Friday, November 6, 2009

People who've waited with me at government offices

It was business as usual at the Canadian Health Registration office. At least I think it was the usual. I'm not very sure what unusual business at a government office should look like. Probably perky employees and enthusiastic customers? I wondered about that as I sat, watching the digital number display boards for my number and waiting my turn. Two bored Chinese-Canadian college students lay slumped in the chairs two rows in front of me. I think they were college kids because of their wrinkly Abercrombie & Fitch tshirts (whatever happened to Old Navy?), bedheads, and ubiquitous white earphones. An old Chinese lady sat with them in a dull but thick purple dress and sensible shoes with her hair in a neat bun. Her posture was perfect, well-disciplined with nary a quiver. Maybe the grandmother?

A big beefy white man sat down between me and the objects of my attention. He was wearing a tired white tshirt and faded blue jeans, probably ripped at the knees if I could've seen them. He had tattoos, lots of tattoos, new ones and faded ones, peeping out of his neckline and the hems of his short sleeves. But the only one I really paid attention to was the one on the back of his sturdy shaved head. I giggled as the large Roman calligraphy style letters proudly announced to the world, "FUCK OFF".

I couldn't help it. I reached out and tapped the edge of his broad shoulders. "I like your tattoo, " I blushed, as the man who was for sure a roadhog turned his thick neck and bull shoulders to look back at me.

He had the smile of a baby, and I don't mean he was missing teeth. What a child-man he seemed; I'll always remember the simple innocence on his Jesse Ventura face.

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