| Ur­ban Diplo­mat Ad­vice on how to be a civ­i­lized Toron­to­nian

Toronto Life - - Contents -

A few mem­bers of my condo board read about that King West build­ing’s plan to in­sti­tute a $15 monthly fee for res­i­dents with dogs (to cover ex­tra clean­ing costs, sup­pos­edly), and now they’re float­ing the idea of putting one in place in our build­ing. The dozen or so dogs that live here—in­clud­ing my own—have never made any trou­ble or caused any messes. This seems like a bla­tant cash grab. What can we do about it?

—Bark­ing Mad, Cork­town

I may be bi­ased (full dis­clo­sure: yours truly has a shih tzu named Ado­nis), but what your condo board is con­sid­er­ing is lu­di­crous. Whether they’re hu­man or ca­nine, condo res­i­dents are bound to cause wear and tear—and sin­gling out one group to pay an ex­tra main­te­nance fee smacks of cal­cu­lated op­por­tunism. Should your build­ing post an of­fi­cial no­tice an­nounc­ing the rule, you and the rest of the pro-pooch lobby will have 30 days to ask for a meet­ing and chal­lenge the fee. If your pow­ers of per­sua­sion fail to sway the board—or your build­ing’s man­age­ment—it may be time to get a condo lawyer in­volved. The new rev­enue stream will seem less se­duc­tive when they’re fac­ing a costly le­gal bat­tle.

Dear Ur­ban Diplo­mat, My friend be­came a dad six months ago, and ev­ery time I sug­gest a get-to­gether, he in­sists on do­ing some­thing babyfriendly. Last week, the three of us went to a Jays game; my friend as­sured me his son would nap in the Bjorn for the du­ra­tion and we’d have plenty of time to catch up. But we barely saw each other—he had to keep get­ting up for walks around the sta­dium, be­cause the kid wouldn’t quit scream­ing. I miss the good old days when there was no in­fant tag­ging along. How do I get my pal to ditch Ju­nior ev­ery once in a while?

—Two Men and a Baby, Bloor­court

First of all: wow. How old are you? I as­sume, since you can read and write, you’re not a preschooler, so stop be­hav­ing like you just dropped your ice cream

cone. Par­ent­ing means mak­ing sacri­fices, and of course your pal will pri­or­i­tize the needs of his tiny, frag­ile child over yours. Is the sound of in­fan­tile wail­ing grat­ing? Sure. Could and should your friend take a night off from par­ent­ing ev­ery so of­ten? Ab­so­lutely (for his sake, not yours). But this is a short-term prob­lem: the baby will even­tu­ally ma­ture out of his cry­ing fits. You, I’m not so sure.

Dear Ur­ban Diplo­mat, After wait­ing months for a reser­va­tion, my wife and I snagged a ta­ble at a pop­u­lar upscale restau­rant down­town. The meal was scrump­tious, but I could barely savour it be­cause our server’s vo­cal fry was a con­stant source of ir­ri­ta­tion. Se­ri­ously, she sounded like a de­fec­tive car­bu­re­tor. I think that qual­ity es­tab­lish­ments should be more rig­or­ous when se­lect­ing front-of-house staff. Should I lodge a for­mal com­plaint?

—Resto-ranter, Lea­side

Wait staff are al­ready po­liced on just about every­thing: their hair, their clothes, their weight, not to men­tion the words that come out of their mouths. Think­ing you have some say in the tim­bre of those words makes you part of the prob­lem. If you re­ally can’t stand the mi­nor an­noy­ances that arise from in­ter­act­ing with peo­ple, do your­self (and your po­ten­tial fu­ture servers) a favour and or­der in.

Send your ques­tions to the Ur­ban Diplo­mat at ur­bandiplo­mat@toron­to­life.com

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