After a brief optometrist appointment last week, I found myself in a place where I had spent much of my commuting childhood and adolescent years – the Scarborough RT station. Memories quickly ran through my mind, with one coming to the forefront. It was a simple memory, which when bitten into, revealed so many more memories in its flaky layers and folds. Yes, I’m talking about a beef patty.
I fumbled with my coins, looking for something to make up the necessary $1.50, while making sure that I was receiving one with the red dot. Very little had changed; the stall was still cramped and manned by the same fellow, the beef patties were still in their place on the grill and marked accordingly (i.e. green for vegetarian, and red for spicy). The only real difference was that they now accepted Interac.
Whenever we finished a walkabout around the mall, my mom would treat a child version of myself to a beef patty. It wasn’t the most extravagant of treats or even a delicacy, but it was something that she shared with me from her grown-up life, passing it down to me. She’d tell me about how on cold days, as it would often be in the Canadian winter, there was nothing like biting into a spicy patty to keep you warm after a long day’s work while waiting for the bus.
Fast forward to when I began taking the bus home alone from school. The beef patty became something that my friends and I could have as a quick bite without having to pay an extra ticket to enter the mall. It was convenient. And more importantly, it was cheap for the middle school children that we were, and the high school adolescents that we became. It was how we spent our frigid winters in the open air terminal.
So when I bit into that little packet of memories last week, I smiled, like a goon. There was so much good that I had forgotten, but a reminder as small as this could bring me that. Those patties, of course, weren’t unique to the station; in fact, they taste the same as any other vendor’s. But it was the intertwining of both the object and the location that gave the patty a certain special value – one that I’ve remembered to appreciate.
Whoever thought you could write an ode to a beef patty?
Image via Flickr (user: studiogabe)