Explanation of exclamations
“Irrelativity” is on the road as Barry tours his solo shows through the U.S. and Canada this summer. This dispatch is from Toronto, Canada.I’ve had a week off in Toronto, so I’ve been hanging out in coffee shops while waiting for the Toronto Fringe Festival to begin.Earlier in the week, I’m sitting in one of these coffee shops when in walks a guy named Jimmy. Not that unusual, except that I met this particular guy named Jimmy a month ago at the Orlando Fringe Festival. He lives here in Toronto and is also a performer. Now Toronto is, according to the 2001 Census, a city of 2,481,494 (yes, this coffee shop has free Internet), so to bump into someone I know here is at least noteworthy, right?I love this kind of stuff anyway – looking at the clock and seeing that it’s 11:11, hearing an obscure song you were just thinking of, someone calling you when you were just about to call them – and I find these little synchronicities to be especially relevant while on the road. To me it’s a sign that I’m on the right track, in the flow, in the groove, all that?Jimmy is also doing his show here at the Toronto Fringe, so the next day we biked around Toronto and hung up posters of our shows. As we went around the city, he ran into four different people he knew. Each time he was amazed. I mean, it’s a big city.The next day, I got a call from Michelle, the woman who rode with me from Ottawa here to Toronto. She left a message reminding me that she owed me gas money. I like to think that my van, Constance, runs on love, but I only believe that until the needle gets to 1/4. I didn’t call Michelle back until later in the day, as I was walking to the coffee shop.She answers and I tell her, “No big deal, you can pay me when you see me next. We’ll certainly run into each other in the beer tent.”She interrupts, “Is that you walking toward me right now?”I look up and – brace yourself – there she is, walking up the street with a friend!This is not a busy street! It’s a quiet little residential side street! We are the only people visible on the street! She isn’t staying near me! There’s no reason for her to be on this street! She doesn’t know where I’m staying!Sorry for all the exclamations, but, as I said, this stuff excites me more than anything. And I know that everyone doesn’t share the same degree of excitement as me, but if bumping into someone in a coffee shop is noteworthy, then calling someone that you don’t really know while walking toward them on the street – well, come on, right? That’s undeniable cool! Isn’t it?Well, apparently not to everyone.I shut my phone and walked ahead, my mouth hanging open. I’m visibly excited, all my thoughts ending in exclamation marks (see above). I’m probably jumping up and down a bit. I may have piddled ever-so-slightly. THIS was big.”So, how much for gas?” she said.”Wait a minute,” I said. “We have to enjoy this moment! I mean, come on, the same street! At the same time! While I was calling you!I was breathing hard.”Whatever, Homegrown. Just tell me how much.”She didn’t even pretend to care.”But?””Look, Homestyle, I’ll pay you later if you want.”She worked her way through calling me all the possible “Home” variations – slice, spun, fries, town – but would not budge on acknowledging the magic that had just happened. By the time she got to “eopathy” I knew it was time to give up. “Oerotic” was probably next. She gave me money and we parted ways. It’s hard to not be evangelical about something that you’re so excited about, however simple it may be. I sat down at the coffee shop a few minutes later, opened up my MacBook and noticed the time in the upper right hand corner. It was 12:12.Cool!!!Read more fascinating detail about Barry’s tour on his blog, http://www.barrysmith.com
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“To see kids slow down and take in a moment at an iconic monolith like Delicate Arch supports the principle motivation that initially helped to inspire our outdoor education programs,“ writes columnist Britta Gustafson. “Perhaps it’s those moments that can’t be forced but can be nurtured.”