We Saw You

Illustration by Ricky King

Introducing a new section at thescope.ca: I Saw You.

With reporting by Adam Clarke, Amy Joy, Angus Woodman, Bryhanna Greenough, Elaine Pond, Elling Lien, Kerri Breen, Lisa Cook, Martin Connelly, Morgan Murray, Natrix Ma, and Ryan Davis.

Click here to submit your own.

I saw you as you drove past in your big Ford pick up truck, little lady, barely seeing over the steering wheel, foot heavy on the gas. And I saw you splash through the puddle, soaking a lady jogging by.

I saw you, white boy with dreads, go into a coffee shop asking if they had Fair Trade coffee, and when the server explained that it wasn’t certified, but was fairly traded, you performed a lecture about working conditions that seemed very rehearsed. Then you left a photocopied leaflet of your poetry in place of a tip.

I saw you picking out flowers, and when I said, “My, she’s a lucky girl,” you replied, “She gets flowers from me every day, so it’s not so special for her any more,” then continued to the cash.

I saw you picking your nose something fierce when they called on you to receive your lifetime achievement award. You kept picking as you walked up to the podium, trying to make it look as though it was the most natural thing in the world. But not even the Fonz could pull off the thumb and forefinger double dip up to the first knuckle. Nice try though.

I saw you giving a lecture at MUN, your eyelids fluttering every time you struggled to find the right word.

I saw you in your red car outside the Quidi Vidi Dominion as you pulled out of the parking spot, stopped, pulled back in, opened the door, and touched the pavement with your two fingers. You sniffed them cautiously, then tasted them, then closed the car door and drove away.

I saw you look at my nametag and say in a very snotty tone, “I don’t know you,” and walk on. You reminded me of the lady who threw a hot turkey sandwich at me when I worked at Buck Weaver’s. She made me realize that not all old people are sweet.

I saw you, lady in the bank line-up, as you watched two other ladies converse about this and that. You nodded and smiled and acted as though you were in the conversation, too, even though they had no idea you were there.

I saw you in your spiked collar at a gig, rocking out so hard that you banged your head against a pole.

I saw you chuck a wine bottle backwards, over your shoulder, into a shrub, in the middle of the day.

I saw you break up with your boyfriend on a payphone in Hamilton Convenience, then hang up the phone and buy a bag of Doritos and a Kit Kat.

I saw you on a cold Wednesday night, rocking out to what I believe was ABBA above Nautical Nellie’s with a mop.
I saw you, beardy man in jean jacket, circling around Sylvia’s Treasure Chest and getting ever so close to buying a book about fortune telling, but you kept putting it back.

I saw you delivering the mail as I was sitting on the front stoop, sneezing. You talked to me about lemon juice, fasting, blood-building, toxins, and the perils of eating sad chicken.

I saw you in the Convention Centre car park, bent over, pants down. When you saw me walk by, you laughed and you asked your boyfriend to spank you harder.

I saw you fight to control the pet ferret you brought along car for a ride and it seemed like your attention was 50 per cent for the road and 50 per cent for your squirming friend as you weaved and swerved about in the rain. We’re gonna crash, we’re gonna crash, we’re gonna crash, I thought. Suddenly, we arrived, and your beast promptly let out a wet fart and kunkeled.

I saw you in your AC/DC T-shirt walking headlong into a hurricane.

I saw you pull up in a white car behind the Dominion on Stavanger, window down, arm out, wearing a heavy silver watch, black felt hat, late 50s. I was alone and taking a photo, and you were blocking my car as you watched me stand on the cliff’s edge. When I turned around and took your photo, you drove away.

I saw your boyfriend giving you a piggyback on Holdsworth Street when your other friend ran up to you, took off your shoe, and threw it in the grass. Then you all went to get nachos together.

I saw you stick your head out of an open car window, and as it drove past you shouted “Your boyfriend gave me herpes!” We all laughed, but the car was long gone before I knew how to respond. (“No wonder your face looks like that!”)

I saw you in a harbourfront phone booth, waiting for the phone to ring. You were sitting cross-legged and in bare feet, drinking cans of beer with your friend, and it seemed like you had been waiting a while.

I saw you drive your tinted black SUV down a closed off road after a storm, and you squealed and skidded to a stop just before the fallen power lines. You lingered there before backing out slowly.

I saw you through my office window, you had on a bright orange vest with a big yellow X on the back. As you mowed the lawn with your protective ear muffs on, I wrote a poem about you and emailed it to my friends. You seem nice.

I saw you with your colorful silk scarves and dark eyes, bent over a deep freeze as you sang along to the east Indian music in the background.

I saw you, four gorgeous girls in short black dresses, standing by the bank machine on the end of George. When you left, three handsome guys in plaid shirts came and stood in the same spot.

I saw you in a striped shirt, French music drifting from your house and sun dripping from the sky — you were washing windows, and the only thing to complete this “I saw you” would be Bordeaux and croissants.

I saw you around 7am Saturday morning on Water Street when you pointed to a building and slurred out something that sounded like, “mrmrmrmmrrrr marley…mrmrmrrrpeter toshmrmrmrrr…cliffffffmmrrmrrr,” then you pointed your finger to the darkening clouds and sang “Redemption Song” to me from start to finish.

I saw you buy a big can at the liquor store and ask for a brown bag. A few minutes later I walked passed you on a bench in the sun, sipping as if there was nothing else you’d rather be doing.

I saw you at a store in the Village Mall, leaning over a clothing rack (I think it was a rack that had sequined bras on it.) You were coughing your lungs up and looked haggard, and when I asked if you were okay, you said “yes,” because you thought I worked there and was asking if you needed help finding clothes.

I saw you picking your nose something fierce when they called on you to receive your lifetime achievement award. You kept picking as you walked up to the podium, trying to make it look as though it was the most natural thing in the world. But not even the Fonz could pull off the thumb and forefinger double dip up to the first knuckle. Nice try though.

I saw you two, in your mid-thirties, wearing square glasses and hoodies, sharing an Extreme Pita sandwich in silence, looking everywhere but at each other.

I saw you and your little dog get jumped and bitten by a Newfoundland dog. You screamed at the owner that if she couldn’t control her pet she shouldn’t be out walking it. When the owner started walking away, you screamed after them, “Next time it will be a child that gets attacked!” I hope your dog is okay.

I saw you practicing karate by the hot dog cart.

I saw you kissing your boyfriend, who was pretty close to twice your height, and I couldn’t help but wonder, How would that even work?

I saw you yelling at your kid that if he didn’t stop throwing rocks, you would beat him to a pulp.

I saw you (and heard your tires screech), two little old ladies in the green Corolla, when you ran a red light on LeMarchant Road. Once you realized what you had done you laughed your heads off.

I saw you steal cheese from the Dominion on Blackmarsh, and when you saw me looking I hoped you’d invite me over for some wine and cheese. You were pretty cute for a cheese snaggler.

I saw you with the flocks of people trying to catch a cab after 3am on New Gower, and you were standing in front of a parked car.

I didn’t realize you were pissing on it until you shouted at me, “f@#king eyes down, f@#ker!”

I saw you, mole man, hairless and wearing activewear as you waved a metal detector along the side of the Manuels Access Road.

I saw you eating your chicken salad sandwich and you had mayonnaise all over your face and you didn’t know it. Or maybe you did and you didn’t care.

I saw you kick your beagle as I stared in disgust until I caught your eye. You winked at me and continued down Prospect Street.

I saw you in your work clothes with two other guys, your beat up ol’ truck screeching to a halt once you saw the redhead with the fuchsia stilettos.

I saw you walking with a cane in the orange light of the afternoon, wearing a yellow hat, carrying a green apple, and missing two front teeth.

I saw you, or rather, I didn’t — but you called my cell phone on Friday night and asked if I was ready to die. ‘Excuse me?’ I said. You repeated yourself, and then offered that you were standing outside my window. I looked out, but didn’t see you, so I called the cops.

I saw you, red sneakers, no socks, with your pony tail and frame pack, looking like a lost traveller at the illustrated map of Newfoundland in the window of what used to be Morrissey’s Store. It looked like you were searching for answers or St. Anthony.

I saw you just off Duckworth Street with your friends at 3am. When two dark-skinned guys walked by, you shouted, “Happy Eid! Hey! Happy Eid! Today is Eid, right?” One of the guys answered, “uh, we’re not Muslim,” and kept walking.

I saw you rolling pennies down Prescott Street on a warm Sunday night.

I saw you sniff your armpit as you walked across the parking lot.

I saw you with your Spiderman-colored sneakers and grey wool hoodie sweater when you told us a story about a man who went hunting hammer-head sharks. I like your stories and the fact you fixed my furnace.

I saw you and your family on Cuckold’s Head, all of you wandering around angry, not talking to each other. I found the keys to your rental car on a rock near the hardest part of the trail, and when I gave them to you, your mom gave me a bear hug.

4 comments

  1. FredT · June 9, 2011

    What a great article. I’ve read it twice wondering how many of these things I’ve actually done. More than I thought, actually. And more importantly, how many times I’ve been discovered.

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