that the RMCP arrested three hundred angry yanks in an ensuing riot. A lot of people got hurt and a couple of people are still in critical condition. I think a few people actually posted some footage on YouTube from during the riot, if you wanted to see it for yourself.

And, yes, are jails are full of American's too.

Anyway, that's the reason why I haven't found time to post here. And to be honest, I have to get some shut-eye right now or I'm going to collapse. Forgive me. I'm having my period on top of everything; I'm PMS'ing; and in between the exhaustion and the cramps I feel like I could be getting sick myself.

As far as our politicians go, though, I have to admit that I couldn't be more proud of our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, than I am now. Everybody thinks Mr. Harper has really, really stepped up to the plate and demonstrated almost heroic leadership. At the very least, he's managed to keep the lights on in Canada, and even help out the lower 48 with our energy surplus.

Mind you, my father thinks a new Dark Ages may be upon us, at least for the States. To be honest, actually, a lot of Canucks are kind of praying you all go black and never come back, serve some of you arrogant bastards right, is the general point of view. I feel for you guys, but I have to admit, sort of like a sex fantasy you might secretly entertain that's too, er, exotic and maybe even so dangerous that you really don't want to come true, it's still kind of exciting to think about it.


Annika Satanica :)