New Year At Nathan’s, pt. 1

Posted on January 5th, 2009 No comments. The post is really that bad, huh?

hear my tale of woeI feel kinda guilty for doing it; paying a guy to snap his photo. I mean, it’s supposed to be just a passing shot from the street and that’s it. He is, after all, selling trinkets for “a loonie square”, so I figure two is okay for one quick picture.

Instead, he invites me up onto the embankment where he directs his wife and son to pose. Somewhere from within three out of four uncomfortable grins, I align my shot and take it. The flash is weak and the picture doesn’t come out.

Fucking asshole of an idiot me.

I say “shit”, just a titge too loud, while grinning into the dim glow of the image. Before I even have a chance to confirm that, yes, I do want to permanently delete this already sullied scene, he jumps into action.

I, clearly, didn’t get my money’s worth.

This time I’m thinking, fuck it, if he’s going to the bother of gathering up his family – again – I’ll oblige. So I take my time. I readjust my camera and hold that trigger down, blasting my AF beam silently into their retinas.

All the time I’m looking into the image window, previewing the glorious photo I’ll have when this thing’s over. I can see pretty good detail too, and it’s not good.

He’s tall, maybe six feet plus. Probably around fifty-five, sixty. He’s definitely eastern European. Trust me on this, he is.

Big guy.

He’s dressed in a Honest Ed’s discount parka that is fully unzipped, and probably too small to be done up anyway. This despite the fact that – as I had predicted – it is inner-nose-freezing cold out here.

Now my eyes pan left and down. The child.

I can’t decide if it’s boy or girl because it’s just a big bungle of parka not dissimilar to the father’s. Same size, but done up, with a scarf. The eyes say east Asian. Chinese?

On to the woman.

Oh yeah, she’s definitely east Asian, all seventy-five years of her. I’m sticking with Chinese.

Good god, if she’s not in her twilight years then she must’ve had one hell of a drug problem. She definitely appears advanced in years to him, by a few, and he’s just not a man to whom the word “young” can be applied any longer.

…waiting for that goddam flash to charge up…

This must mean that, if this is the child’s mother, she must’ve given birth sometime in her late sixties or, perhaps, early seventies.

But that’s ludicrous! The imagination can’t wander thus.

No, she must be the child’s grandmother.


With his father selling loonie trinkets, in the cold, on an evening of celebration.

Where’s the mother? In fact, is this their regular income? It seems like a family enterprise, only the family dynamic is *really* dynamic. It just feels…wrong. What kind of dog and pony show is this?!

FINALLY, the flash goes off, and I KNOW, I JUST KNOW I’m not going to say anything other than, “thanks”, then turn around and march the hell off in the opposite direction.

a thousand tingly fingers pull me along

Without a further mumble, I spin around, and leap off the embankment, back into the surging flow of people.

Blissfully the crowd, the same crowd that could smother me to death in some sort of riot, is pulling me tenderly in its current towards Nathan Phillips Square for the new year thing.


I swear to god I can hear chanting.

It sounds exactly like a group of Krishna devotees.

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