When, What, Who

The when is a great mystery. I never know when it will hit: that feeling of my grandmother’s bafflement if she could be here now, having missed the last 40 years of unremarkable day-to-day changes that have, somehow, added up to a remarkably new world.

The what is obvious: I always know what has provoked the feeling. This time, it was this sign on the Windsor waterfront.

No-smoking sign prohibiting e-cigs and hookahs. The who? Well, that’s another mystery.

I expect it’s my subconscious, using this mechanism to get me to pay attention, to spark my sense of wonder.

But it feels like my grandmother.


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10 Responses to When, What, Who

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    What gets to me is not the accumulation of small changes that add up, as much as the refusal to recognize that accumulation…. The conviction, perhaps, that homophobia is still normal, or that men are naturally superior, or that ownership of a property or pet or child grants permission to treat it/them as one wants… It’s a sort of Harvey Weinstein attitude, but not just about women.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Hmm. The accumulation engenders surprise in me; the refusal to move along a slightly less happy emotion.

  2. Tom Watson says:

    This sign… the Windsor is Windsor, Ontario?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – LOL. Yes. I laugh because I Googled “walking tours Windsor” and was surprised at how many came up and how interesting they seemed. Oops. Wrong country . . .

  3. Tom Watson says:

    The location of this sign? Was it on the long walkway on the shore of the Detroit River? That is a beautiful area in late April and early May.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – That’s exactly where it was: along the 5km river walk. I believe I walked the entire distance. Twice. Just sayin’. I wish I’d known you and Janice had connections there, but I’m glad to know now.

      • Tom Watson says:

        Janice grew up in Chatham. I grew up on a farm on #3 highway, between Wheatley and Leamington. Also, we lived in Windsor from 1971-1973.

        The last time we stayed in Windsor was in 2006 or so. We walked part of that river walk. Quite a lovely area.

        Another Detroit memory was to go there via the tunnel and walk along Woodward Avenue. Vernors had a plant not too far along and you could get ginger ale flavored with pretty much anything.

        Also, in the mid to late 50s when my chums and I had an orchestra we used to go over to Grinnell’s Music and buy stock arrangements of big band music.


        • Isabel Gibson says:

          Tom – My goodness – a lot of associations. I think the border crossings used to be a little more casual than they are now. 🙂 That’s sort of the way I feel about Alberta, where I lived for more than 40 years, all in. The tunnel is closed for ceiling renovations (I’d call it repairs and suspect a City communications type intervened) until June sometime.

  4. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – And I can still remember what life was like before television. And having just visited the Johnson Space Centre, being reminded that all the calculations for the Apollo Moon Landings were done before the advent of computers and pocket calculators.

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