The Angriest Man

The other night, walking to the Acropol with E’s parents, Aunt Peg and Aunt Barb, and Uncle Ray, we wandered past The Angriest Man In Kitsilano. And I felt some kinship to him well up in my cold-befuddled mind.

First: E’s parents walk slowly. The aunts and uncle also walk slowly. They are somewhat advanced in years, and they also need to stop to look in windows of shops. So the block-walk from where the cars were took us about eight minutes.

Second: The Angriest Man in Kitsilano is part of our community. Most of the people I know kind of look out for him. He’s probably not homeless, he’s always wearing clean clothes. He’s not always clean-shaven, but I can kind of understand why.

His brain is wired so that he is almost always angry. Sometimes he is just surly-looking, his handsome face furrowed in ire. Sometimes he’s muttering to himself. Sometimes he is shouting at invisible opponents. Sometimes he is so angry that he’s punching invisible attackers, throwing himself off balance. I’ve never seen him hit anyone else, and when he’s that mad, he tends to circumnavigate groups of people, so I assume that, on some level, he is aware of his physical surroundings, even though he’s whaling on someone on another plane of existence. Also, when he stops for coffee, he can control his anger long enough to get the coffee and walk out of the shop.

So, I’m walking along with E’s family, and I spot The Angriest Man up ahead, slouched at a Starbucks table. He’s at his least angry, only surly. We walk past him, and I meet his eyes. There’s anger there, as usual, but there’s also a sheer, deep, bone-weary sadness.

I want to sit down with The Angriest Man, I want to hear what he has to say. But I keep on walking, shuffling along with the in-laws, nodding solemnly to E’s mother’s recounting of the last Regina Madrigal Society benefit dinner.

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