Stupid Denmark

Well, that was a fun day. Once again, with no TTC, we left early to get to the Bloor Theatre for our documentary. It was another beautiful day so we were happy to stroll and take a couple of pictures along the way, like this one of a billboard desperately in need of grammar checker

…and this one of a very cheeky sign on St. George, on the U of T campus.

We were hungry and thirsty by the time we reached Bloor, so we stopped in at the Brunswick Avenue Pump for some food and a cold beer. Nellie got a Hoegaarden, which is always awesome, ’cause she has to hold the giant glass like a sippy cup.

After finishing up there we still had a few minutes to spare, so we backtracked to COBS Bread to pick up some tasties for the evening. Nellie got a cinnamon bun to eat in the line, and I got some kind of giant apple thing for after dinner. It was in a big box, so I asked them to hold it there for me. Off we went to get in line, and a few minutes later we were in and watching the doc.

Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go (hot docs) was our last doc, on the last day of the festival. It was a very interesting topic — troubled, violent British kids (and I mean violent…kicking, punching, spitting, stabbing, using words that would make sailors blush, etc.) at a special school — but the film itself wasn’t that impressive…I saw no arc, no narrative, no depth. The teachers, which probably isn’t even the right word for them, must surely be the most patient and calm people in the world; it would have been very interesting to see how they cope when they’re alone for a few minutes after dealing with those kids all day. So not a bad documentary by any means, but I wanted more than I got. It was a BBC doc; I suspect it was turned into a series at some point.

We left the theatre and went back to COBS. As soon as we got there the girl who’d sold me the apple thingy gasped and covered her mouth…she’d given away my dessert. Or sold it. Or gave it to the staff. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but it wasn’t there. No big deal; it’s not like I was dying for the apple dealie, but she apologized profusely, refunded my money and offered to give me anything I wanted, so I took a couple of croissants. I figure that’s what the pastry gods intended; who am I to question divine will?

We began walking home, but around Harbord and Queen’s Park it got a bit cold so we flagged a cab. Actually, we only half flagged it; it was too bright to see if the sign was on or off, and from a distance there appeared to be someone in the back. However, he pulled over and we jumped in. What we saw in the back window turned out to be a pillow, in the shape and design of a globe. Here’s how the conversation went from there:

  • Driver: I have a proposal for you.
  • Us: [dubious] Okay.
  • Driver: I’ll ask you one question, and if you get it right, your ride is free.
  • Us: [laughing] Shoot!
  • Driver: You have thirty seconds to answer. Ready? OK. What’s the capital of Nigeria?

I struggled with the answer, getting close to Lagos but not quite reaching it. As it turned out, Lagos is the biggest city but not the capital, so it didn’t matter. He gave us another chance, asking us for all 13 Canadian provinces and territories in alphabetical order, in 30 seconds. I think we could’ve gotten it, but he sped up the clock a little. The he told me to ask him a question, and we went back and forth. I got close to guessing a few (all the states bordering Canada, but forgot about stupid Minnesota; languages spoken in Singapore but I couldn’t think of Tamil; countries bordering Germany but only got 8 of 9) but this guy answered everything…African countries bordering Lake Victoria, north-to-south order of former Soviet breakaway republics, states with coasts on the Gulf of Mexico, the island between Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island, and piles of others. He even knew the names of the island chains between Tiera del Fuego and the Ross Ice Shelf; I had no idea some of the islands there are called the South Orkneys.

I asked him if he was a geography major or something; he told me he’s famous and began handing me laminated copies of press clippings about him. He actually calls himself Mr. Geography and his offer was for real…if you answer his question, your ride is free. He gave me his card and let us take his picture. I got out of the car laughing and smiling and smarter, and don’t even remember the ride home (I had my nose buried in an atlas trying to stump him). Best cab ride ever.

Quite a day. And the capital of Nigeria, in case you’re curious, is Abuja.

[tags]ttc strike, hoodia, brunswick avenue pump, cobs bread, hold me tight let me go, mr. geography, abuja[/tags]

0 responses to “Stupid Denmark

  1. that is such an awesome story! And think, if it weren’t for the TTC strike, it wouldn’t have happened. You should send that into Vinyl Café.

  2. I should point out that he doesn’t do this just for the trivia. He likes to raise awareness of the rest of the world, and his card says he’s part of a charitable organization that helps the world’s poor. I went to the website listed on the card, but it’s not active.

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