The 11th Biggest City

The most important detail I can offer you about London, Ontario Canada is that it is the 11th biggest city in Canada. This is a great piece of information, and if I meet you at a music festival, and you are adamant to know, not just where I live currently, or where I am from—beyond my mother and father, and I tell you—the 11th biggest city in Canada, the beauty of it is that no list available online goes beyond the 10th city. I have been calling it the 11th biggest city since I was a teen, I’m not sure who told me this info or why it became perpetuated adamantly, but it will be the 11th biggest city in Canada until the day I die.

I’ve never been to the real London but I like that I grew up with a Picadilly St. as well as a Thames river, I’m told we have better dental work over all in London, Ontario.

My first and last year of highschool in London they changed the laws in Ontario to permit women to be topless in public. On the way home from my last school dance as a freshman in the summer, my friends and I tested this out and walked home sans bra. We watched as a car sat at an intersection while the light turned, green, then yellow, then back to red again. My parents had gone to Italy for a couple weeks and I was home alone for the last few weeks of school and the beginning of summer before we were to move. My brother and sister were still on the west coast for Uni. It was without adult supervision and hanging out topless in my childhood backyard and our pool, with my friends I heard feedback about my boobs. My boobs were something other girls wished their boobs looked like. In gym class our changing room had just been one open room and we always changed in front of each other, no big deal. In my backyard though we could really take stock of each other’s bodies, laugh and admire. A few months later I moved 20 minutes outside of Boston and the changing rooms were in individual stalls, a nod to the puritans who helped build the state, the body was no longer a fiesta, but something to lock in the shadows.  

I grew up in the 11th biggest city in Canada, and I speak French not because I am French, but because I went to a French immersion school, because that is something the Canadian government offers through out the country. My brother and sister learned to drive stick shift on my dad’s BMW with a license plate that said ‘FECUND’, but being many years younger as a “surprise” I didn’t learn to drive until we moved to Winchester, MA. I learned to drive a stick shift on a Subaru with no special license plate. But because the Boston area is made up of many areas without street signs, plenty of round a bouts and unapologetic drivers, I learned to drive and parallel park like a boss. It was the only way. I’ve hardly revisited Winchester since I graduated high school, and I am happy to report I did not peak in highschool but something interesting that happened was that I used the comedy from the elections I enjoyed at my high school in London to Winchester and took them by storm. The highschool office candidates were all dressed up in tweed and ties when I took the podium the first year and proceeded to talk a lot of nonsense, with a fake resume as a vice president of a mini-taco cereal company, thus qualifying me to be vice president of my class, “So vote for me, or don’t if you don’t want to.” I urged my classmates. I won that year, and the next. I avoided running for class president because it was a lot more work. Then mid-way through senior year the president was impeached for plagiarism and I became the class President. The joke was definitely on me trying to avoid responsibility, but these days I like to think I am in on the joke.

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