Flights of Fancy

It’s almost over.

It’s ten to four on Labour Day afternoon, and we’re sitting here waiting for the air show to finish. Make that the fucking air show. It’s an annual tradition – they fly a bunch of loud planes past the CNE grounds on Labour Day weekend, and we sit at home comforting the dogs and listening to car alarms go off as the F-16 passes overhead.

I don’t know a single person in the neighbourhood who actually likes or watches the air show. Yes, if I’m out on the street and catch some of it in the sky, it’s visually impressive, I won’t argue that fact. But for four days (the three days of performances and a practice day on Friday) our neighbourhood is inundated with noise and the stench of jet fuel.

Yet if we complain, if we dare to point out how disturbing it is, we’re big party-poopers. It’s a tradition, it’s for the kids, yadda, yadda, yadda. Then hold it in the ‘burbs. Not over the Toronto neighbourhood with the highest percentage of recent immigrants; people who left their countries to escape the terror of jet fighters flying overhead and noises that sound like bombs going off in the distance.

But because our neighbourhood is poor, because it is comprised of immigrants who have learned to mistrust the government, and who won’t contact their various representatives to complain, no one will listen to us. Those of us who do complain are billed as cranks, wet blankets ruining the fun. Yet I wonder if those little boys from Brampton who were on the news last night gushing about how cool the air show was would enjoy it as much if they had to experience it sitting in my apartment with the dog whining and shaking. Or in any of the older homes in the neighbourhood where the windows and floors literally shake.

Why does “fun” for some have to come at the expense, inconvenience and fright of others?

Why in this day and age do we continue to believe that displays of machismo and military might are relevant to our society? And why do displays of machismo always leave the neighbourhood stinking and greasy?