“You’re too close to the road!” the woman shouted from the passenger’s open window, before speeding away.
I was on the sidewalk with Mark in the stroller, on Queen Street, waiting to cross at the green light.
“Did that just happen?” I asked Feng. He shrugged.
It started on our first night in Toronto. After eating out at the Spaghetti Factory on Esplanade, we went up Yonge Street and hung out at Dundas Square for a while. It was a beautiful warm spring night and Mark was fascinated by the street performers—he just stood there and danced.
“Oh my God, poor kid, how come he isn’t in bed?”
“It’s too late for you to be out, honey!”
Within two minutes of standing on Dundas Square, these are the two comments I heard, by two different people.
Mind you, it was about 10 p.m.—not 5 a.m.—and Mark wasn’t the least sleepy after the long drive from Ottawa to Toronto.
“Why don’t people mind their own fucking business?” I asked Feng. “They are making me feel bad!”
When Mark started chasing after pigeons on Dundas Square, we had “helpful” people pointing out he was going to fall because he was running too fast. Yeah, I know. Mark runs, trips and falls. And guess what? He gets up right away. That’s what kids do.
One evening, we stopped at Christie Pits Park on Bloor Street, in Koreatown. Feng and I sat on the grass as Mark ran around us. There had been some kind of gathering in the park and people were packing up. Mark was watching them folding tents and carrying boxes.
“Whose child is it? Where is your mother?”
“I’m right here,” I said. I was literally ten metres from Mark, sitting by the stroller.
“Are you watching your child?”
No, I’m immersed in War and Peace and I’m about to take a bath. Of course I’m watching Mark! I’m not going to hold his hand in a park, am I? Otherwise may as well put him on a leash.
The same happened at Yorkdale Mall, a somewhat upscale shopping mall outside Toronto where we stopped on the way back. It was 11 a.m. and the mall was very quiet. Mark was fascinated by some lights hanging from the ceiling and refused to move.
“Come on, let’s give him five minutes. We can go sit down a bit,” Feng said, pointing at a comfy couch ten metres away.
“Uh uh,” I replied. “In five seconds, someone is going to call the police for a ‘lost child’ or something.”
I hadn’t even finished my sentence when I heard a loud “you should be keeping an eye on your child!” behind me, courtesy of some woman walking by.
“Told you so!”
Seriously, what’s wrong with people? What can’t they… shut up and let us live?