Occasionally as you manoeuvre around this town, you come across social commentary, words of ancient wisdom or just some good old fashioned advice. It’s not a headline screaming from a free advertising saturated news paper handed to commuters as they access our transit system. Just as unlikely, this food for thought is not presented to you via one of the many electronic forms of media delivery and reception so popular today. In fact, it is best if you put your device away and keep your eyes open as you go about your daily life.
I am always on the look out for stuff out of place. Whether I’m walking or riding one of my bikes, my eyes are always scanning to and fro. Aside from the random street art I love so much, there is also a lot of “Streetlosophy” presented to the citizens of this city. It can be scratched into fresh concrete or graffiti under a bridge, but it’s a message from somebody to someone, maybe to everyone. What I find so interesting is that this individual would take the time to present this bit of information to the street. The writers of these words all have different reasons for putting forth their thoughts for public consumption.
On a random block of Kingsway someone has posted “Bill Clinton is Thug” on a construction site plywood wall. As you ride up the bike ramp from Queensborough to the Alex Fraser Bridge, “Ted Cruz is Canadian” is written onto a concrete ramp support column. Quiet political comment on an individual who may be the 2020 Republican Party presidential nominee. So far no visionary statements about Justin Trudeau or a labour tirade against Christie Clark have been spotted adorning any surface. Why American politics have been chosen as subject matter for some “Streetlosophy” in a Canadian city is an interesting curiosity .
Another subject that gets frequent mention in the random philosophy found on the streets is religion. A writer declaring that “Jesus Saves” certainly gives you his one religion opinion and wants you to know what works for them. Another lays it all out there for everyone to see with their “Religion Sucks” declaration. In light of so many of the worlds current challenges and wars being based on different versions of religion and gods, I am inclined to agree with this writer’s viewpoint. Perhaps this is news that should be announced from the headlines and billboards.
Then you come across a comment carved into a wooden park bench declaring “Asshole Dinner.” I’m not sure what message the writer is trying to get across to those who read these two image creating words. A substantial period of time was taken to present these thoughts to the public. This is no quick burst of sharpie wisdom on a convenient surface, this requires some determination. I’m thinking that this message has deep meaning for whoever graced us with their eloquent woodworking skills, written as much for themselves as for any potential audience.
The make everybody feel better snippets of “Streetlosophy” can be found in the most unlikely of places around town. You can feel the pureness of the messenger as they drop “4give & 4get” on a side street painted road line. The why can’t we all just get along sentiment of “Imagine Peace” radiates a better world from an abandoned shop window. The message that if we work together and treat each other like we want to be treated ourselves, this is a good thing for citizens to be made aware of. It’s called the golden rule and if more of us quit breaking it, perhaps this world truly could be a place of hope, peace, respect and love for the people who live on the planet. All the gods know the current system isn’t working very well. I think I’ll go write that down on a wall somewhere.