Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Morning Walk

Getting up earlier than usual (6am), walking earlier than usual (9am), and for longer.

Yesterday I walked east on Kingsway and noticed another Pattison billboard that wasn't trying to sell me something. Could it be that no one wanted to rent it, and that rather than leave it blank, Pattison mounted a reproduced artwork instead? Something from his collection? Is Pattison trying to "sell" us on his collection? (Does he have a Ryman?) As an art critic I am prepared to respond. But not today.

I never know where I am going when I set out east on Kingsway, until I come to Victoria. At that point it's either further east (I have walked to Metrotown) or south. This time I walked south, but not for long. I turned right (west) at East 30th because I noticed that nothing seemed to impede it, that it ran without interruption until Knight Street. (Most east-west avenues between Victoria and Knight are blocked at some point by north-south streets.)

What I like about 30th, what I learned yesterday, is that some of its blocks are curbed and look to be regularly paved, while others look like back alleys. Street, alley, street, alley. Unusual for this city.

In one alley a cardboard box of electronic trash, including an old dial-up modem. Ba-ding, ba-ding, ba-ding! I would have taken its picture but I was being watched by a couple of guys in a car watching a guy in his backyard polishing his motorcycle, and he was watching me too.

Ah, the early days of the internet (1990s), when its web was a bunch of cute kids prone to snits; before its teenage years, when it knew everything (2000s); and now today, its social media platforms like battle stations people run to when feeling upset or righteous or both. Things were getting hairy online before the COVID-19 virus, and some reacted by going off of it. If I was the internet I could not think of a better way to return people to its rooms than the conditions set by this virus. I don't hear many people speaking of things going viral now that this virus -- and those managing it -- have us locked in, strapped down.

At Dumfries Street I turned right again and walked north. There is a brand new house on the northwest corner (Vina palatial, made of stucco and veneers), but it was the two war houses north of it that caught my eye. Both fall gently down a verdant slope and have lush, thoughtful gardens. With the sun on them, they look perfect. Find them, spend time with them. They might make you feel better.

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