A woman dashing, that is, walking swiftly and with purpose, from front door to car, but not without glancing up at a strolling passerby. That would be me. And then glancing away without so much a s Hale Fellow Well Met! I’m all set to say good morning but it’s clear she has no time for such nonsense.
A chap, in his thirties, looking smart in a purple tie, approaches his smart silver car, starts the engine then returns to his house, leaving the car in idle, spewing unpleasantness into his smart neighbourhood while he’s back inside his smart house possibly positioning his tie so as not to get anything on it as he slurps the dregs of his coffee, very possibly made with the very smartest of coffee makers.
I consider how early the poor soul will have to rise in order to warm his vehicular interior once the morning temperatures fall below 15 celsius.
Something about the pillows on the porch chairs, the shade of green, the fact that bird silhouettes are stenciled on them in a sort of pale burlap colour, the way they look recently leaned against, makes me warm to the strangers living inside this house.
The very day after someone asks: why is it you never see two people walking a dog?—and at the exact moment I’m pondering this almost-koan—I see coming toward me two people walking a lovely rust-coloured pooch of indeterminate breeding.
I notice a bottle of Listerine in a neighbour’s blue box. This feels an oddly personal thing to know about them.
A bottle and can man in a red and black lumberjacket pulls a trolley along the street. I know it’s bottles and cans, it’s recycling day and I can hear them clatter. I respect this form of earning a few bob. In fact, I’d like to see those plastic bottle return depots they have in Calgary. Keeps the streets cleaner, folk make a little dough and there’s less for the landfill. What don’t I know about this seemingly good idea? Why aren’t they in every city and town?
I’m pleased and proud to see Giant Tiger yard waste bags, also President’s Choice, Canadian Tire and ‘Life’ brand in my neighbourhood. I think maybe we’re actually, collectively, getting how every tiny choice matters, support local! choose wisely where you spend your dollars or you will soon be surrounded by big box stores! Maybe the 100 monkey thing is kicking in at last. Hooray! Then I turn a corner and just like that it’s all Costco and Home Depot, Loews. A different crowd entirely, and it occurs to me that you can probably judge someone’s politics by their yard waste bag as easily as a sign on the lawn.
Yet another man in red and black lumberjacket, this time a bathrobe. He sneezes as he walks to his garbage bag already on the street, opens it, adds something, then catches my eye as he turns and we say good morning, good morning. He looks like Peter Gzowski.