Last week we were sitting around a table at the back of the Thrift Store, as we do on Tuesday afternoons. We were well into a game of Scrabble, a plate of crackers and cheese, and a bowl of grapes. A friend was playing the guitar, relatively quietly (for us), and there were various conversations going on around the table.
A new face arrived partway through this drop-in time, and was welcomed by a community member who engaged the new person in conversation. I was aware of this new presence, and was thrilled to see how quickly they became engaged in a deep conversation.
About half an hour later, the recent arrival was somehow triggered by something the person playing the guitar had unwittingly said/done. They quietly but firmly flipped the bird to the guitar player, and asked them to take note. Understandably, the musician was rattled, having never met this person before. I encouraged my friend not to take it personally, but was inwardly fearing that the situation may explode at any moment.
But…it didn’t! The musician chose to play another song, dedicated “to the middle finger”, and the community member who had originally welcomed the newcomer suggested the song could be called “The Flying Bird”. They proceeded to make up lyrics about a bird flying right over the offense that caused, and was caused by, the “flipping of the bird”.
One thing that I love about Parkdale is the general recognition that we all have our moments, our struggles, our quirks, our trigger points. Don’t get me wrong; there are days when it seems like nearly everyone is on edge and looking for a reason to become offended. But on many other days (or those same days), people do an amazing job of diffusing situations with incredible humour and grace. Last week at the Thrift Store was a beautiful example to me of this understanding, go-with-the-flow side of Parkdale. This is the neighbourhood that I know and love.