February 27, several persons at anAlternative Forum meeting were overcome
by the extreme concentrations of unwashed bodies, marijuana fumes and discount
patchouli oil that advertises the presence of barbarians scratching at
the gate (and everything else) long
before mindless, thuggish chanting confirms it. One gagging attendee described
this cultural clash with the ARA as something between surviving a mustard
gas attack and being maced: "at first I thought a sewer main had ruptured.
I couldn't believe it -- I mean, you hear things, but the putrefying waves
of noxious fumes were indescribable. Unless you've experienced that searing
pain in your lungs, you couldn't possibly understand." As the dregs
of downtown pushed into the lobby and on to the meeting room, retching
people hastened to barricade the door against the nauseating stench as
the undead advanced.
The appearance of the Metro Toronto Police Toxicity Task Force was
welcome, but even they appeared to 'give up' confronted by the stopping
power of mingled cat-spray, hibernation den, and tooth decay. Mercifully,
none of our people actually required resuscitation, although one of the
ARA canaille did come back to demand his/her/it's prescription eyeglasses
-- and once he/she/it could make his/her/itself understood through the
filtering bandana, the glasses were handed over with the greatest alacrity
(the odour was especially overpowering when the door was open). This marks
the most serious odor-related incident the Alternative Forum has faced
since Vancouver's "Big Stink".
A subdued Paul Fromm said: "I don't know, maybe it's time to rethink
our strategy. For years we have been trying to promote the idea of soap
and water. Clearly, the message is not getting through."