Dining out

It is Merican Thanksgiving. With any luck, no one will be reading me, today. (No one in Canada reads me, anyway.) I can say things that are irresponsible, for a change.

According to pollsters, two-in-five Mericans will be celebrating their holiday today, in gatherings of family and friends, just as if they were allowed to do so under the Merican Constitution. (Whose guarantees of freedom never mentioned public health.) Whereas, the other three-in-five will be making themselves as miserable as possible, in obedience to the Batflu authorities. Some will commit suicide, on purpose; others less intentionally with their opioids; but fewer in total than the population of, say, Appalachia. Most will observe social distancing to the end, even if they die without their medical muzzles on.

Pollsters have lately been making their numbers up, for focused political purposes, but still, I have no reason to question their 40/60 estimates. It does seem to me that, these days, 60 percent of Mericans are just like Canadians.

Traditionally, we didn’t kill ourselves so frequently up here. Partly, this was because we have a smaller population; and partly because we have socialized medicine, so our guvmint does it for us. You’d think we’d kill ourselves less frequently, owing to the distraction of trying to stay warm. But no, our death rates have been tracking Greenland’s. And Greenland tracks those of Scandihoovia and Fennoscumland.  Not enough Vitamin D.


Somehow I have wandered off my intended topic, which was outdoor dining. So let’s get back on-message.

Canada is not into outdoor dining. Too many polar bears. Well, they are into outdoor dining, but the humans only began to emulate them recently. Note that we never dine on them, or hardly ever, and would prefer that they not dine on us. Like good Canadians, we should negotiate. But it is hard to reason with a polar bear: a white supremacist if I ever saw one.

In our cities, if one can call them that, there are few polar bears, and those are usually arrested, and locked down in zoos. But Canadians never used to eat anything outside, except perhaps hot dogs. The idea of starting a café arrived from Europe, in 1963. That revolutionary Toronto courtyard was called “Lothian Mews.” It has since been demolished. One reached it through an alleyway, that made it easier to intercept polar bears.

My papa took me in there when I was a kid. It was the next best thing to leaving for Europe. I was introduced to “coffee.” In my advanced age, I would order schnitzel from the Coffee Mill — with coffee — after it relocated a few doors away. I would hang out with sophisticated friends, from Europe. That was where I used to jaw-jaw with my dear friend George Jonas, and discuss the imperfections of Canada, among other places. Since he died, I had not been in. Another reason was, it had closed, permanently.

The mistress of this joint was, like George, Hungarian. She was one Martha von Heczey. She died last year, as I just learnt, shedding a tear, for she was a magnificent woman. Her secret, in business and in life, was Never Change. Alas, now she has changed, into a dead person. Her husband, a magnificent man, walked his pet cheetah around the neighbourhood on a leash (look it up: I’m not lying). He died earlier. Circus-trained, I assumed he kept the cheetah against polar bears. But he was very tall, and large, and muscular; he could have fended for himself.

Now, fashion crazes work, for capitalism, and in the last half-century a lot of people began to eat on sidewalks. Not on the sidewalks themselves, I should explain, but on tables set along them. The Batflu Stasi are putting an end to this practice, lest any little businesses survive, but I daresay it would resume if they would go away. (Feeding them to hungry polar bears is a thought that has crossed my mind.)

Meanwhile, we must eat our schnitzels, or our turkeys for that matter, quietly inside and out of view.