Impolite society

A passing bank manager took out a second can of air freshener and sprayed the ground around the tellers’ feet. The hiss of the aerosol was conspicuous in the quiet bank.

The woman pulled her cart up beside me to wait for the teller who was serving me. The bank manager told her to step away and give me space. I assured the woman that she didn’t have to move anywhere on my account and she stayed where she was.

When I turned back to the counter, the manager and I locked eyes. She looked annoyed and somehow betrayed, as though I’d failed to join forces with her.  I could feel the annoyance on my own face – and disbelief that the bank should condone this kind of behaviour toward vulnerable clients. It made me think about how much rudeness is carried out in the name of propriety.

A regular day

He stood in the middle of the sidewalk and gazed at me as intently as I must have been gazing at him. I was trying to get a read on who he was or what he might be celebrating. When I got home, I googled an interfaith calendar to see if the day was a religious holiday or commemorated anything special. Nothing – just a regular day in Parkdale.

The parts I like

I just took a week to do some painting (acrylic and pastel). I wanted to focus on technique, but there was so much to figure out and so many things that could, and did, go wrong that I was overwhelmed. I pushed on and painted one lifeless piece after another.

Somewhere mid-week, I realized that learning to paint – learning to get down what’s in my head – is going to be a long road and I should probably try to approach it with some softness and lightness (the thought helped).  My daughter said I should make a quilt of all the small corners of the paintings that I liked. I thought that was a grand idea so here’s a mock up of what my quilt would look like after this week. One day maybe I’ll print it on fabric and sew it up.

Public art

I was almost beside her when she threw a handful of soggy paper at the pole. I wasn’t sure if she was making art or protesting the little installation. I looked back over my shoulder and saw her looking around for other things to throw.

I like these public art installations. This is the first time I’ve seen this series on Queen West, but a few months ago, I found some up at Dundas and Bathurst and took pictures:

Overheard #2


The rumble of the streetcar and the noise of the heating fans made it hard to hear. A few words drifted my way –   “… easier to get around here … find places … work … yeah …. streets . . people…”  They came from opposite ends of the country, one from Vancouver, the other from the Maritimes. The younger man was dressed in a stylish wool coat, the older man wore an old jacket and a knitted hat with a single dangling pompom. The younger man had money in his pocket, the older man didn’t. By the look of it, the younger man probably had stable housing; the older man probavly didn’t. That didn’t stop them from spending the twenty minute streetcar ride engaged in low-key, comfortable conversation about their common experiences of living in Toronto.