I find it’s good practice to approach literally anybody, from a municipal worker who I am passing on the sidewalk while they’re performing official duties to clerks in shops with an immediate attempt at a substantive conversation, not just a rote exchange of greetings or well-wishes. By that means the other morning I got the chance to ask why Toronto had removed all the foot-pedals from the municipal garbage and recycling bins (you can see one on the right here), which had been a convenient way to avoid touching the machine and not having to push a spring-loaded cover back with the refuse you’re trying to deposit. The two crewmembers told me it is because people did too much illegal dumping with the footpedal-enabled system, and it let to too much disruption as waste went bad and was gotten into by creatures.

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After two fruitless hours of trying to sleep between 3 and 5 am, I decided to dress and go for a minimalist walk around the neighbourhood with just my keys, no wallet, phone, masks, or any of the other gear that routinely accompanies me when leaving the house. I got as far as the corridor on the second floor when I encountered a familiar neighbourhood cat. It readily followed me to the front door, and then I realized through my earplugs how intensely it was raining. The cat had no interest in leaving our small covered front porch and enormous enthusiasm for rubbing its head and body against me, the bench, the walls, and anything nearby. After about fifteen minutes of waiting to see if this would be one of the cats which unpredictably sets off mad allergies for me, I left it looking plaintively up at me with green eyes through the front door window and returned to my room to be bombarded with ill-informed tweets about nuclear energy (this time from under-researched pro-nuclear partisans disclaiming that power stations are in any way related to weapons).

Best case scenario, I’ll be able to get another two or three hours sleep, infuse myself with a large volume of instant coffee, and make Sunday into a productive day of incorporating thesis sources and editing the four central chapters into a form suitable for scrutiny from my supervisor.

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