Saturday, 1 August 2015

Get up stand up

I get my first true lungful of sea air streaming north on Cook Street as I trot south in the early morning sunshine, jet-lag having given me a jump-start on my first full day in Victoria.  After my ritual coffee at Moka House at my favourite table on the veranda, I give in to the siren smell of the ocean and make my way through South Fairfield.  Not my favourite part of Fairfield -- it's always a bit ghost-towny, as if nobody actually spends much time in their well-kept vintage houses -- but I spy neighbours perched on their respective porches, having a chat across the front of their semi-detached, and I feel compelled to wish every dog-walker and stroller a good morning, unless they beat me to it - this is Victoria, after all.

When elder daughter was a pre-toddler, I used to nip in for a newspaper at a downtown news-stand on the corner of Fort and Douglas Streets.  One day, I glanced down into the stroller and noticed my infant child had a bag of nuts clutched in each tiny fist.  I wheeled around and returned to confess that my daughter was a nascent shoplifter.

This morning, after a desperate search for an operational bank machine that dispenses more than sixty dollars, I dart into the same shop to purchase a newspaper in order to break a twenty so I can pay my art instructor that afternoon.  (I'm spending some of my brief and heady freedom on water-colour lessons, because --- when will the opportunity ever arise again?)

A Caribbean gentleman is regaling the the reserved Asian teenager at the till with an expressive tale, but I've entered too late to get the gist, although I am in time to hear the gentleman launch into the chorus of "Get Up Stand Up".

He turns to grin at me and apologizes, but I say, "Not at all! I always enjoy a bit of Bob Marley!"

He roars his approval.

"Smart gel!! I was teaching some respect to some people who were showing some attitude.  I made them listen!"
"That's not an easy thing to do," I observe.

He flashes a brilliant smile as he saunters out.
"You have yourself a great day, gel!!"

This never happens in Ottawa.

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