Tuesday, 28 July 2015


The grocery store aisle ahead was blocked by a disabled woman whose spine bent so far over her shopping cart that I could barely see the back of her wigged brown head. I reminded myself to be patient and soon was able to ease past, feeling the merest flicker of compassion as I carried on. 
After checkout, I was forced to pause again, this time by a large man and his cart of bottled water in front of me. He had a face and head that looked kind of like a bowling ball covered in whiskers; he was missing a front tooth. Not my kind of person. 
I saw his attention drawn to the same woman now at a counter where she was about to pack her grocery bags despite her contorted posture. He edged closer and with a strong accent asked, “You want some help?” She accepted.
In passing, I tapped his arm gingerly and said “Good for you” as I hustled to the exit.
Sometimes we get a second try. Driving out of the parking lot I noticed him standing near his car. Since there was no traffic behind me, I lowered the passenger window and stopped to call, “You’re a good man!” A smile enhanced his homely face. He replied, “And you are good to say that.” Light all round.
Now that the scaffolding had been removed, I could see the renovated sign on a local Bloor St. hangout called “The Crooked Cue”. I stopped on the sidewalk across the street to figure out why the construction had taken so long. 
In bright white letters I read the same old name with the addition of “Patio, Pool, Food”. Through their new second-floor wall of windows I could see sun umbrellas lit from above by daylight. My little peabrain wondered for a second,
“What? They’ve added a swimming pool?”
In front of our neighbourhood’s Roman Catholic church I noticed a woman looking lost. I asked if I could help and she gestured to the huge building, “I wanted to go in and pray but the construction workers inside are playing such loud music.” I murmured sympathy and suggested another neighbourhood church but we agreed that finding any quiet place is a challenge. She said she would sit on the church steps to pray. Although we didn't even introduce ourselves, I was cheered to meet a fellow praying pilgrim.
Nearing the bakery I noticed a delivery truck at its back door and a couple of rough-looking guys unloading. By the time I parked and entered, one of them, white-haired and beer-bellied (oops, sounds too familiar) with a scruffy beard, had reached the top of the basement stairs just inside the door. We both hesitated politely until he gestured for me to go ahead. 
By coincidence, a few minutes later I was leaving the store at the very time the same man was re-entering. This time he held the door open for me. I walked through laughing and said, “I guess we’re destined to dance together today”. 
I hooted when I heard from behind me, “You betcha, Babe!” Made my day.