Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Welcome to the Junction, We Got Fun 'n' Games...

I’ve blogged about the various hilarious and nefarious happenings in my neighbourhood before, and before I describe my morning in what my co-workers and I lovingly call “The J-Hole,” but is properly known as The Junction, I should point out that much of the area is quite nice. It’s a neighbourhood in transition – one that became depressed and run-down after the nearby stockyard (now a bunch of box stores) closed years ago – and is steadily recovering through the arrival of new businesses, younger renters and condos. Not to mention that until 2000 it was the last dry neighbourhood in Toronto, meaning no boozed sold/served anywhere, which killed much of its business. It's obviously a bittersweet blessing watching an old neighborhood modernize and homogenize, but it's better than watching it crumble instead of gentrify.

So, you have a bunch of run-down row houses and dilapidated slum landlord-owned rat-traps on one side of Dundas street and some really nice old houses on the other side, with a mix of young adults and sketchmeisters living above the stores on Dundas. Business-wise, there’s a mix of crummy old convenience stores, nice restaurants, Money Mart-type places, art galleries, abandoned storefronts, nice hair salons and other business that range from cool little specialty stores to grubby retail holes that resemble mini flea markets. You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both and, well, y'know.

This morning was the baaad, unfortunately. I was about to leave the rear parking lot door of the condo when I heard a scuffle outside. Someone was taking a beating and there was yelling about someone “fucking” someone’s 14-year-old daughter. Whoever was taking the beating was begging for mercy, while a 40-something-year-old woman was telling the assailant that “someone was coming” and they had to go. I open the back door as a somewhat hulking and very enraged 40-something-year-old guy storms past. Sweaty, with bloody knuckles. There was a “kid” – at least he looked in his late teens – lying in our garbage nook, bleeding and swelling like hemorrhoid on a horse rider at a nudist camp. He was pulverized, but half-conscious.

After hearing the whole sex-with-my-underage-daughter stuff, I gotta say I was tempted for a few seconds to leave the guy there, but came to my senses realizing he could be seriously hurt and whatever he might have done didn’t justify that violence. So I called 911 while the “kid” (I’m pretty sure I heard later that he was in his 20s) sat on the back steps dazed and bleeding. Ambulance and cops arrived; I gave a statement. The skinny, grubby punching bag of a man, who was wearing a weed T-shirt, didn’t want to co-operate with the police, making me suspect that he'd had it coming.

And that was hour-one of my workday.

I don’t doubt that I made the right choice, but there’s that part of me that wonders what if I had a young teenage daughter defiled by a grown man (wearing a terrible weed-themed T-shirt, no less)? Either way, helluva wake-up this morning.

Welcome to The Junction, we take it day by day; if you want it, you're gonna bleed, but it's the price to pay.