For a West Coast native, Tanner Zurkoski’s blood-sushi levels were precariously low last Monday. “The procurement of food has become a huge part of my day,” he said, while stopped at a red light.
Navigating a crush of pedestrians in search of food is just part of Zurkoski’s daily grind. The fourth-year York University film student has spent the last 17 days living in a hybrid Honda Insight, as part of Evergreen Brick Works’ MOVE Expo on urban transportation—a hive mind of local sustainability gurus who are looking for innovative solutions to Toronto’s hellish commute times.
Since Zurkoski uses his allotted 30 minutes of car-free time every day for necessities like showering and laundry, he’s forced to eat—and often find—most of his meals behind the wheel.
Breakfast usually consists of a bagel and coffee brought to him by the Brick Works’ staff. He has a rotating list of friends to call around lunch hour—though their enthusiasm is dwindling of late.
Zurkoski admits that, when hunger strikes, he’s not above using his newfound media profile to his advantage: “People will be like, ‘I saw you in the Star!’ and I’m like, ‘Awesome! Can you get me a burger?’” Last week, the chefs at Café Belong sent a steak sandwich and Caesar salad to his car. “It came out on a cedar board, with cutlery,” he said.
On days when he’s left to fend for himself, like Monday, Zurkoski depends on areas with high foot traffic and a parking spot next to a restaurant. Noticing the out-the-door lineup at the Annex’s Sushi on Bloor, Zurkoski opted to call up the markedly less-crammed Noka Sushi next door. “Hi, uh, I have a unique request,” said Zurkoski, gingerly, into the phone.
Within 10 minutes, a visibly confused waitress delivered Zurkoski’s eight-piece California Roll meal to the curb, even bringing the bill of $6.95 out on a silver tray as if her customer were in the restaurant, not staring ravenously through the window of his Honda outside. Zurkoski handed her a $10 bill, and let her keep the change for her trouble.