Street View Stories | #1 : The View from Where I Write

The construction starts at seven o’clock every morning, except for Sundays. When I first moved in, they were tearing down the brownstone rowhouses to make room for this apartment complex.They’re putting up two buildings, but I can only see the one from where I sit down to write. The one I can see is the smaller and northerly of the two.

When I look up from where I write, this is what I see.
When I look up from where I write, this is what I see.


The workers usually finish around 4:30 in the afternoon, but there have been nights when they’ve worked until half past twelve.

I used to really enjoy my view. I could see trees and green spaces off in the distance. Now, I can see the empty layout of apartment units that look incredibly similar to one another. Eventually, I guess, I’ll see people through windows. I suppose that they’ll be able to see me, too.

Around this time of the night, I can hear the neighbours I share a balcony with talking to each other in Russian, as they stand outside and smoke marijuana and cigarettes. Sometimes, the smoke finds its way into my apartment, and I’m filled with not a little bit of nostalgia. I used to sit on my balcony and smoke cigarettes. Now, I rarely go out there to enjoy some fresh air and the view, shrinking as it is.

Unfortunately, because I rarely hang out on my balcony anymore, Riel, my cat, spends less time out there, too. He really enjoys being outside; he often sits on the windowsill next to an open window and breathes in the air. I suppose I could sit outside with him.

The funny thing about this time of the night is that the darkness sets in quickly. The last time I looked up, sunlight was still visible. Now, the lights of apartments are all that glow, from the ground up.

The street I live on is fairly quiet, but it’s always active. The people I know in this area — midtown Toronto — tend to enjoy spending their free time in the area. There are decent restaurants not too far away, but the area is lacking in decent pubs and lounges. Most of the places around here are well-lit and serve a small selection of uninteresting, overpriced drinks. The area doesn’t try to be unique; it strives to be comfortable. I like it for what it is, but I get out when I can.

The construction of these two new apartment buildings coincides with construction in the building I live in. The pool is being renovated. The parking garage is being repaired. The front entrance area is being redone. Whenever I leave my apartment, I have to pass by repairs or new development.

It’s easy to get frustrated with all of the construction taking place. It’s annoying. The dust, noise, and disorder it creates is bothersome. All you can hope for is that things will be better after it’s all over. The pace of change, though, is so slow that it’s unlikely that I’ll notice the difference when it does finally end.

It is interesting to think that while I’m trying to build a life for myself, the things I can see from where I write are being built, too.


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