Following Instructions

I’m driving down Queen St. West in Toronto with my friend Marvin in his new white Lamborghini. I am empowered with a sense of bravado and swagger while Marvin is comfortably leaning back in the bucket seat beside me. He asks me to stop the car just before the Dufferin intersection, which is a very inconvenient place to stop a car, but I did it anyway because he seemed to be concealing some urgency. Marvin then hops out of the car, leans in and asks me to take care with my driving and instructs me to meet him at King and Church later that day. I drive away turning up the volume of some indistinguishable bland music that is playing. Marvin’s trust in my ability to manoeuvre his luxury vehicle is one part flattering and one part frightening.

After driving around aimlessly, night had fallen and I found myself in the Sherbourne and Dundas area to search for drugs. I pull over to the curb and I let a sketchy, toothless man in the Lamborghini, which sparkles and gleams a bright white in the darkest, dirtiest corner of downtown. The drug dealer instructs me to drive up the street, which I do. He hands me a little plastic bag full of kimchi and prescription painkillers. I think this is a wonderful score. Just then I glimpse flashing red and blue lights behind us. “It’s the police!” I yelp in an alarmed and loud manner. The toothless stranger then instructs me to jump out of the car while it is moving, and roll into the bushes. He is now, of course, driving the car. I follow his instructions exactly. Moments later as I’m crouching undetected and concealed by some bushes, I watch the police cruiser speed by me. I let out a “Phew” sound and wiped the sweat off my forehead. I was very relieved that I didn’t get busted with the drugs, and then subsequently I was filled with anxiety and despair for losing Marvin’s new Lamborghini that he so sincerely entrusted with me.

I make my way to the nearest Lamborghini car dealership in the hope of replacing the lost luxury vehicle. The car dealer just happened to have the exact model of car in the showroom, and he says to me: “You should buy this car for a bit over the asking price because my child has Lupus”. I do this, paying on a credit card that I pulled out of a jockstrap that for some reason I was now wearing. I was fearful of the thousands of dollars that I was spending that I did not actually have in my credit limit. I had a lucid moment as I tried to discern if there was a lesson, or some meaning, or a moral in all of this, but nothing surfaced.

Later at King and Church, I parked the Lamborghini and I made my way into a simply designed, brick-clad high-rise condo. I shared an elevator ride with a professorial looking older gentleman who was wearing a burgundy and forest green, tweed ensemble. He was smoking a fragrant tobacco pipe in the elevator, but was oddly clutching a dumpy, red Shopper’s Drug Mart bag full of cigarette butts, coupons, various chachki, and flyers. We stood together enveloped in an awkward silence before I got off on my floor with the smell of the pipe tobacco lingering on my clothing.

I find Marvin inside the condo, dressed in pyjamas while watching the movie My Private Idaho while eating a bowl of Swedish Fish gummies, his legs stretched out on the coffee table. I proudly announce that the car is fine and that I took good care of it. Marvin looks at me and responds: “I am over that car now – you can have it.” I took the drugs and kimchi that I bought out of my pocket and immediately consumed it all. I sat down next to Marvin and started weeping. He comforted me with a pat on the back and then I heard the opening theme music to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Marvin asks me to make some popcorn and I leave the room to make it. I hear a refrain in the distance – ‘you might just make it after all’. I think to myself that I have finally arrived at a release or a catharsis, but deep inside I had an unsettling feeling that I had not.