Archive for January 14, 2014




14 January 2014

Chuck was on the corner, so I stopped to talk to him.

He said, “Would you mind standing on the other side. I’ve got a regular who comes from that side. He sometimes drops me a five or a ten. If you’re standing there he might just walk by.

“Did you have a good Christmas?”

“Yes, it was quiet.”

“I don’t know where Joy is. She was out yesterday, so she must need money, but she’s not here today. I keep telling her that  she has to be out every day. If I can get out, she can get out. Oh well, it’s her life.

Someone stopped to pet Sandy, and dropped change into’s Chuck’s cap. She poked her head up. Chuck said, “Now that she’s got a bit of attention, she wants me to pet her.”

“I bought this winter coat at Giant Tiger. It’s really warm. I’ve seen construction guys wearing the same coat.”

I said, “It almost matches Sandy’s fur.” I noticed that under her blue blanket she was wearing a pink coat. “Sandy looks comfortable.” I said.

“Yes, she’s well taken care of.

“Almost. I went to a lot of stores. Sears had these expensive coats for nine hundred dollars. I don’t need anything like that. I even tried the Giant Tiger on Ogilvie. They didn’t have anything. I went to the one near the marked and this was the only winter coat they had. The rest were junk.”

“A friend of mine, a lesbian, went to the hospital for a hip replacement. They found cancer. She’s a nice lady, works across the street. She’s had a partner for the past seventeen years. They’ve been married for the past seven. My girlfriend has gone to spend time with her for the next two weeks. It just shows, you never know what’s around the corner. The important thing isn’t what happens to you, but how you handle it. There was another woman, I’d see her nearly every day at noon. She was smiling all the time, what you’d call a bubbly personality. Her husband left her, father and daughter died. The last time I saw her she was a blubbering mess.

“I’ve lived through lots of adversity, even as a child. I learned to fight against it; not necessarily with my fists, but I had my ways.  My father was a big drunken lout. When he came home everyone would be petrified. One evening, when he was really drunk he plopped himself in his easy chair. The rest of us were sitting around the room. He said, ‘I bet you all think of me as a real son of a bitch.’ Then he looked at each one of us. Nobody said a thing, when he got to me he said, ‘Okay, tell me what you think.’ I said, ‘I don’t have to say anything.  You know what you are. It doesn’t have to be spelled out for you.’ Everybody gasped. My father looked at me and started to laugh. He said, ‘I knew you’d have the guts to tell me straight.’ I couldn’t wait to get away from that place. I left in the middle of grade ten. He beat my mother, all of us. If he came back to life now, I’d shoot him; I really would.”

I asked, ‘Wouldn’t you be worried about the consequences?’

“What are they going to do to me? I’m seventy-three years old. Whatever they did, I wouldn’t care. It would have been worth it.

“I’ve had a hell of a time getting around lately. They plow my sidewalk, but don’t plow the area where Paratranspo  needs to put their ramp down. If they can’t put their ramp down, I can’t get on. I even talked to the woman driving the sidewalk snowplow. She refused to clear the area. She said, ‘If you’ve got a problem, phone city hall.’ I did, but nothing happened. Another problem I have is getting my wheels cleaned and oiled. There is a motorcycle shop near me. They have the air hoses and could do the job, but they say it isn’t worth their time. The garages won’t do it either.

My back was getting sore bending over listening to Chuck. He has a soft voice and I need to have my ear near his mouth to hear him over the sound of traffic and people talking.

“I have to be going Chuck. Perhaps I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“I might be here. Have a Happy New Year.”

“Happy New Year, Chuck.”