So last Friday I was saddled up at the bar after a rather busy lunch enjoying my afternoon coffee when I looked at Mr. Potatohead. He was staring at me in his usual glib way, arms outstretched, as if to say “well? Do something with me!”
We had just had our monthly Neighbourhood Night with Jenny Deters and a group of downtown staff and business people chatting about all the great things downtown and I thought “I should go introduce Mr. Head to some of these folks”. So out I go and not until I had passed my first group of young girls who looked firstly at smiling potato in hand, and then at me, that I realized how silly this could look. We dropped in on various stores, introduced ourselves and took photos. (It’s amazing how people can react when asked to hold a potato head so that they could get their photo taken – without being paid, no less!)
I stopped at patios and asked if I could get a photo of Mr. Head with their meals and cocktails. No takers there. The gentleman who was playing his guitar by the bank was somewhat entertained and asked if he could take him on the road. I declined. We visited the toy store, of course. Had a hard time getting him out of there.
We wandered through the streets and back alleys, past the Art Gallery, the Library, and through various shops of all sorts – clothing, toys, food, computer, music, antiques, The Butcher Block (he didn’t like being put in the deli case), and the one thing that we realized was that everywhere we went people were engaged with eachother, customers and us. Nowhere did I get laughed at (too much), or told that we weren’t welcome. Everyone was laughing, having a good time, and enjoying being there. We realized that downtown is so diverse, we couldn’t possibly visit all the stores in a day.
Thinking about the malls we have here and in Nanaimo, you can walk through them in no time flat, but Downtown, now this is a cool place. So thanks to all the shop owners and staff who were able to take their time to talk and play with us. Mr. Potatohead and I had a good afternoon.