Uptown / Summer in the City

New Westminster has a downtown. It’s the area around Columbia Street, by the riverside. It’s all old-style, narrow streets (possibly even cobbled? anyone?) and alleys and downtown stuff like poor people, drug addicts, a skytrain station (two, actually) and now, revitalization and condos!

New Westminster also has an uptown. Proceed directly west at a 90 degree angle from downtown for 10 blocks or so and you are uptown. The corner of 6th Ave. and 6th St. is the epicentre of uptown. I have spoken of this corner before. We live 10 minutes by foot away, so we do most of our shopping here. Yes, I buy all my clothes at the mall, at “Sweater Collection.” Yes.

Here’s what uptown looks like on a weekday morning:

– 60% older people using walkers / canes / motorized wheelchairs
– 30% women with strollers
– 4% middle-aged people in suits
– 5% blue collar people heading to or from the Tim Hortons at the corner
– 1% hipster ( p-man?)

The library is uptown. The “good” Safeway is uptown. The London Drugs, the coffee shop I like, the coffee beans we like, the cat food we need to control our cat’s bladder crystals; all of these things are uptown. So today I journeyed there, buggy full of toddler and wee child strapped to my chest. It was a trip I intended to make yesterday but Trombone refused to leave the house, preferring instead to make endless sand castle cakes out of his “sand dirt” on our porch.

(Him: Here Mommy, here. Some sand castle cake! Chocolate!
Me: Mmmm…
Him: Don’t eat it! It’s PRETENDING!
Me: Oh, OK, thanks for reminding me
Him: Nom nom nom
Me: So if it’s pretend cake, why are YOU eating it?
Him: I. don’t. know.)

We passed an old woman with a walker. She said You’ve got your hands full! I said yes. Yes I do. We passed a couple of hairy dudes with Tim Hortons coffee. They said, You’re working hard! I said yes. Yes I am. We passed a hipster. He didn’t look at us.

We passed another old lady, balancing several potted plants on top of her grocery cart. She said, You’ve got your hands full!
I said, yes.
I thought, You don’t know the fucking half of it.

We stood at the corner waiting for the light to change. A not-terribly-old lady with a walker stopped in front of me.

You’ve got your hands full!
Yes, ha ha, I sure do.
Is the little one another boy?
Yes, mm hm, 2 months old now.

She looked at me very intently. Looked at Trombone.

Are you going to try again?
No, that’s it for us.

She shook her head. Looked at Trombone again. He stared back at her.

You don’t want to try for your girl?
No. Nope. I like boys. I love my boys. Boys are great. Anyway, it takes both kinds, right?

She kept scrutinizing me. Shook her head again. Walked away.

She seemed – mad at me. Or disappointed. I’m not even related to this woman! I’ve never seen her before in my life!


1. I have heard this before: “your” girl. Like – I ordered a girl three years ago and she’s still not here? Oh and she has green eyes and red hair so don’t try sending me some random “girl” from the “girl warehouse” because I know which girl is MY girl.

I’ll know when I have her because then, only then, will I have sunshine on a cloudy day.

2. Obviously – is it your business? I mean, I will make conversation while I wait for the light to change with just about anybody but do you realize you are asking me very personal questions? Let’s talk about what a cold June it’s been, shall we? Tut, tut, looks like rain.

3. How about this, if you’re stuck for something to say (even though you started this conversation): “Another boy! Lucky you!” or simply, “Congratulations!” or what the woman I saw a few blocks later said, “Brothers! Wonderful!”

See how easy?

I’ve heard tell of people complaining that they have two girls, intend no more children and always get the “try for a boy” thing. I’ve seen it attributed to sexism. But obviously not, obviously it’s just that The World wants everyone to a) have more than one child and b) have one of each sex because

because why?

Seriously, does anyone know why? Is it from an in-breeding perspective? If we were the last family on earth and it was up to us to re-populate, then yes, it’s a bit icky, but I’d want as many kids as I could make and I’d want some of each kind so they could

…okay, yes, ew. But you see what I’m saying? Why does it matter?

Maybe that particular woman is a boy-hater. But other people have said this to me. They can’t all be boy-haters and furthermore I know if I had two girls they’d ask if I was trying for “my boy.” My former boss, when I ran into him a few months ago, referred to one boy / one girl as “the millionaire’s family.”

Anyway if I had a girl now, she’d be doomed to be the princess of the family so it’s just as well.

And…then we went to the “dark park” for 30 seconds before it began to piss rain and then home, to Casa del Penis, to serve the rest of our girl-free sentence. (And in case you were wondering, no, I’m not a girl anymore. I’m a mother.)

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