Urban Diplomat

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Dear Urban Diplomat: was I wrong to show my new doctor neighbour my rash?

Dear Urban Diplomat: was I wrong to show my new doctor neighbour my rash?

(Image: clintjcl/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I just moved to the Beach. We had our neighbours over—he’s a banker, she’s a family doctor—and after a few lycheetinis I pulled her aside to show her a crazy rash on my upper thigh that’s got me worried. She dodged my questions, then suddenly they had to leave. I’m a bit embarrassed, but also annoyed: what are neighbours for if you can’t help each other out?

—Rash Decision, The Beach

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Dear Urban Diplomat: am I a jerk for skipping the TTC farebox line?

Dear Urban Diplomat: am I a jerk for skipping the TTC farebox line?

(Image: Bryson Gilbert/Toronto Life Flickr Pool)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I was in the Queen subway station recently and encountered a long lineup, so I did that move where you sneak past people mumbling “Sorry” and dump your fare into the can. One guy yelled, “Oh, only you have places to go?” and I got the stink eye from someone else. What am I supposed to do—wait interminably as trains pass by?

—Line Dancer, North York

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what can I do to ward off my neighbour’s pigeon pals?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what can I do to ward off my neighbour's pigeon pals?

(Image: Sarah Cartwright/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I have a neighbour who scatters old bread and bird feed on her driveway for pigeons. While these winged rodents await their feeding, they drop bombs all over the sidewalk. Parents walking their kids to school have learned (the messy way) to cross the street. Short of getting out the BB gun and setting up a blind in a nearby tree, what can I do?

—Tired of This Crap, Leslieville

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what’s an e-cigarette hater to do?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what's an e-cigarette hater to do?

(Image: clintjcl/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’ve been to three west-end establishments recently—Bambi’s, This End Up and Porzia—where patrons were gaily vaping e-cigs, repercussion-free. I get that it’s not quite smoking a cigarette, but I still don’t enjoy having nicotine vapour blown in my face. Am I lame to complain? Is vaping an officially sanctioned act these days?

—Head in the Clouds, Little Portugal

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I talk my daughter out of being a Sunshine Girl?

Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I talk my daughter out of being a Sunshine Girl?

(Image: Tom Magliery/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My daughter is 19 and desperate to pose as a Sunshine Girl. She keeps threatening to send in her picture, convinced it’s the path to stardom. How do I talk her out of it?

—Sunblock, Pickering

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I rat out my landlord for stealing cable?

Dear Urban Diplomat: should I rat out my landlord for stealing cable?

(Image: Master of Telxons/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live in a ground-floor suite and pay my own utilities, including cable. My landlord lives above me, and we have a good relationship. However, I just noticed a splitter thingy coming off of my Rogers cable box. I Googled it and sent a photo to my friend who installs cable for a living, and now I’m 95 per cent sure my landlord is stealing my cable. I’m annoyed that he’s getting free TV on my dime, and I’m a little worried that a Rogers technician will eventually notice and I’ll get dinged somehow. What to do?

—TV Drama Star, Leslieville

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Dear Urban Diplomat: am I a delinquent mom for leaving my six-year-old in a car?

Dear Urban Diplomat: am I a delinquent mom for leaving my six-year-old in a car?

(Image: Gustavo Devito/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I recently left my six-year-old son in the car while I ran into a store. The window was down, he was engrossed in his iPad, the car was locked, and I could see him clearly from inside. I was gone less than five minutes. The next day, I see photos of my son and my licence plate on a local mommy blog, with the ­caption: “Anyone know this delinquent ‘mother’? Disgusting! She should be in jail.” At last check, it had 30 comments, all assenting and with varying degrees of vitriol. What should I do? Fight back?

—Lynched Online, The Beach

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Dear Urban Diplomat: my barista’s first name offends me—what can I do about her?

Dear Urban Diplomat: my barista's a real Nazi—what can I do about her?

(Image: Mr. TinDC/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
A barista at my local Starbucks, near Yonge and Bloor, is a Persian woman named Nazi, and she wears a name tag. My parents died in the Holocaust, and I don’t need to revisit the memory every morning. Would it be reasonable to complain?

—Latte With Two Sugars and Some Emotional Trauma, Yorkville

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Dear Urban Diplomat: my wife wants to give out toothbrushes on Halloween—should she?

Dear Urban Diplomat: my wife wants to give out toothbrushes on Halloween—should she?

(Image: sarkasmo/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My wife is a dentist and wants to give out toothbrushes instead of candy for ­Halloween. I told her this is a lame idea and that our house will likely get egged, but she’s digging in. Is trick-or-treating the right time to make a statement about dental health, or should she just let kids stuff their faces with chocolate?

—Tooth or Dare, Liberty Village

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can I get my lefty tenants’ Olivia Chow sign off my lawn?

Dear Urban Diplomat: can I get my lefty tenants' Olivia Chow sign off my lawn?

(Image: Paul Henman/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I rent the upper floor of my semi to a young couple and was dismayed to find an Olivia Chow sign on my front lawn. I’m ardently opposed to her politics, though I’ll spare you the ideological screed. My question: can they use my property to promote their views? If so, how might I persuade them not to, short of stealing the sign in the night?

—NIMFY, Roncesvalles

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I keep my neighbours’ kids off our soon-to-be frozen pond?

Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I keep my neighbours' kids off our soon-to-be frozen pond?

(Image: Bradley Gordon/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My partner and I just moved from ­Lawrence Park to Bradford. Our new place is on a huge lot with a small pond. We were chatting to our neighbour, and she said her kids skate on the pond in winter. Um, no. That’s a huge liability. What if one of her kids falls through the ice or cracks his skull open? How do we tell them to keep off our pond without ostracizing ourselves?

—Skate and/or Die, Bradford

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can’t sidewalk-hogging joggers save it for the side streets?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Can't sidewalk-hogging joggers save it for the side streets?

(Image: Marc Falardeau/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I was window-shopping on Queen West last weekend, when a neon-clad sprinter came bounding along and bumped my daughter into my stroller, nearly spilling hot coffee on my newborn baby. The guy was incredibly apologetic, until I said, “Why the hell are you running on a busy sidewalk in the first place?” He snarled that the street was as much his as mine, then re-inserted his earbuds and jaunted off. Shouldn’t runners be banned from using busy main streets?

—Street Fighter, Little Portugal

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can I ask my neighbours to cover up their naked kid?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Can I ask my neighbour to cover up their naked kid?

(Image: Amanda Tipton/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My neighbour’s little boy is four, and he’s been running around our street in his birthday suit all summer. It’s getting a bit weird. At what point should small children be clothed when in ­public? Is there a law?

—Unfree Willy, Riverside

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair?

Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair?

(Image: Stephanie Pakrul/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
A few years ago, my brother and I inherited the family cottage, on Lake of the Woods near Kenora. He and his family live a half-hour away and use the cottage a lot. My partner and I can only make it out there about three times a year. My brother told me he’s buying a new $850 barbecue for the place, and he wants me to split the cost with him 50/50. I don’t feel that this is justified. Shouldn’t I be paying less? How should I respond?

—Weber Warfare, Richmond Hill

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I have to do to get my neighbour to stop being such a butthead?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I have to do to get my neighbour to stop being such a butthead?

(Image: LawPrier/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live and work just steps from Pape and Danforth. One of the business owners smokes on his stoop near the library, which is irksome enough. Even worse is that he discards the butts on the sidewalk. This is not a smoker versus non-smoker issue—it’s about littering. The sidewalk is not his personal ashtray. How do I convey as much without sounding like a total buttinsky?

—Butting Heads With a Butthead, Danforth

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