She, a person, materializes out of some alternate reality, another dimension–the pizazz dimension. She is elderly, but maneuvers the length of this crosswalk as if it is a Paris cat walk and she is a pro. In all of this grey, she has commandeered the pink–all of it, as if she is charged with marking this day...
November 15th, and I am sitting on the cozy, safe side of the window of a downtown café, browsing the humanity navigating the crosswalk while I wait for 12pm to shiver closer to 1pm; I am early for an appointment.
I’m usually early–I feel that somewhere inside my matrix is an overactive promptness gene–but to arrive a whole hour early, and at the middle hour of this November day that is absolutely, smack in the middle of the last day of October, and the first day of December, is curious. November itself exists only to separate its neighbouring months. If your birthday is in November, I would petition and have it moved to something more gentle, although, if you are around other Novemberites, I suppose this would bring you together as a group so, it’s your choice. The rest of us, in the remaining eleven months, are pulling for you. November is hard.
The landscape showed bleak along the way here. Drivers behaving, distracting their souls from the bleak with the neon glow from their dashboards. Once I parked my van, my bladder and I began a race to see who could remain composed the longest. I swooped into a café and walk-cantered to the bathroom. My bladder laughed out loud at the security keypad on the door, ready and eager to accept the pass code that I did not have. I cursed quietly, sidestepped to the counter, and asked for the number. It was hollered out at me, loud enough so the whole café knew what I was up to, but at least I was back-in-the-game. I punched the code into the judging keyboard, and the green light flashed, acknowledging my worthiness, my acceptance, and to my bladder, that I was the victor for another day. Fine.
I strolled out, no longer under duress, and ordered a tea and a small sandwich to tide me over. I received what resembled, rather than a sandwich, more a steamed slab of linoleum with a yellow crayon melted on top between a pair of small kneepads. The heating process resulted in the guts of the sandwich sliding almost completely out from between the knee pads–the presentation similar to something you might find at the bottom of a child’s locker at the end of the school year–and yet, I paid money for it.
Fine. It’s all fine. Here I am.
I sit and watch the people through the window as if I am audience to a play. Most of the throng at this intersection are well-shod, zipped and tied into their new winter coats, and sporting smiles full of well-tended, vigorously flossed teeth. Only a few appear intimate with hard times. They pass, and I choke down my travesty of a sandwich. At least I am getting my quota of salt. Yes, it’s fine.
There is nothing remarkable here, on this day, until I see her. She, a person, materializes out of some alternate reality, another dimension–the pizazz dimension. She is elderly, but maneuvers the length of this crosswalk as if it is a Paris cat walk and she is a pro. In all of this grey, she has commandeered the pink–all of it, as if she is charged with marking this day, the 15th of this terrible month, with as much pomp as she can muster to buoy our fragile, human spirits. Her hat, a knitted toque the colour of raspberry gelato, sits puffed on top of her head as if there might be another toque underneath it, or perhaps a snoozing kitten, or a pile of glitter. She has excellent posture, so the kitten theory is not completely bonkers. I could lie here and make up what she was wearing on her feet–I’m sure whatever boots or shoes she was wearing were sublime, but I was completely captivated by her jacket. You would have been too.
That jacket. It was puffy. Its puffy was puffy. It looked like a great big, pink cartoon grenade with arms. The sight of this jacket would have given the Michelin Man a hard-on. It was twice the size of most jackets, and judging from the size of the woman’s head, and her height, I’m guessing that the jacket was close to three times the size of her. There was a class about her though. She was wearing sunglasses, though the day did not call for them. Perhaps it was the sunglasses; high-fashion frames positioned on her nose just-so, quashing any possibility that she would be considered clownish. Or it could have been the red lipstick. Both perhaps. No gloves, or hands to be seen. No sir. This woman would likely have her gear carried for her. Or was it all hidden inside, in a series of pockets, or drawers even?
The woman floated up onto the sidewalk and exited stage left–the show was over. As of this moment, the month tipped toward December, fêted, at least somewhat if you were lucky enough to witness. I took my tea and crossed the crosswalk, trying to walk like the pink oracle, but instead, settled into my usual sharecropper mode. Still early, but no longer embarrassingly so. All fine.