Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Orange Blossom

A few days ago, I was a little too distracted (and a little too out of town) to write a real story, so instead, I posted a bunch of pictures of me through the years. I was in Brampton that day, visiting my parents, and ended up spending hours drinking wine, and going through all of my parents old photos. I am very greedy when it comes to photos, but I don't wish to actually steal then from anyone, so I have my own way of doing things. Faster than scanning in each one, I simply take a picture of the picture. This is why you'll often notice either my reflection in a glossy photo, or see carpet surrounding it as I tend to lay the photo on the floor to get my shot of it.

Anyway, in going through all of these wonderful old photos, I was surprised by all of the various hairstyles I've had through the years. Of course, I remember having all of these hairstyles, and I'm not overly surprised, but I'm reminded of the days in which I sported those styles. This brings me to this one:

This was one of those styles that I thought was amazing at the time, one of the only times I actually felt cool. However, looking back at it now, well, I see clearly that it was probably the worst style for me. I'm not here to write about my hairstyles, but about the memories of the days in which I wore this particular look.

I would say I was about twenty-four here, living on my own on Queen west, just down the street from CityTV. No, that is not my personal fireplace behind me though, I was at my parents' when this shot was taken. My apartment (above a 24 hour convenience store) was the epitome of a young Torontonian's first ever, true downtown apartment. My friend Jerry had lived in it before me, and in those days I was honestly afraid of the orange walls in the livingroom. Beyond orange walls, the place was also aqua-marine, black and purple with an age old teal/blue carpet, industrial linoleum floors and every room tilted in a different direction. The stairways up to the unit, which was on the third floor, got narrower and narrower as you climbed, resembling an old Alice in Wonderland nightmare. The ceiling had fallen out in various places, revealing the wooden ribs and beams in the underbelly of the building. The bathroom consisted only of a miniature toilet, and a sink mounted to to the wall, and the shower was in the bedroom.

When Jerry said he was moving out of that apartment (and into the unit right next door) he asked me if I would like to take over this orange monstrosity. I recall when he asked me, I was perched on my four poster bed, in my sponge painted room, in my twentieth story, tidy high-rise in the uptown. "Absolutely not" I said.

Less then two months later, my dad was helping me move all my belongings down to smoggy Queen west, and when we climbed the stairs and I opened the door to my new place, dad was silent at first, then smiled, and let out a little "mmm hmm" and asked "why?" Well dad, this is the beginning of my city life. I had left the confines of classy uptown, and moved down to the skids, and I was happy. At least I had my own bathroom, though divided between two rooms, both parts were mine. Jerry, who had moved next door, had a whole 50 square feet, and shared a bathroom with the aging rock star next door.

After I moved in, I decided that I loved the orange paint, it became a part of me, and in fact, I added more colour. I painted the bedroom red and royal blue, so I was now sitting in a colourful spew, great for creativity, but awful for a hangover. Those mornings sitting on my couch, my view was orange, blue, white, black, purple, aqua-marine and red...topped off with a floor to ceiling face of an anime woman.

My two livingroom windows looked out over Queen street. I would sit in those windows, listening to Jorane and drinking REV, watching protests and the MMVAs, happening simultaneously on TV and live, down the street. I'm seeing now that I could go on and on about this place, as nearly two years of my life happened here. I couldn't even begin to scratch the surface of these memories; perhaps I should write a book about it. And right near the beginning, yes, that was when I styled my hair like Cleopatra.

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