sorrys and smiles won’t get us drunk

After a season of going to see live theatre on subscription tickets to a local theatre with a friend, we got bored with it. So we upgraded to the symphony!

It was a different experience than when I had gone as a teen for my music history classes. Quite enjoyable in fact! The first show we saw was music from the Rat Pack. The maestro for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Bramwell Tovey was quite humourous and interactive. Being a performance on Rememberance Day, he had all the vets stand up. That was a nice moment. But he also cracked jokes all night and gave background info on each piece so we could better enjoy it.

Then we went to see a child prodigy play one of Mozart’s violin concerto. That was nice too. Mozart is one of my favourites. When I used to play piano as a child, I was pretty terrible at learning and getting the notes off the page. So I prefered Mozart — simpler notes, but the challenge in perfecting his pieces were in the musicality. That I could handle.

Anyway, on the way home from the Mozart concert, I walked by an interesting sign from some of the panhandlers on the street. It said “Sorrys and smiles won’t get us drunk!”

It made a good point, I thought. Just because I choose not to give change to someone, doesn’t mean that I should ignore them and brush past like they don’t exist. There’s a basic human dignity that is respected when we make eye contact, smile and say “sorry, I can’t help you in that way” or even “hi, how are you doing today?”

Every time I do say “hi” or some other comment to a panhandler, every single time I’ve received a polite response — either “thanks anyway” or “have a good day” or “God bless you.” I guess it’s true like my friend’s husband from England said during his first visit to Canada (Vancouver) — the bums are polite here! Or maybe it’s just that Canadian politeness coming out…

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