Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ready... Set... Register!

The City of Toronto program registration started today. The word "started" is ridiculous as it implies that it continues for any amount of time. Any parent that has ever gone through this knows it starts, there is a flurry of activity and then it's over. Much like everyone's first sexual encounter. Except mine, of course. Mine was awesome. It had to be, I was 27.

People outside Toronto don't understand the stress and anxiety that comes with registering for programs, "Oh I make it down to the Community Centre by Friday and get her in whatever class she wants." Blow it out your ear, hillbilly. In the Big Smoke it's eat or be eaten. Either your kid gets into soccer or she becomes a social pariah, so enjoy the still making classes or whatever the hell your toothless children take as city programming there in Turnip Town!

The night before resistration you pour over the impossible to read, FUN Guide, which is a misnomer if ever I've heard of one. This document is the most confusing and irritating thing I've ever read, and I used to go to Sunday school.

And no, learning to conduct eye exams is not a city program.

If you are lucky you will find a program for your kid that is not on the other side of town during school hours. You make notes on a sheet of paper of the location, time, day, code and cost of the program. If you give yourself enough options the piece of paper starts looking something like a less lucid Ted Kaczynski manifesto entry. Then it`s off to bed for a restful night of a baby gently kicking you in the face and scrotum. 

The next morning it`s up at 6:30AM. You double check your notes, your Internet connection, and your credit card and set up the command center. A land line in one hand, Cell phone the other and your computer keyboard at your feet. At 6:50 you start refreshing the registration page, you know just in case your clocks are't set to the Atomic Clock like the City`s, or someone decided to open registration just a little early, and won`t you be the smart guy who knew to start early. In reality it's you and about ten thousand other people.

The first screen you get it this one:

 That's okay, it just means they haven't opened for business yet. Keep refreshing and redialing. Soon there is a rhythm to it. Click the mouse, hit redial, hang up, repeat. There is a beauty and a meditative effect of this process. Just as you are calming down about the the whole thing, this screen comes up:

 Fuck! It's started and people are in before you. People registering for your programs. Filling them up with their unworthy poorly raised children. They must be stopped! The rhythm becomes a mashing of keyboards and telephone buttons. If the pure energy from this could be harnessed by the City, they could power a way better website. Thoughts race through your head, "Oh shit, the kid won't get into karate and she's been talking about it for months," or "I'll be the only one in the school yard not to get my kid into anything." There is nothing more shaming then having to admit you didn't even get logged in, let alone registered. 

Just as the adrenaline is shooting through your body, your child walks in wanting breakfast, water, unconditional love or something equally superfluous. "Get out! Can`t you see I'm doing this for you? You ungrateful worm? Do you want to learn the defensive art of karate?" After this interchange the answer is yes, yes she does.

Suddenly a cloud lifts and you get to this screen:

You scramble for your scribbled sheet only to find your partner has taken it, to help on their cell phone. You scream at them to bring it back. Is this a reason to seek a divorce? Perhaps its the heat of the moment but you consider it.

You pound in the program codes. Most are now full. Karate is gone, swimming gone, ballet is gone. All the programs you spent so much time sorting out with schedules and locations are full. You blindly punch in numbers finally you find something. It's over. Your kid is booked into a program. Its only 30 minutes a week that you can relax and take a breather from parenting, but it's worth the hassle. Besides she'll likely love Osteo Fit out in Scarborough.


  1. Oh Man, my stomach is so churning after reading all of that. You speak of reality so truly. I'm going to go calm down with a glass of something amber with ice. And hey, there's nothing wrong with Scarborough, except, it's not in Toronto.

  2. Jason, what page did you find the still making class on? I thought it wasn't being offered this term. Damn.

  3. Ottawa is the same dude. I sobbed into my computer for 2 hours. Neko cried through her half hour swim class. There is no way she was getting out of that f&(#king pool, no way.

  4. my grils is gonna do jus fine wid da deer gutting an chicken beheading is got lined up for em. den fur fun we go atvin an shoot sum signs.

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