Posts tagged: spare change
I don’t recall which city we were in at the time, but Kristine was telling the story of how she grew up walking to and from school with one hand in her bag like she was holding a knife so she wouldn’t get hassled as a kid. I also believe this is when she first learned to mime, and that her time in the North End of Winnipeg was truly formative.
Gerry has said that East Hastings exists in every city, but spread out more. We were definitely talking about Edmonton. Maybe Lloydminster. Same holds true for Winnipeg. Maybe more so. My cab driver gave me a friendly warning that I shouldn’t go out after dark. Not where I was staying. Sure there’s lots of restaurants, but there’s also lots of bars. I remember my first night ever in Winnipeg. I was walking down Osborne after dinner. There was a large pool of blood outside the record store. It was during Fringe and a boy dressed up like a Friar with a wooden sword rode by on his bicycle.
I had lunch with Freya and then shared some office time in her studio above Parlour. Their coffee is just okay. The Sun Burger was great though. She says she’s been held up at knife point, but only once. Those are pretty good odds for this part of Winnipeg. She obviously wasn’t miming. There’s random day time violence from the hotel down the street. That guy who chopped up the body there and then turned himself in is an anomaly. The chopping or the apologizing is an anomaly? A chopped up body was also found in a nearby dumpster. Apparently it’s happened more than once. Pickton is supposedly still a mystery. Who was he covering for? The Greyhound bus madness is more of a faded memory. That bus was coming from Edmonton to Winnipeg. He worked at the McDonald’s by my house near Kingsway. The beheading happened on the stretch of the Highway near Brandon where lighting has been known to strike. Divya and I are going to be on that highway in a few days.
I walk up Main into the North End for a studio visit with Sarah. I walk past one fight though it didn’t look like a fair fight. Are you going to stay down the guy was saying with his fists clenched and arms flexed. The other guy was sitting flat on his ass on the pavement. First warning. Last warning. I wonder where he learned that warning system. Under the overpass I take my first right. I once helped move drywall into this warehouse space. An entire floor of spacious low rent high ceiling studios are not a rare thing in this city. The exchange is full of them. Every space has natural light. I leave from the back door down the alley and back under the overpass. I get yelled at just once. There’s two foot patrols on the south side of the tracks. A man collapses in front of them moaning and rolling around. Everyone moves slowly as if going through the motions. The radio blaring out of the social services centre is scratchy and distorted. Katy Perry sounds better this way.
Shawna and I wait for the bus on Main after cocktails at the Cookery and the opening at Urban Shaman. There was a lineup at the new restaurant down the street. We each have a fistful of change. Two forty five to be exact. These pennies have to go somewhere. A man with a black eye asks us for change. For a coffee. Sorry man. I usually don’t deny. I usually give change if I have it. But cabs are impossible to flag down in this city. The girl on the bus had a black eye too. She paid the fare for her self, her friend, and all the kids.
I was walking down West Pender on Monday and a guy dropped a five dollar bill. He was in a hurry. By the time I bent over and picked it up, he was already crossing Howe. I dropped off the bill the next block down on Granville. A man with a cardboard sign strapped to his head held out his hands. I didn’t read the sign. I know it contained the word FOOD written in black felt pen.
But there’s crime there, is the response I get every time I rave aloud about how much I love Winnipeg. I hear you can’t walk down the street. Of course you can walk down the street. You just have to share the street. Besides, there’s crime everywhere. Oh, she waves with her hand and with a lilt in her voice, it’s not everywhere, just in certain areas on certain streets.