Yesterday, my motivation to continue unpacking never returned. I guess I needed to rest a bit after all the craziness.
In the afternoon, I decided to explore my new neighbourhood, and I took my camera.
I wanted to photograph some of the differences between this neighbourhood and the one we left. The one we left was the original working class neighbourhood, where most of the houses were about 100 years old on very narrow lots. This one is not precisely a suburb, since it's so central, but it's definitely 50s suburban: huge lots, almost entirely bungalows. It wasn't until I got home and saw all the photos that I realized the number one difference: built-on garages.
I saw barely anyone walking. A few people worked in their yards, but more than anything was a ubiquitous twitching of front curtains and heads peeking through windows only to withdraw as soon as I tried to look friendly or determine for sure what that movement was.
The most twitching by far occurred at the last house of the above series. The little old lady who lives there even came out and asked me suspiciously what I was doing. She was hard of hearing and I had to repeat myself quite a few times. "I like your house. I took some pictures."
"But what are you going to DO with them?!?"
"I'm just an artist..."
"Who are you?!?"
"I just moved into the neighbourhood. My name is Cinnamon Gurl. I live over on ___ street."
So we chatted, but her suspicion never really left her.
My first stop had actually been the United church that I once thought was heinously ugly in its modernity, but which now I quite like.
Behind it in the parking lot were a few sheds and an institutional-looking building behind it. As I shot, a few kids rode through the background on the bikes, so I shot a bit longer (you can just make out one of them - the white speck between the sheds). They noticed me immediately, so I smiled and waved, then turned around. The shot wasn't really working.
Halfway across the lot, one of the kids called out, "What do you want?" I wasn't sure they were talking to me, so I turned around, gestured questioningly to myself and said, "Me?" They said nothing and turned around.
Later, they caught up to me. "Excuse me," one of them said. "We were just wondering why you were taking pictures of us."
"I'm just an artist," I said. (I've never called myself an artist before but it seemed like it would make for fewer questions than photographer.)
"Oh, sorry" they said, like I had some horrible affliction.
This neighbourhood is so suspicious! In my old neighbourhood, people asked what I was shooting, but it was out of curiosity, not to uncover my nefarious plot to harm them in some way. The whole rest of the day I felt like this is a horrible neighbourhood, and I don't belong here. What the hell were we thinking?!?
I also discovered that the institutional building behind the church was an abandoned school. It's so sad that they're doing away with the small local schools and bussing kids to mega-schools.
My town is in the midst of a by-election, which makes it a good time to get a sense of the neighbourhood. As much as I'm trying to curb my judgments, I still judge people by their politics. My old neighbourhood was full of NDP and green party signs. They were everywhere, with only a single liberal sign on my street.
Here, there are virtually no signs. I guess these people are just apathetic. Either that or they have a bizarre need for privacy -- who KNOWS what people could do if they knew which party you supported! Especially in this day and age with the whole Internet thingie. Of the signs that are here, most of them are liberal and conservative, with the odd renegade NDP and green party sign.
I'm still really torn myself. I love the NDP candidate as an individual, but the thought of being the first riding to elect a green party MP is pretty tempting.
(those campaign shots were all from a few weeks ago)