Today I saw a girl licking a fire hydrant. Seriously. No, you did not read that incorrectly. And you have no idea how much I really do wish I was exaggerating.
It wasn’t a piece of chocolate fashioned into the shape of a fire hydrant, either. Which might have made sense. It was just a plain ol’ bright yellow, City of Toronto fire hydrant. And the aforementioned girl was carefully bent at the waist, intently licking it like so much leftover Halloween candy. She seemed quite focused, too… which might even be more unsettling than the initial act itself. Almost.
I’d simply popped out at lunchtime with a co-worker to grab a coffee and pick up a December Metropass (sidebar: where the HELL did November go?) when this creative bit of performance art was presented to us (it had to have been performance art, right?) It seemed like an innocuous enough venture. But, I work in the East end of Toronto – Queen Street East, to be precise – and, for those of you familiar with the city, well: you’re familiar with the city.
Picking up the Metropass went off without incident. And, while waiting for my coffee, I assumed that the two misplaced Jersey Shore rejects sprawled across four armchairs would be the most colourful encounter of our afternoon jaunt. Silly me.
As we continued back to the office, coffee happily & firmly in hand, we realized that today was no ordinary day. It seemed that Pauly D and The Situation had, in fact, been trumped in the One of These Things Is Not Like The Other category by Shoeless Homeless Guy (is it wrong to assume one based on the other?)
SHG was, happily, rolling around on the sidewalk in front of a pub with a poor, unsuspecting dog who’d been tethered to a bike rack whilst his owner, presumably, ran inside to grab some takeout. Puppy didn’t look impressed. In all honesty, though, SHG looked like he was having the time of his life. So who am I to judge?
It was then that we encountered the initial oddity: Girl Licking Fire Hydrant. Sounds like the title for a piece of modern art. And, hey – for all I know she was a street artist working on a new piece. I’m going to go out on a limb, though, and vote: no. This is a neighbourhood quite renowned for its pharmaceutically-powered goings ons.
And, in all fairness, the neighbourhood wherein my office resides is – in general – one of the more sketchy of the downtown core, replete with characters living in each & every level of crazy town (as well as varying levels of chemical dependency.)
Come to think of it, this is the same – almost to the exact same block – location where I witnessed the charming meth-head-about-town regale me with a Harley Salute* this summer past. Maybe it was the same girl. Good to know she has hobbies for all seasons.
I love my city.
*A universal greeting primarily used by women intent on getting the attention of a lead singer and/or guitarist (not to mention the camera crew responsible for the Jumbotron feed) at a concert.