Cross Town with Carl Dow

Cross Town with Carl Dow

Women on the Street

Carl Dow photo.There's Bank Street in Ottawa's Glebe and there's Elgin Street up north under the Queensway and more or less three long blocks east.

I like giving gifts as I walk along. Gifts of good will, that is.

In the Glebe, I'll say to a woman walking toward me, Looking good!

Invariably she'll respond with a surprised smile and say, Thank you!

When they're pushing babies or walking toddlers, I'll say, Beautiful. Nice work.

Invariably, a big smile of appreciation and a thank you.

Over on Elgin Street, a location with a lot of pubs and mostly expensive restaurants, catering to government bureaucrats, the atmosphere is more closed and less friendly.

Sometimes, not always, just sometimes to give them their due, when I say Looking Good to an approaching woman, she'll look at me as if I'd just crawled out from under a rock.

There are far fewer children on Elgin Street. When I see them I usually don't engage the mother, for fear I'll be snarled at as a pervert.

It's interesting. Same city. Streets so close to each other and so different.

There's a sense of violence on Elgin Street. There you've had drive-by shootings and other mayhem.

In the Glebe you'll have some peaceful home break-and-entries and a series of robberies at the Bank of Nova Scotia at Bank and Fourth.

They usually catch the robbers because they just don't come back to the scene of the crime, they come back to repeat the crime and get nailed.

But I'll end this note in the positive about Elgin Street. The other night I was off a city bus, walking on crutches under the Queensway into cold and snow that was falling and blowing thick as a fluttering lace curtain.

Halfway across Catherine Street I passed in front of a car that had stopped for the light. The horn blew. I looked up from watching my footing and confirmed that I was still moving on the green. What's his problem?

Now I was past the car, heading for the sidewalk. The horn blew again. What the hell?!

I looked over my shoulder and saw this Looking Good woman about thirty, roll down the window on the passenger side of her car. Would you like a lift somewhere?

What kindness! I thanked her warmly and refused her offer, pointing with my right crutch at the brand new apartment complex into which I had recently moved saying, That's very kind of you, but I just live over there.

With that we parted company. Me with a warm feeling that there was at least one woman just off Elgin Street who didn't think I had just crawled out from under a rock.

Happy Trails.