Monday, September 17, 2007

Hi Fi Wars

So far, the hipsters are winning.

Sunday afternoon, after Eric and Steve and I finished our pancakes, and Steve's dad picked Steve up to take him sadly away from Ottawa, Eric helped me take the Hi Fi out to the curb.

It was a sad day. It was broken, so it never did anything except hold up my typewriters, but what a job it did of that, in its warm cherrywood splendour.

I kept the typewriters. Except for the Underwood I was babysitting for Jennifer. That one I sent back to her house with the gold desk of wonder, which is currently making her bedroom look fabulous.

Anyroad. We set the hi fi down on the grass near the sidewalk, where it looked even better against the green green grass. Eric wondered aloud if it would just end up at the dump. "Not a chance," I said. Emphatically.

No longer than 13 minutes later, I heard the tell-tale scrape of two cherrywood legs on concrete. It was the man who plays guitar with a mug on the stump of his arm. According to my ex, he is the only true blues man in Ottawa. The Only True Blues Man often sits on the corner at the end of my street, singing and playing and asking for change. I was a little alarmed at him trying to drag this thing along, but he seemed to be making a pretty good go of it, so I left him alone and went back to working at my new computer table.*

The scraping sound stopped, and I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. The Only True Blues Man had gone across the street, grabbed a drawer from an abandoned night table and was putting the drawer under the feet that were scraping.

Correction, foot.

I got up and moved a little closer. The drawer was only under one foot, and not useful enough. He abandoned that and disappeared from view. And reappeared. With my blue box.

Fuck that, I thought, I'm not dragging my ass down to the Glebe Home Hardware and dragging both my ass and a new blue box back. Not even for the Only True Blues Man and really definitely not for a fucking broken hi fi.

I stomped out there, down to the sidewalk and said "That's my recycling bin."

Unfortunately, besides "no, sorry, have a good day," those are the first words I have spoken to him. That doesn't seem right.

"Okay, man, I'm just going to take this around the corner. I'll bring the box right back."

Having just replaced my black box, I was having none of that. "You're taking it where?"

"Just to the corner."

"Well I'll just help you then. There's no point in dragging it if we can just carry it."

He eyed me suspiciously. "You sure you can carry this thing?"

I squinched my face up. "Uh, yeah. I carried it out here."

"By yourself?"

"No, of course not. But if we're just taking it to the corner, I'm fine, swear to god."

We picked it up and took it not even to the corner, but to the driveway of my house, less than 20 feet up the sidewalk. He scootched it into the cedar hedge. Asked me if it worked. He was crestfallen when I said no, but quickly recovered and looked crafty, looked up from under his eyebrows at me. "Ah," and here he pointed a finger at the sky. "Tubes."

Indeed. That lead to what felt like a overly long conversation about tube electronics and component stereos. Turns out he's an old electronics guy and is pretty confident he can fix this thing and sell it. His plan is to have his son pick it up (in 4 days, when said son gets back from the bush), and have it taken to the son's house in Kanata, where the Only Real Blues Man will work his tubular magic.

Of course, this plan involved me covering it up and putting a sign on it. Which I did not agree to do. Garbage picking is a dog-eat-dog world, in my estimation. Prime garbage goes to the person who not only spots, but permanently moves, the piece in question. It took me days to recover from rescuing my new computer table. With aching shoulders and bruised hipbones in mind, I probably lacked the sympathy I should have felt.

On my way home today, I noticed the hi fi was still scootched into a cedar hedge, but a cedar hedge in the yard belonging to the hipster boys up the road. I don't like them. Jennifer doesn't like them either. They have a life-sized plastic deer on their 2nd floor balcony, looking down at the street. I find this gratingly ironic, and it startles Jennifer every morning when she is not quite fully awake, but out and walking Shy Dog.

We only had this conversation about how we mutually hated the deer but for different reasons because we were sitting on her porch chatting and working on the outline to our Ladyfest workshop on Saturday, and ended up having to yell at each other because the pod of hipster boys was rolling up and down the road and doing almost-fancy tricks on their skateboards. We successfully channelled our old lady selves.

Since the hipster boys have gone out of their way to displease me, what with their too-obvious ironical tendencies and loud skateboarding ways,** and since the Only True Blues Man saw it first, I hope he wins the Hi Fi Wars. They outnumber him quite significantly, but I think he's probably tougher than all of them combined.

*More on that later.
**Though they did let Ruby skateboard one night, and that was entirely pleasing. So okay, I take it back. I still hate the skateboarding when I'm trying to have a peaceful gossip on my front porch and by god, I hate that deer more than anything else on this street, but I don't don't like them.


Jo Stockton said...

I agree that it is cute that they let Ruby skate, but I do maintain my steadfast hatred of that giant plastic dear and my resentment with regards to their ruination of our peaceful Sunday. I also, perhaps incorrectly, assume that everytime a large group of boys is skateboarding loudly in a public place they are either showing off for the public or for each other and I have no patience for that.



Susannah said...

those are some mighty fine looking typewriters ms. butcher.