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Blind woman singing…

June 26, 2011

I was on the subway today, coming back down from North York where I had been doing some gardening. I got on at Finch and had already settled into my reading by the time we got to the Shepard Station.

I saw the red and white walking stick come through the door before I saw her. She, was a young woman of about nineteen or twenty. She was Chinese and she was quite pretty. She got on the subway along with whom I presumed to be her mother. I thought no more of them – in the way one thinks of no one on the subway – and went back to my book.

I was reading Naipaul’s Enigma of Arrival. Surprisingly, it has a lot to do with gardening, but the book is totally inconsequential to the story though; -it’s just background to what happened next.

After a few minutes of chatting to each other in Cantonese, the young blind girl began to sing -in Chinese- what I suspected to be a Disney song. It sounded like it was from one of those “Disney Classics”. Maybe something from the Lion King or Pocahontas. (Being a dad, I’ve seen them all a thousand times, but couldn’t tell you one song from the other.) I can tell you that it had that modern Disney sound. The same musical score. Sachrine and sappy. (Just the way we like our favourite Disney tunes.)

She was pretty good too. She had the kind of voice that would get her past the auditions for American Idol. But when you began to listen, a little closer, you soon began to see that she wouldn’t, however, survive the 1st cuts.

Everyone liked her, and when she finished people gave her a nice little round of [self-conscious] applause, and everyone was smiling to each other. It was a nice subway moment. I notice then the watching threesome of sixteen-year-old North York girls from across the car – looking all cute and soft (the way those sort of plain North York middle-class girls like to look).  They looked at the blind girl uncomfortably and only applauded along with the rest of us so they wouldn’t stand out. 

They clapped, but their looks totally betrayed them. You could just tell they were “like, that was so not cool”.

Anyway, I go back to my reading, thinking that that was a sweet moment, when, about a minute later, the blind girl starts singing again. And it’s the same song! All over again!

The third time she did it, I moved to the other end of the subway car because, I figured, we had moved past sweet (with the first rendition), to weird (with the second), and now we were in some strange mental health territory I had no experience with. The mother beside her just sat there sweetly, listening to her.

By the time I got off at Bloor, I thought I had discovered one of the levels of Dante’s Hell, where, for the rest of my eternity, I would be riding in a silver-grey subway car and a pretty blind girl sings to me the same Disney Song! Over and over again. 

What the fuck do you think that’s suppose to mean?

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