Monday, July 24, 2006


So reads the sign encased in a clear plastic bag and backed by an old pillow. For the past few days I have passed an older Asian woman sitting on the sidewalk in front of the CBC building. I pass her on the way to work. I pass on the way from work. It took me a few days to actually read the whole sign. She has a fresh 2 litre bottle of Sprite (but somehow I think it is water) everyday, and reads the transit papers, while she bides her time.

I don’t know what it all means, but I’m pretty sure she’s upset about something. One day on my way to the train she was screaming hysterically at the second floor of the building. But I really don’t think she’s unbalanced. I just have this feeling she’s standing up for something. It’s a concerted and dedicated effort – she’s there every day and night every day.

The morning of the evening that she was shouting at the building, I had seen a casually dressed blonde woman kneeling down and listening intently to what the Asian woman was saying, as if it was any ordinary conversation anyone would ever have. I looked at the blonde woman and wished I had the courage to do that. To just ask this woman what was going on and listen. But it’s a hard thing to do. The last thing you want is to have this women go ballistic on you in the middle of the street.

So I had a plan. I thought I’d slowly make contact with her. I stopped walking through the CBC building lest she think I was part of the machine stealing her intellectual property. Then I walked by one day and tried to make eye contact. I gave her the head nod, but she looked right through me. Or just didn’t see me. Hope nobody saw me get stiffed.

I’ll have to try again. Maybe eventually I can coax a smile out of her, and after a few days I’ll have the courage to speak to her and find out her story. It’s not that I’m nosy, I just admire her dedication and maybe I can help.

Most likely not.

I’ll let you know how it went, that is unless I chicken out.

UPDATE: I walked by the CBC building on my way to the train... all her stuff was there, but she wasn't. I guess the 2L of Sprite (or water) meant a trip to the washroom sooner or later.

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