Street Opera

Street Opera

My office is in a (rapidly diminishing) transitional part of downtown Kitchener. Long derelict upper-floors are shrinking but not yet gone. And, some of the characters that inhabit the street are, um, interesting.

A couple of weeks ago I come down the stairs. As i hit the sidewalk, there is a woman sitting on the ground, looking at a pigeon. Pigeon is not flying away, otherwise is normal (for a flying rat that is). I say, “that’s a very tame pigeon”. She then tells me the story, the pigeon has fallen from an upper story, and is stunned, she’s worried for the pigeon. She is coordinating with 2 of the other local street personalities who are coming over with a cardboard box. “Make sure to poke some air holes in there so he can breathe”. Hmm, what is their next step here? Have they thought this through? Soon a few of the local folks will have a pigeon in a box, what next? I didn’t stick around to see how this turned out.

There’s the 3 slightly older gentlemen. In that uncanny valley between ‘unemployed’ and ‘retired’. They sit on the (planter? bench?) and discuss a wide variety of topics, of which they are all most knowledgeable (and loud). And, detailed and long in duration. They are like a cross-over of the two muppets in the balcony (Statler and Waldorf) with the Air Farce Tim Horton’s. Deep topics of world politics are dealt with, debated, discussed.

We also have the violin player. The office is mixed on the violin, i think its very nice and gives us an air of culture as it wafts in the window (and i’ve given him $5 to stick around). Others feel that he could learn another song (doubling the repertoire).

We have some awfully loud conversations with the air. Heated arguments with no one else present. Who doesn’t like a lot of incoherent background yelling while on a conference call?

We have the sad, the woman who ate an entire lipstick tube, slowly, and determindely in front of me the other day. So much red.

And we have the compassion, people stopping by to check in, the soup-deliverers, the coffee couriers. You can see one in the photo above.

Its a rich panaroma of life here. The good, the bad, the ugly. The joy, the tears. The humour, the solemn. Someday I hope that Mar 13 sign can be updated, its like the stopped-clock on the marie celeste for me.

Until then, rock on street opera.

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