Life passing by an office window


So I go down to the Tim Horton’s in our building to grab a late lunch. It’s late afternoon. The restaurant is on the second floor of our building. It has floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the spot where Jarvis and Mount Pleasant split.

There’s a bicycle cop down there and he’s standing in the middle of the road, stopping traffic. I wonder why.

I order my sandwich and walk back to the window. The bicycle cop is still holding traffic. Across the street, on the sidewalk, there’s a security guard from the construction site, a very skinny and slightly stooped Somali who is signaling pedestrians to get away from the road. I assume all of this must be construction-related. They’re putting up a 40 story condo across the street. Maybe a big truck is about to back out from the work site.

From this spot, I can see all the way up the street to the corner of Jarvis to Bloor, a couple of hundred yards north. When the first black car turns from Bloor on to Jarvis, a guy behind me says, “oh, must be dignitaries”.
“Must be the emperor of Japan,” I say. “I thought he was in Ottawa. But I guess today he’s in Toronto.”

One day last summer I was walking home, passing in front of the Royal Ontario Museum when the president of Ireland swooped down, in a high speed convoy of a dozen black cars and SUVs, with scores of cops and security guys with earpieces and suits on the street, blocking things off for a couple of hundred feet in either direction in front of the museum. There is something about the way a motorcade rolls, all speed and menace and get-out-of-our-way-or-else power that pleasures a certain lobe of the male brain.

And then I notice that the policeman is saluting. The black cars are flying Canadian flags. Some of have their windows half-way open, and I can see young blond faces, faces from a small town, looking out. These faces weren’t supposed to be riding limousines except to the prom, or to their wedding day. Some are waving.

And now I know what this is. “That’s not the emperor of Japan,” I say to the guy standing in line. “That’s Kandahar.”

The man behind the counter has finished making my sandwich. Ham and swiss on whole wheat, toasted, with regular mustard. Turkey and wild rice soup. A coffee with one milk.

On the elevator to the 11th floor, I try not to cry.


Life passing by an office window

  1. thank you… that was my cousin, and that day was so unbelievably hard b/c as i looked around the world was still spinning, people were still living their normal lives and here we were, our lives on pause as we had to say hello and goodbye all at once… thank you, for sharing that it touched you too, that you took that moment to mourn like we were, he fought for his country, his wife and his beautiful baby girls, and i thank you for expressing that for that one moment that day, your world too was on pause… and it was my beautiful girl jes that you would have seen in that half window, and she WILL be in a limo on her wedding day, but her brother that would have walked her down the isle, was the man in the hearse in front of her
    RIP nick i love you

  2. Dear Friends

    I am asking for your partnership in helping create a dream of a fallen soldier. On July 3 2009 my best friend Nick Bulger was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. His dream was to be a Fire Fighter and unfortunately that dream was taken away.

    We have created a Bursary for future Fire Fighters in Nick’s remembrance to honour the role he played to his follow soldiers and to the women and child that benefited from Nicks volunteer work well serving. I hope you will help me keep Nicks dream alive through helping the future Fire Fighters.

    On February 20th we will be holding an all you can eat buffet dinner and dance at the North Boston Pizza on1164 Chemong rd in Peterborough, Tickets are 25.00 each and there will be a 50/50 Draw and door prizes. We are asking for your help in making this a success by contributing your time to attend this event. It would be an honour if you can join our event.
    For more information please contact me at your convenience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    IMO Cpl Nick Bulger Bursary Coordinator
    Kelly Cooley –
    Facebook group: In Remembrance Of Nick Bulger Fire Fighter Bursary
    (905) 324-0122 Cell
    Please leave a message!

  3. HI guys do to high demand the bursary has now been expanded, its now
    Feb 20th from 8pm till 1 am and Feb 21 from 11 am till 4pm.

  4. HI guys,

    We have now added Sunday to the event Feb 21 doors will be open from 11 am till 4pm due to high demand, same price for tickets!