Friday, December 20, 2013

STREET VIEW (354/365 DAYS, 3.0)

Taken a week ago, 
once most of the Village's activities had wound down for the night, 
as I was heading west, 
I came across some people that gave me an excuse to do some ICM shots.

"Jaywalker [Montreal]"

I don't specialized in people portraiture, 
but since these kind of shots make people unrecognizable, 
which is fine by me... 
it may be perceived rather as a behavioral portrait. 
There will always be those who throw themselves into traffic, 
thinking they are in a sufficient rush to put their life at risk, 
and that surely, 
the world will stop for them... 
I should know, 
I used to be one of those!! 
I am now more cautious and the vexing thing is, 
it is when I cross when the lights tell me to that I was almost hit twice, 
and once at a stop sign where I should have had priority, 
that I ended up on the hood of a pick-up truck... 
I miss jaywalking!!! 
But now cops give tickets [when they feel like it] to pedestrian who act this way... 
But I can  attest to the fact that crossing at the corner and waiting for your light 
does not guarantee your safety at all 
since some drivers are total savages!!

"Lone Wanderer [Montreal]"

Further down the street, 
a shadowy figure was rushing [possibly] toward the next subway station. 
If you have a hard time making it out, 
just look to the right at the red and white spot, 
you'll see a vaguely human shape rising up there. 
It was a cold morning 
and perhaps that was why we were all rushing off somewhere, 
not because we were pressed for time 
but rather because we wanted to get some place warmer... 
I know I did!!! 
But I've also heard of recent violence in the district 
and it is only one more reason to seek refuge into a familiar place 
and not to isolate yourself. 
You never know whom you're gonna cross path with... 

"Taxi!!! [Montreal]"

A last view of the street in a freelensing shot, 
another way to get around town 
if you can find one, 
a cab that is... 
Something I used to be familiar with for various reasons. 
I don't call on their service much anymore 
but still many recognize me and greet me, 
like one did yesterday. 
Some got to be semi regulars and we got acquainted somewhat. 
Most of them a quite likable bunch 
and I felt for them when one of their colleagues was murdered recently. 
They do have a tough job, 
whatever some may think about it... 
I often said there should be a glass partition to protect them 
but I remember the reply of one of my regulars: 
"The day they set a glass partition in my cab is the day I'll quit my job!!
He enjoyed too much the contact with his clientele 
to suffer the presence of such an obstacle. 
A true people person, 
he liked interacting with his clientele. 
From my youth when cabs were mainly driven by Caucasian types, 
whether French or Anglo, 
over the years, 
many ethnic groups took over, 
bringing in different conversations 
where some willingly talked about the politics of their country of origin 
and those of this new country they adopted. 
It made for interesting debates!! 
I also remember now a black guy, 
that when I sat into his car, 
he shut his music completely... 
I asked him to put it back on and to never be shy with sharing his heritage. 
He smiled and put it back on. 
I knew it was going to be a long ride as I was crossing half the city 
and the Caribbean music took my mind off what I had just gone through. 
Such experiences allowed me to widen my musical horizons 
and to exchange with people I might have known little about otherwise. 
Next time you take a cab in Montreal, 
strike up a conversation!! 
You may learn a thing or two about your fellow man, 
and about the city too since they seem to know everything about it... 
I sure heard a lot of "Radio Haiti" during those rides, 
especially at the time of the earthquake in 2010. 
Many had families over there and I got a very personal look at the situation 
with the testimonies of those drivers.
Was it part of what motivated me to give money to the Red Cross? 
Maybe, may not... 
I also did for Pakistan later on, 
and I don't know any Pakistani... 
These guys are not just there to drive you around, 
they are part of the very fabric of this city, 
and if you treat them well, 
they'll return the favor with a reliable service and a friendly chat. 
Don't forget to tip them!!  


  1. I've had some of the best and most interesting (and some of the most exhausting) conversations with cab drivers. Love the photos... again, especially "Jaywalker." My native New Yorker, 86-year-old mother was hit by a car jaywalking when she was 81 years old. In intensive care for a month and rehab for a month. She STILL jaywalks!

    1. Simply glad she recovered!!!
      Funny that she still does though...


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