A Few Observations

While outside yesterday, picketing for the fair treatment of the Goji berry, I realized a few things about my fine city.

1. People in Calgary really like to drink

It doesn’t matter if it’s Monday or Thursday, if it’s nice outside there are a lot of people sitting on the patios, drinking beer and eating dry ribs, nachos or some other deep-fried goodness that goes with beer. I don’t just mean the young 20-something trendy crowd, I’m talking about the business men, the retirees and the underagers. They all come together in the spirit of comraderie and getting wasted on a weeknight.

2. Construction workers aren’t just looking at your boobs

Ok, Ben – remember how we were saying people don’t compliment shoes enough? I swear this happened to me yesterday: I was walking along, minding my business when I passed 4 young construction/landscaper type guys. As I get closer one says: “Hey! Those are hot shoes!” another guy with him is all “Whew, those are sexy!” I’m not kidding. Of course, as I walk away they yell: “Not as sexy as your ass!” Some things never change.

3. Bums don’t want money, they just want love (or possibly beer)

There’s this one bum (is that PC?) that hangs out around my work. He’s the scruffiest looking guy: tall, unshaven, unkempt, wears 50 layers of clothing in the summer and somehow it’s all clothing that you’d either find on a young skater-boy or your Grandma, always seems drunk and/or high, looks about 62 but may actually be 26 – you know the type.

Anyway, he has these stories about why he needs money. Yesterday he told me his Porsche ran out of gas and he needed some change to go get a jerrycan. Last week he told me he was saving up money for tap-dancing lessons. Before that it was that his canoe oar snapped and he needed to buy some new wood.

Here’s the thing though, I really think he just wants to talk to people. I mean sure, change is great and all but he seems a bit lonely and sad, even though he laughs as he asks you. Yesterday I spent 7 minutes exchanging jokes with him. I know this because I had given myself 10 minutes to get to work and ended up being there 7 minutes late.

After I left, I could hear him laughing to himself down the street. Whether it was the jokes or the voices in his head I couldn’t tell you.

16 responses

  1. I really think it’s about the human interaction as well. Sorta same story, but I smiled at a homeless-looking guy at the grocery store on Easter. He kept “running” into me at every turn. I was convinced he just wanted me to smile again.I cried a lot when I left. I’m a pussy like that.

  2. haha you’re too cute! I always am nice to hobos bc it’s gotta be so lonely, and sometimes they are realllllly smart and insightful.

  3. Well, all I saw was a big white empty space where the blog entry should be, so I was figuring that you were feeling particularly uninspired today.But since the previous two comments were about homeless people do/saying something touching, I’ll add in, “Yeah, I wept a little inside, probably out of happiness”. The truth is, like everything else I ever do, I’m entirely clueless as to what’s going on because I either slept through something important, was in the bathroom when the big announcement was made, or was the unfortunate sucka that got the white screen of emptiness when it came time to write some sort of half-informed comment on someones blog.

  4. from my 5 month stint of living in your city, i can totally attest to the fact that ALL calgarians love to drink. ALL the time.

  5. Shoe compliment + ass compliment = awesome day.Don’t pretend it’s not true.

  6. I’m not usually very sympathetic to bums. Maybe because I know for a fact that contractors here will hire anyone who walks in who can hold a paint brush for $15-$20/hour. But if one was creative enough to come up with stories like that I think I’d be more willing to help them out. (Where is the picture of the hot pink shoes, btw?)

  7. Kate – You never know whether to hug them or spray disinfectant on themnrichie – Sometimes they have the strangest things to say tooPoobomber – wow, that was deep. I have fixed the white hole problem, but your comment made about as much sense as yours usually do so kudos for thatWell-Intentioned – I know! It’s crazy really, and glorious. Ben – best day in a while, let me tell you

  8. When I worked constuction I found the best thing to yell was, “You’ve got a great personality” or “Hey lady, got any tape?” You know – things like that.

  9. attachedmama – That's the problem, especially in Calgary where you can work at Chicken-on-the-Way for $15 an hour. That shoe is the closest I can find to mine ;>Dr. Z – Wow, that would win me over any day

  10. It’s so true about the bums. I think they just want SOMEONE to talk to them! There are a lot of homeless by my office in Santa Monica area, and if I just say hi or even offer a smile it makes their day.I wish mine had glorious canoe breaking stories though…

  11. I know that bum!I mean, I don't *know* him, per se. But he gave me his full standup routine once while I was having breakfast on the patio of the new OJs on 8th. He wears Nike Shox. It's a bit incongruous. I spent last night (Wednesday) getting positively hammered on beer and eating my bodyweight in wings on the patio at the Rose & Crown. You are correct, re: drinking in C-town. I thought I heard once that Alberta is the biggest liquor-consuming province?

  12. I was actually downtown with some friends this past weekend looking for a particular bar. A bum jumped into the conversation exclaiming that he knew our city like the back of his hand and that he would be happy to provide information. After he told us how to get to said bar, he casually mentioned that his wife was over in the park and she has Lupis. LUPIS! And all he wanted to do was get her a Big Mac. We gave him money. I mean no one should have to go thoughout life without a little Micky Dee’s!

  13. Bum is very un PC. I opt for Non homes human.Very PC.“You shoes hot, but not as hot as your ass.”I write that down to use tonight on some unsuspecting females.

  14. To be fair, your ass is hot enough to merit mention. It’d be more offensive if they said nothing.

  15. Awww, you are so nice!! I think I’d prefer giving money to a bum who had a crazy story about oars and his porsche than one that just had a sign. I encourage creativity.

  16. Ringleader – It lets him stand out from the other homeless guysErin – Yes!! You probably know exactly who I mean because he’s the one who hangs out on 8th. I could for sure see Alberta being the biggest liquor consumors…Sarah Elizabeth – Aww that’s a strange encounter?!rs27 – You have to let me know how that line works!Pistols – True enough, and even worse if it was something like: “Your shoes are hot, good thing cuz the rest of you is U.G.L.Y.” or something. Lyla – I didn’t even give him money! Just chatted, and he still likes me! The stories definitely help. A little creativity goes a long way.

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