The race is on!
All over Alberta candidates, like so many toy soldiers, are hosting up their signs and slogans, ready to do battle.
“Vote for me,” they chant. “Vote for me, vote for me, vote for me, please.”
And on it goes.
Being Joe Public is kind of cool during election time because you get to be right for no other reason than you have no one to convince but yourself.
And when you take part in kitchen table and coffee shop politics you are neither the winner or the loser.
You simply are.
My husband and I have indulged in lots of kitchen table politics for a number of reasons, none of which include putting our political science degrees to good use (neither of us has such a degree) or being masterminds about such things.
I have to admit when I was raising my kids I was more concerned about where they were, what they were doing, and if they would ever, ever make it through grade school than I was about the way the political wheel was turning in the town in which I lived.
That, of course, has changed.
Hence, the kitchen table politics in which I now participate for the following reasons: the kids are grown up and married, we are not babysitting one or several grandchildren, we no longer have a dog and a cat, there is nothing on television because the television is not working, we accidentally stumbled onto the subject of politics and we want to hear ourselves talk (impossible to do if the television is on, because it is always very loud because one of us has a hearing problem that may or may not be selective).
Anyway, one thing we discovered we agree on is there are many issues to discuss.
Take the downtown core — empty. We shake our heads and our conversation is immediately stirred up with a whole lot of passion and a whole lot less knowledge as to how to fix the problem.
But we do remember.
We remember when we used to be able to run to the hardware store and say to the guy: “I need about six screws and a whatchamacallit to fix this thing under the sink in the kitchen. And the guy; the one you could spot easily because he always wore a smile and this blue denim coverall thing seemed to know exactly what you were talking about and he would rummage around until he found it.
And we remembered going to the grocery store for bread and milk that took about five minutes. It was the chatting to the neighbors who were also picking up bread and milk or some other forgotten supper item that took the time.
Ironically, both those stores were downtown.
Yes, those were the days, we agreed. You didn’t need to wander around wondering where the sales people were and, more importantly, if and when you found one, would he or she would even know what a whatchamacallit was?
And you didn’t have to drive all the way across town just to get milk and bread and be forced to line up behind a real shopper who had so many real groceries you couldn’t even see the checkout.
And we both remembered when the movie theatre was right downtown.
“What was that movie we watched with my sister and her husband in 1977?” I asked.
“I have no idea,” he said, his mind, no doubt, still on that little hardware store that has vanished off the face of small town Alberta.
Poseidon Adventure, I said, triumphantly. And so ended our talk on politics and downtown Alberta, the way it used to be and the way it is now.
I wonder what ever happened to that hardware store and guy who knew what a whatchamacallit was. It seems they both have disappeared!
And that’s a shame.
— On The Other Side