Hamilton, ON: A couple of weeks ago, it was one of those stupid hot days. Those ones that slap you in the face when you walk out of your air conditioned sanctuary and then wrap you in a thick body suit of sweat, smog, and any grime you’ve managed to pick up during the day. It didn’t help that I had eaten Indian food earlier, so whatever the hell was bleeding out of my face smelled like curry and samosas.
The supra-normal level of air conditioning on my bus, which normally grips me by the balls and chills me to the bone, merited afterthoughts of regret as a blast of hot, stinky air welcomed me off the B-line and into downtown Hamilton’s urban heat island.
My usual commute down Queen Street was largely uneventful as I brooded over the sweaty hell that was Hamilton that day. I was only one of a few sorry-sons-of-bitches traveling on foot for the lack of a car or an excuse to barricade indoors and cool off in scant amounts of clothing. However, there was someone down the next block walking in my direction and flailing his or her arms. Weird, yes? Kinda, even for Hamilton.
Curiosity peaked as the distance between us closed to about 20 meters. By this time I had diagnosed a male schizophrenic screaming at whatever fantasy was disturbing his frail grip on reality. Some might have been frightened by his intensity, but through personal experience I’ve realized that, despite stereotypes, Hamilton crazies are usually harmless and interesting people. Even if they’re not, they’ll most likely be too self-absorbed in their external reality to mind you any attention.
If you’re going to be afraid of someone in Hamilton, beware those riding motorized chairs (the ones for really fat people). They’ll run your ass down.
Anyways, by the time I was close enough to get a good look at the guy (I have awful vision) I realized, to my surprise, that his appearance did not set off the crazydar: this young dude was clean-cut, well-dressed, and, revealingly of mental integrity, using an Ipod. Through my experience, you never witness a crazy person working consumer electronics. I should clarify that when I use the term “crazy person” I refer to craaaazzzzy people – those ones who yell at birds and walk around town with determination, yet who do so without shoes or a destination.
So not only was this guy listening to a song on his Ipod, but he was screaming (with deep, guttural growls characteristic of death metal groups) what I assumed to be the lyrics while flailing his arms down one of Hamilton’s busiest roads at the busiest time of day. Who the hell does that? His “singing” was as obnoxious as it was incongruent.
But a thought train led me away from my original opinion until I envied him for being able to shamelessly express his emotions with an audio and visual recreation of whatever music he was listening to. He was out enjoying himself while I sulked about the heat on my trek home from work. Hell, if the guy’s able to have a good time in unfavorable weather conditions, then I have like 4 months to embrace my innate stupidity before the winter season.
If you catch me outside shuffling through snow while beating my chest and singing opera metal, please don’t judge me.