a peek inside the fishbowl

22 Apr, 2021

It wasn’t a typical dog walk

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Mark, the eldest daughter, and I were walking Piper the other night when a woman approached us. I thought she was going to comment about the weather (a common topic as people pass each other on the street around here!) but the conversation went sideways right from the get-go. And it wasn’t about the wind chill.

“So how do you like living in a POLICE STATE,” she asked. The look on her face suggested she was hoping we would commisserate. We pretty much stopped in our tracks. Then she made a comment about how the regular flu kills more people than Covid does.

I was tongue-tied. Mark took the direct approach.

“No,” he said. “No, it doesn’t.”

She balked.  “GO AHEAD AND DRINK THE KOOL-AID,” she muttered as she walked away.

There was more to the exchange, but my memory is not my friend today.

I yelled something, not at her, but directed at what she had just said. I released it up at the sky, just to get it out of me. Something about living a long life, but I can’t remember the exact words now.

It was such an odd exchange between strangers that it almost feels like a dream. Did it really happen?

2 Responses to "It wasn’t a typical dog walk"

1 | Sally Dowe Marchand

April 23rd, 2021 at 11:51 am


Oh my. I don’t know what I would have done. Bent over in agony maybe. Or turned quickly and walked away. Or offered sympathy for the stress she is clearly experiencing. Yikes. On the soir of the moment I probably would have quickly run the other direction. I don’t like conflict.

2 | Brien Marshall

April 23rd, 2021 at 12:16 pm


It’s like Twitter but in real life! Certain people are looking for a platform to vent their opinion and you happened to be in their audience. On my first and only trip to Florida with my wife last February (2020) we went out for a walk around our B&B in Ft. Lauderdale when this guy in a champagne-coloured Escalade pulls up to drive beside us with the window down. After about 10s of pleasantries he launched into an anti-immigration, anti-Obama (still!), racist screed that just kind of left us in stunned silence. Just like on Twitter, there’s not much point in engaging because no minds are going to be changed at that point!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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