On Thursday I went to Ribfest twice but didn’t eat any ribs. As a matter of fact, I’ve never once eaten a rib at Ribfest. There’s something about Ribfest that triggers my Options Paralysis Disorder (OPD). I can never decide which rib stand to eat at, for starters. They all claim to have won first prize; they all have trophies. Then there are the lineups, which make me feel defeated before I even begin. I just can’t bring myself to line up for awkward, sticky food that I would have to eat standing up. Ribfest is just too complicated for me.
I had beer instead.
Then I headed down to the Market and stopped at a new coffee bar called Espresso’s, on Cumberland between the condos and the shelters. I had a coffee and struck up a conversation with a soft-spoken and gentle-mannered man named Andy who seemed to appreciate the company. It turns out he lives in Options Bytown and he’s a success story.
Then we shook hands and he went off to get breakfast (he works nights), and I went to Crazzy Dave’s book launch down the street at Le Petit Mort Gallery. Crazzy Dave is a homeless poetry busker who lives behind Chapters in the Market. He’s been living there year-round since 2006. He writes his poems on cardboard with magic markers, and sells them for five or ten dollars to people passing by.
Crazzy Dave seemed relaxed and comfortable at his book launch. He’s accustomed to talking to strangers from all walks of life, so he was in his element even though he was indoors, out of the elements, for a change.
The book – Mindlessly Adrift – is beautiful. It’s lavishly illustrated with black-and-white street photography by Jean Boulay. I couldn’t quite bring myself to spend $40 on it, so I didn’t get a copy. Apparently the publisher set the price on an anticipated cost-recovery basis.
The book was in the works for awhile, but didn’t become a reality until the president of a local ice cream shop stepped in with some publishing money. Who knew ice cream shops had presidents?
(You can read more about Crazzy Dave and his book in Kelly Egan’s column.)