Saturday, February 28, 2009
when I'm 85
I left for my morning walk today at 9 am and returned at 3:30 pm. I had not realized it was -28 when I left, so although it was brilliantly sunny, by the time I walked the 4 k to Alli's, my legs were tingling in spite of having worn tights. Just past the stairs on High Street I passed the old woman with the red gloves who shakes her fist at all passing cars. As I walked down the sidewalk and she walked up the hill, our paths crossed and she looked me boldly in the face and said firmly, "Never mind. You go home. You don't live here. I can take care of the cars." And off she went to her house covered in untrimmed trees and lilac bushes, her purse swinging against her mink coat, her 40s style cloche pulled low over her forehead. Before going up her front steps she turned and one last time pumped her red-fisted hand angrily in the air at the next passing car.
After cutting Alli's hair, we sat together and had coffee and I ate two suolakala sandwiches, one Hannan Tädin kukeksi and one pala of kirkon naisten tekemä pulla. She told me a very detailed memory/story about when she was 5 and her brother died and she thought his eyes had opened and when she was 7 and looked out of the window at her sisters sliding down the snow-covered hill, and since Urho on Tuesday had told me a very detailed memory/story about when he was 5 and heard the vanha pieni ukko playing the Sami drum in his tent back of their camp up in northern Finland/Samiland, I wondered if I too, when I am 85, will remember my childhood with such clarity to attention?
Then, Alli showed me, once again, photos of her grandsons' weddings, and she told me about her last visit to her doctor and what he said and what she said. Alli wanted me to get her Saturday's newspaper from the box down the street, but it ate my loonie and 2 quarters, so I went back to her place and asked her for a veiti and went back to the newspaper box and poked and jimmied the coin slot trying to push the jammed coins further into the coinbox, all the while my fingers were getting quite cold, and I jiggled and jimmied some more but the coins refused to budge so then huriana paasassin sitä paksia (you have to know Finliskaa to get that last word), and then lo and behold, when I tugged at the handle, the glass door opened. I took 2 newspapers.
After bringing the knife and one newspaper back to Alli, I walked to Bay St. to exchange the hand crafted Wojo hat I had bought on Tuesday at VillEdge Art Gallery. I thought I had picked the right one that day. I had tried on this hat and that hat and back to this hat and then that hat and finally settled for a variegated green hat, but after wearing it for one hour and having an itchy forehead, I realized it was not the hat I was looking for. Now I have a brown hat. It is a crocheted hat worn low over the forehead that snugs the head. I looked in the mirror. A sudden thought flashed by...oh dear. Do I look like that old Italian lady in the old mink coat who shakes her fist at all the cars?... Never mind. I stuffed the new hat in my bag.
After talking to Cy about my sister's website launch and art exhibit and a possible 'fusion' of creative energies - coffee house - music - something at the old bar upstairs at the Finlandia Club, and him telling me about a possible next-year cross-border snow sculpture symposium for the empty corner lot and a possible living street night/art "billboard" art-in-the-street project for the summer, and after talking art with random people who had dropped into the shop, I thought, I'd better get going.
I crossed the street, intending to turn up and head back home, but in front of the Hoito I bumped into Chris R who was admiring the ice crystals suspended from the tree where the birch log bird house hangs. "I almost didn't recognize you with your hat on," I said.
We had a long conversation about the drag festival last night (not a car drag but a drag ball that was held in the Hall; the drag party was packed and a success), Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and opium, young Aboriginal offenders and addictions, the Palestine Event last night (also a success!), the importance of the need for non-Aboriginal Canadians to get outraged about the third world conditions of the reserves in NWO, and about how much blatant racism there is in this city, particularly in institutions, such as health and education. Afterwards, I decided not to walk home because now it was getting late and instead go straight to The Resting Frog Yoga Studio for the Welcome Back drop in for Marjut, who had recently come back from a 6 month meditation retreat in Mexico.
Cutting down the backlane of Machar Ave and then through the Wilson St. park and past the ice rink, I spontaneously decided to swing by the Northern Woman's Bookstore to say hello to whoever might be working the shift, which turned out to be Barb, who turned out to also be going to Marjut's welcome back drop-in. And that's where we went.