Monday, 1 December 2014

Beechwood Gothic

So, late this morning, I was returning home from the drug store, rushing for the crosswalk signal which changed before I could reach it.  Stranded on the curb, there was no escape from the incessant drilling above my head, and it occurred to me that there were workmen on a scaffold removing the upper part of the brick wall that has stood forlornly for three and a half years following the six-alarm fire that took out our local hardware store, half a dozen other businesses and several apartments. Clearly, we're in for another three years of booms, thumps, and blocked sidewalks as yet another cluster of so-called luxury condos take shape in the glacial tradition of Ottawa construction.  The promotions are aimed, predictably, at youngish couples with no kids who will presumably be delighted to pay optimum prices for the location - and spend precious little time in their tiny, expensive abodes. There's a set of townhouses, which also took three years to build, on our street.  When we see the residents at all, they seem to be on their way elsewhere, usually clutching rolled-up yoga mats.

There's an edging below the brick and above the doorways of the abandoned shops.  It's very long and wraps around the corner, because the whole thing used to be the entrance to a bank which was still in operation when we moved to the city fourteen years ago.  In these days of online transactions and ATMs, banks are disappearing right and left, so this one did too, leaving these strange Gothic figures aimlessly waiting in line, including a mum in a tunic with her two baby monks.

It's a longish light, so I fumbled with my phone to capture the stretch of edging farthest away from the workmen, who seemed to be knocking out the bricks individually - for safety reasons, I guess, or dare I hope this stark queue of banking customers will be preserved to wait endlessly for something else?   None of them resemble in the slightest the people whom the condo developers want to attract.

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