Indy-fensible

July 18, 2010

Sitting listening to the whiney droney auditory assault emanating up from the Lakeshore vicinity on this otherwise beautiful Sunday I, like many other sensibly minded Torontonians who don’t see the charm in watching/hearing hepped-up cars race around in circles, wonder what the deal is, why do we bother? What exactly is the cache for the city in hosting such an obtrusive international event? An Indy stop destination. So what?

Now, I don’t want to be a spoilsport, demanding that just because I have no interest in an event than it has no place being held in the city. No parade rainer, I. Something doesn’t catch your fancy, simply ignore it. It’s not like there aren’t a million other things to do in Toronto during the summer.

The thing is, this one is difficult to simply just ignore especially if you’re living in the southwest part of the city. Since Friday, there’s been the noise. The dull background roar of well oiled revolutions. Fine, it’s not like most other days are soundless here. There’s always a dull background noise of something or other. But there’s also the traffic blockade in place that makes negotiating anywhere near the adult Hot Wheels circuit pretty well not worth even attempting. So that on a stunningly nice mid-summer day a sizeable chunk of the waterfront is rendered useless unless you love fast, loud cars.

I am not immune to the economic argument that inevitably follows about the X millions of dollars that are brought into the city with one of these dos. Hotels rooms are filled. Restaurants see more patrons. Absolutely. It is only for a long weekend afterall.

But have studies been done measuring the amount of economic loss that something like the Indy race delivers? The number of people who avoid coming to the city (or remain here at home) specifically because the Indy’s going on? Net loss versus net gain, I guess I’m saying. What are those numbers? Or can such a thing even be measured?

Not that that’s my main beef, if what this thing I’m writing about here can even be considered a beef. Let’s call it a cheap cut of hoarse. (Ha, ha.) I’m just wondering if the city needs the mark of the Indy-stry to feel particularly proud or important or whatever it is these things bestow upon cities that host them. The need for outside validation; the Stuart Smalley affect: Toronto, the Indy car organization has decided that you are good enough, smart enough and, doggone it, people really do like you.

There’s a hint of determined desperation to it, a lack of organicity. Why can’t we just be content to enjoy home grown weekend outings like Salsa on St. Clair? Even the Beaches International Jazz Fest integrates itself almost seamlessly with the neighbourhoods that hold it rather than disrupts and dislodges it like the Indy does. Do we really need to promote even more car idolatry into this city?

And there it is, the root of my dislike of the Toronto Indy. It’s not the noise or the inconvenience but my remorseless hatred of anything to do with cars. It colours every thought I have, every statement I make. Can’t we just stop with all this car business?!

So maybe Toronto doesn’t have an Indy problem at all. I do. It’s a sickness I can’t cure myself of. A terminal disease that I simply refuse to treat. If hating cars is so wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Gentlemen, start your engines. I hate you all passionately but I will simply try to ignore you.

autohatingly submitted by Urban Sophisticat