My intention this afternoon was to go for a walk, get some fresh air, get a bottle of wine and buy a smoked meat sandwich. I got the wine but the deli was closed. I was feeling conspired against but I kept walking, without a particular destination in mind. Then it became clear to me as I travelled the dodgiest part of Montreal Road that if I were to pay some attention, I could learn a few things on my walk.
I crossed paths with the denizens of the LCBO parking lot. I passed churches and a nunnery. I encountered a few prostitutes, two of whom were shivering. One in particular I wanted to hug and buy her some soup but I didn’t have the courage and simply kept walking. I passed closed businesses that were once someone’s dream. Junkies and drunks were plentiful.
As I approached the Notre Dame Cemetery, I felt compelled to visit some relatives. It was a beautiful November afternoon. Sunny and crisp, though the sun was low in the sky. It turns out I couldn’t find any of the graves I was looking for but I wasn’t disappointed because I saw at least a hundred surnames on stones shared by people I know. And it’s ridiculous how young most people used to be when they died. And really, who remembers family members older than our grandparents? Within one hundred years, all of us but the famous are erased from history. It’s humbling. Absolutely great and brilliant people are forgotten every day.
My walk ended at the grocery store. Ahead of me in line was a beautiful black woman. Not model beautiful. Just beautiful beautiful. She had to be 6’2″. I would describe her hair as being confidently dreadlocked. I wanted to tell her I thought she was beautiful but I didn’t want to creep her out or have her husband punch me in the face so I simply smiled when we made eye contact. Maybe the lesson in all of this is that when you’re having a rough day or you’re just tired and you’re in line at the grocery store, there’s a chance that a non-threatening person looks at you and thinks you’re beautiful but is just too shy or polite to say so. And the number of opportunities we have to make a difference really are finite. Carpe Diem.