me

...for a camel-groomer

Sunday appears to be extra festive, at the QV market: as we passed through this morning we saw an inflatable castle and a pair of camels being groomed. I got a picture of the animals with skyscrapers in the background while an American couple passed behind me; "at least they're not as stinky as the ones in Israel," one of them observed. I gave a flower to the man with the animal brush who looked slightly confused until I said "nice camels."
me

...for a donut-maker

How many donuts have I purchased from that man at the bottom of the ramp? I feel that it might be close to a hundred. Today, after all these years, I returned to Footscray and gave the donut-maker a carnation. He was in the process of hand-rolling the balls, but turned at my approach and accepted the gift through the window. I had to reach it over that dolphin-shaped squirter of jam.
me

...for a seller of stoves

Today we bought a new stove (to replace the waterlogged old one) from a man selling all sorts of electrical items out of a shop on Belleville. I entered with a rose, and was immediately transfixed by a wall of televisions broadcasting video-clips of East-European pop ballads - all close-ups of teeth, doves and hair in slow motion. But I snapped out of my reverie in time to take the stove from the salesman: it was the display item that he sold us, wrapped in nothing more than an oversized plastic bag. Our hands fumbled over themselves as he passed on the bag. Then, when the transaction was over, I gave the man a rose. At that moment a little person who had been hovering beside the counter burst into shrill laughter that kept reverberating as we walked out of the store.
me

...for a student of pop

Elsa was wearing a cute floral dress as she opened the door this evening, tied at the front with a gigantic red bow. She had bought the dress in New York, recently, en route from a conference on the study of popular music at Nashville, Tennessee. Is she the coolest person on the planet, or what? Just inside the door I handed over a trio of gifts - (1) a rose, (2) red wine and (3) halva. This got the night off to a perfect start, and we spent the next four hours grinning at one another.

Quietly, at the head of the table, the rose unfolded itself.
me

...for a slow person

There's something apocalyptic about the way in which crowds depart from the metro platform, all sense of community lost as individuals squeeze between person-shaped obstacles and sigh at one another. I'm quite good at this myself, actually, and often win the surface-bound race at Pyrénées.

But today, at Porte de Pantin, I was distracted by a certain older woman (sixty-five? ninety-five?) who had pulled over to the far left in order to take each step two-steps-at-a-time, heaving herself upwards with a beleaguered lack of haste. A whole trainload of people had swarmed past her by the time she had reached the halfway step, leaving only her in the middle and me at the top, standing around with an orange flower. Her eventual arrival had a certain joyful dignity, and she accepted the rose as a self-evident sign of her own triumph.
me

...for a man in tight shorts

The flower thing was easy, this morning, because I'd just had an enormous breakfast and was radiating genuine love for myself and the world. I just handed the carnation to the first guy who passed us along St Marys. He was wearing dark glasses, a bandanna, and extraordinarily little shorts. He was tickled by the gift and kept yelling "thank you" back at us as we moved along the street.
me

at york...for a bare-footed person

Today was the first day that I have seen people using the art-gallery fountain as a swimming pool. It was delirious! Much more healthily raucous than life in Liverpool had been. When I passed it for the second time the sun was getting really balmy. There was a woman sitting there with her shoes off. "For you," I said, trying to keep it dreamy. It's always helpful when people are already in a zone. She took it as if I was simultaneously surprising and inevitable, if you know what I mean.
me

...for a man with a girlfriend

I rushed home to get my flower just in case Ryan was feeling spontaneous enough to join me at the movies. He wasn't, so I took the bunch to the minster gardens, protruding from my schoolbag in a most eccentric fashion. For a while their inaccessibility made me miss opportunities - like the man in the leather jacket or the tourist with the glasses - but I spotted some seated lovers and decided to terrorise them, instead. They were eating pasties, or something, when I stopped beside their bench and offered the flowers to the boyfriend. "Welcome," I said, as if I was part of some garden committee, or else completely troppo. The guy started hooting but took the gift and thanked me for it. To confirm that I really was mad I just breezed away without even having made eye contact with the lady. But, well, I was all smiles. This project is getting less and less sacrificial.
me

...for a woman in a beanie

I took the last of my chrysanthemums onto the city walls and enjoyed the childish pleasure of strolling along a footpath with flowers. I was pointing the plant at the ground as if it was perfectly natural for a left arm to be botanically extended, passing a few mundane tourists on the pretty section between Bootham bar and Monk bar. It was at the corner between the two gates that I encountered the old woman dressed in a simple coat and wearing a beanie. I felt the flowers lift into my right hand at the precise moment that I noticed how brightly the sun was shining. So my "good morning" was sincere, and her reply was only slightly suspicious. "For you," I confirmed, for which she graciously thanked me, accepted the gift and continue her walk towards Bootham. I felt a surge of loveliness even before I imagined her passing the tourists that I had overtaken with my conspicuous flowers. So my morning doubts disintegrated, and I recognised the vital importance of place.