Monday, June 16, 2008

I Was Just Outside the Winnipeg Citizens' Coalition Founding Meeting

Mine tonight is an anecdote that quintessentially encapsulates how Winnipeg and I get along.

I had wanted to check out that Winnipeg Citizens' Coalition thing tonight, which was starting at seven. (I mentioned that last night, hadn't I? I think I had.) Unluckily for my purposes, I don't get off work until six each night -- and my commute home is no fun lah, especially considering that the city's traffic lights are apparently programmed by spiteful troglodytes.

When I got home I switched out of my unflattering work clothes as quickly as possible, checked the transit times online ("oh come on") and booked it out the front door towards the bus stop at the end of the block. Now, I suppose this part is my own fault; I wish in retrospect that I'd thought to check beforehand, but it really hadn't occured to me this would be the day that road construction swallows up ten or fifteen feet of pavement around my closest bus stop.

Would anybody like to guess what the bus did? Guess what the bus did. You know, it's amazing how few stops those things actually make when you're chasing them for a couple blocks.

The next bus wasn't for another fifteen minutes, of course, so I had plenty of time to think about how spectacularly funny the whole thing was. Ha! Ha ha ha! Wouldn't you know it, here I was trying to go drop in on a group advocating for improving the city's transit system, and I couldn't get there on time because the transit system pooched me! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

So I get there fifteen minutes late, right, and...

I'd clearly underestimated the numbers this meeting would draw, but the organizers had clearly been underestimating the numbers right along with me. In the fifteen minutes it took me to get there, the event had gone from everyone-grab-a-seat to standing-room-only, then to whoops-there-go-the-occupancy-limits, and then to okay-we're-in-two-rooms-now. And I couldn't get into either one! The original meeting room was guarded by (hee hee) library security at this point, to ensure that the occupancy limits remain unchallenged, and the hastily-assembled second room was so crowded that I only got to take a peek inside when someone else at the door graciously gave me his spot for a couple seconds.

I'm glad I had an equally-important backup plan for my library antics, or I'd have been pissed.

I'm a dude who loves going through CDs in libraries, especially considering the kind of goofy albums that can pop up from time to time. And, by fortunate coincidence, the CD section and the Carol Shields Room are on the same floor; the two are only separated by a couple dozen footsteps, in fact. So I set into a little routine for a while where I would pick out a couple of CDs, drift over to the Coalition thing and see if any standing room had opened up yet, then drift back to the CDs and pick up where I left off.

"Excuse me -- how many CDs can you have out at once?"

The big interesting local political event of the week went down and I was fifty feet removed from it, looking at CDs instead; the whole picture describes my modus operandi better than I would actually care to admit. Look at me, I'm the zany slice-of-life guy.

I may have been late enough to bar my access to the event, but hey, I could feel better knowing that I did beat Dan Vandal there. I was standing to the side and carrying about fifteen CDs in my hands when I saw him breeze by, clearly rushing over from another engagement; he and I exchanged nods, not because we've ever met or anything, but because I happened to recognize him and then he figured he may as well nod back to the tall dude in the Venom shirt holding a day's worth of music.

You know what, I never did get into either of those rooms and find out what was going on. I'd taken a transfer when I got on that second bus, in case anything were to go awry; it was an unusually generous transfer, giving me a whole hour and a half (oh boy!), but I'd now blown that time alternating between finding neat CDs and totally not finding out what the Winnipeg Citizens' Coalition is up to.

I needed to check my items out and get back down to street level, pronto -- and I did, but it didn't matter. The buses I needed for actually getting home were twenty-five minutes apart, and that's never good news for a dude whose transfer expires between them.


I caught another bus that was kinda-sorta going in the right direction and then hoofed it for fifteen minutes, still beating my bus home. And after all of that I just ended up sitting at home, keeping up by reading the great Hacks & Wonks liveblog of the event and listening to quirky borrowed music.

Winnipeg Labour Choir - Which Side Are You On? (The Red Album, 1995)
[info | that's actually pretty much it for online info | you can borrow the album from the library when I'm done with it]

So, yeah, go me. I was near, but not actually at, the founding meeting of the Winnipeg Citizens' Coalition. I tried!

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