May 27th, 2023
There's a tiny slice of pavement between my neighbourhood supermarket and the senior's apartment next to it. It's kind of a grey area, not claimed by grocers or landlords. And just like the shadowed nook under the bleachers back in high school, it attracts a certain type of person - albeit with witty elders instead of sassy teenagers.
It's known as Dale's Office, a title honouring the namesake fellow who sets up his lawn chair (office chair?) in this no man's land each summer. Smudged by his seemingly never-ending pack of cigarettes, Dale creates a casual space that has a certain centre of gravity to it. Neighbours are enticed one-by-one into his semi-circle to chat and wile away the day. Their conversations are bluntly real, yet they are guardrailed by the rules Dale makes clear to all with his practiced welcome speech: leave the drama at home and no arguing.