Written after a maddeningly long period of reflection.

We were in Ottawa this weekend, for the Canada Day celebrations. Spent the weekend cruising the museums, parks and other sights that make the capital region just so damned special. Andrea and I decided once again that once we're settled, we're moving up there.

This year, the week before the holiday weekend co-incided with the G8 Summit out in Alberta. Due to the government's crafty wisdom, they held the summit in an area completely surrounded by absolutely nothing, limiting the possibility of violent protest. Maybe not the most democratic move, but clever nonetheless. So, the protesters focused on the capital (Ottawa, for those of you not paying attention), waving their banners and chanting their slogans, etc. By the time we made it to the region Saturday, however, most had wrapped up their larger scale protests, and had decided on staying in the area to celebrate what is arguably the best country on the planet.

Andrea and I were strolling the streets around noon just east of the parliament buildings. The heat was extreme - a heat wave has descended onto most of Ontario, giving us temperatures exceeding 36 degrees Celsius, and with the humidity, it feels more like 43 or 44 degrees (hence the more than frequent visits to museums with AC!). Andrea decides that she needs more cash, so we duck into a CIBC building to raid the automatic teller.

Inside: an assortment of tourists. Three elderly women were trying to figure out just what exactly a PIN was, and how they should enter it into the little slot marked deposits. Impatiently waiting behind them was a woman with her young daughter (probably 9 years old, blonde with ribbons) who obviously was disliking the crowds only slightly less than she was disliking the heat. A man, slightly overweight, fanned himself with a guide from the adjacent Museum of Contemporary Photography. Two teenaged girls were also in line, adjusting their skin-tight clothing and fawning over a "People Teen" magazine, giggling about the "How to Kiss" article. Then, the addition of Andrea and I completed the small room.

Enter: a dark-skinned man (probably about 30 years of age), wearing ripped jeans, dirty white T-shirt sporting the tour dates of an unknown band, sporting the most ragged set of dreads I've ever come across. The three elderly women had just given up on trying to produce cash from the futuristic machines, and the impatient woman, with her daughter, and the man with the guide moved up to the two available machines. Behind them came the man with the dreads.

He immediately approached the woman and her daughter and stood behind them, off to the right, about 2 feet away.

Now, ATM etiquette states that you must give enough room to the person infront of you so as to ensure you don't happen to glance at any of their particulars. Also, you need to follow the simple procedure of queuing up for a chance to use the machines. This man had done neither. He instead stood behind the woman, and peered over the little girl's shoulder with a great, white smile.

The woman, rather horrified by the experience being presented to her, said "Excuse me?" as if it mattered, and then with a growing air of both anger and fear, stammered "Get, get away! Go! Get away you n-". She stopped on the last word, glancing down for a split second at her daughter, looking with wide eyes at the "nigger" smiling down at her.

The man, now taking three steps back, was only mere inches from Andrea and I. He then contorted his body and changed the entire weekend for me.

He had one hand covering his eye, another behind his back, and (I swear) it seemed a third pointed at the woman with the daughter and the (cut-off) racial slur. He leaned both backwards and forward, all the time with the smile on his face. His feet turned inward, back on his heels, outward... seemingly all at once. He was turned, straight. His one free eye was pointed up at the security camera. All without moving once his pose was struck.

He struck an impossible pose. For the last 2 days I've been trying to imagine the pose over and over in my mind, and I can't figure it out. It's as if he grew an extra arm, dislocated his legs, stretched into another room. I actually called the bank this morning, to see what their policy on allowing customers to review their security tapes (they politely said "Say what again?"). I feel I need to see it again, to see how he pulled it all off.

The woman hurriedly grabbed her cash and escorted her daughter out of the building. The slightly overweight man finished his transaction and stood waiting for the black man to move. Andrea and I stood in the same frozen state, waiting for what was to come next.

The man with the dreads pulled himself to a standing state, smiled at Andrea and I with a slight bow of the head, and skipped out of the room. The whole stunt took perhaps a dozen seconds.

Andrea summed it up as just another protester, probably making a statement about the bank's corporate greed, or the treatment of black people by silly white women with young daughters. "Everyone has to have a statement; why can't they just enjoy Canada Day like the normal people do?"

After witnessing an impossible pose with a smile, I think I'd enjoy my Canada Day just fine, thank you. We definately need to move there when we're able to!