Welcome back to my friend and guest poster Nan Kulset. I had no idea such a pretty area existed in downtown Oshawa. Some interesting twists happen on this lunch break. I wonder where you’d end up if it was for an hour. Thanks for sharing Nan!
Having a Slice of Life on a Sunny Day in Oshawa
It was raining on and off all weekend. My body was craving some sunshine today. Being stuck inside all morning pushing paper, pushing a keyboard and people pushing my buttons finally pushed me over the edge.
Taking matters into my own hands, I make ready to venture out for a stroll. I switch my business loafers for walking shoes (the better to sprint away from danger) and make sure my cell phone and keys are well concealed.
Putting one foot in front of the other, I start out across the foot bridge over Oshawa Creek. On such a fine fall day, there’s always something to see there. People lounging on benches, taking naps on the grass and strolling around. Everyone casually checking everyone else out. One time when walking over this exact same bridge with my daughter we witnessed two scruffy looking characters exchanging a wad of cash for a small package. My daughter, 14 at the time, asked me if we had just seen a drug deal. It looked like that to me too.
You can understand why didn’t really expect much on this walk with this neighbourhood being Oshawa, a formerly booming motor city. Its nickname is “The Dirty Shwa” now and people are sometimes proud of that. I guess it’s something like embracing what we have.
I am usually a little apprehensive when I go for walks around the downtown area. Today, I have nothing to lose other than my marbles. So without a definite path in mind, I get to the other side of foot bridge and walk up the interlock brick path the lines the edge of the McLaughlin Art Gallery. adventures
There’s this specific pocket of odor at the exact same spot on this part of the path that I detect every single time I walk by. One of my spookier friends says she thinks it a lost soul. Personally to me it smells like mildew. Why is it only in this one spot and why is it chronically there?
Continuing along, I pass a lot of government workers with ID lanyards on, doing the same as me, escaping the confines of 4 walls and a monitor. It feels great to be out and walk along Center Street beside the Oshawa City Hall. The city horticulturalist, et.al. has done a stunning job of making the pathways beautiful. I recognize some of the plants but many are so exotic and bizarre making for an interesting display along my walk.
I cross the street and start up Athol heading east. There’s not too much along here unless you count the Timmies of course – there’s a lot of people hanging around there – refreshing themselves with caffeine, sugar and nicotine. For a while, there’s a woman walking in front of me with stiletto heels and a form fitting short ‘business’ skirt. She’s wearing nylons and they look hot and uncomfortable. Do people still wear nylons? I’m happy to no longer have this particular item in my drawers.
Turning around to head back West after a while I pass a real estate agent’s storefront on King Street. There’s a real nice house in Bowmanville for $ 600K plus on 4 acres. That’s a thought – not. The Regent Theater is next and I update myself on what’s upcoming: Mike Mandel the Hypnotist, Elvis Look/Sound-Alike performance, Durham Film Festival shows and Andre Gagnon – he looks really good on the poster. Wikipedia says he was born in 1936. Could this be the real him or is it another Look/Sound-Alike? Huh!
Nearing the end of the walk, I pass by a man standing in front of the library with a large professional looking microphone and camera set up. There’s also a table there with 2 tomatoes on it and 2 pieces of fabric covering something.
He asks me if I have a moment for a brief survey. Intrigued, I say sure thing! He turns on his equipment and then proceeds to asking me which tomato I would pick if I had the choice. It is obvious that one of the tomatoes is a typical supermarket one – It is smooth, perfectly shaped and has no blemishes. The other one is bigger, has some flaws and is not uniform in colour.
Sensing a trap, I tell him that if the tomatoes were equal on all counts, I would take the perfect looking one. He then removes the cloth coverings to reveal two different plates with chunks of tomatoes on each one. I’m asked to sample a piece off of each plate and to give my analysis. The perfect one is okay and palatable but the jumbo flawed tomato has a much richer and full flavour. In taste the ugly one wins hands down. None of this is a surprise but it was fun to participate. Look for me on Heirloom Tomato Television one day.
It’s time to head back to the Salt Mine and I’ve reached almost full circle back to the foot bridge. What should I spy out of the corner of my eye? A shiny new $ 20 bill just sitting there in proud contrast against the ground. I quickly look around – after all, this bridge is a known area of commerce of the local Shwa variety. No one is around. I snatch that baby up and as I do so, notice 2 more bills nearby. I snatch those up too.
I go over the bridge pausing briefly at the middle to see if I could see or hear anything else. All I could really hear was the water in the creek rushing by and though I did look back, I don’t see anyone or anything else. There’s no one I could hand this cash into so giving my pocket a reassuring pat, I go back to work enriched and refreshed.
All this happened in the span of 30 minutes at 12:30 pm on a sunny Monday afternoon in Oshawa.