a little broom with a message

Yesterday I get off the subway downtown and as I’m climbing the stairs to the street I see a lady, attractive, in her forties or so, leaning over a wall above and watching the people come up the stairs.  She’s got short purple hair and black clothing that suggests she works in a vintage clothing or music store.  But then I notice she’s hollering things incomprehensible at various people and I think maybe she doesn’t work in a store after all.  She’s gesturing with her arms while holding a small, child-sized broom.

I head off down the street to my bank three or four blocks away.  When I get there I’m kind of glad for the excuse to wait in line and cool off as the day is close and humid and the sun really hot.

Suddenly, in the door walks the lady with the purple hair, sweeping the way in front of her with her little broom.  “Oh!” she purrs as she drapes herself across a counter, “it’s SOoo hot!”  She sighs some great dramatic sighs, but none of the people working there seem to notice her.

She then starts to search amongst the brochures and papers on the counter and finds herself a pen.  And with more dramatic flourish, she bends over and holds the broom upright and starts to write something on the handle near the tip.  There is intention in her pose – she is performing an act for the purpose of being watched.  It takes her well over a minute to write on the broom’s tip, but from where I stand the message doesn’t look to cover more than an inch of space. 

Then she leaves the broom propped up against the wall and leaves.

I get on with my business and then preoccupied with the few more things I need to accomplish before I go home I leave too, forgetting about the broom.  Until I get back to the subway entrance where I originally saw her.

As I wait for the train I wonder what would become of the broom with the purple haired lady’s communiqué.  I wonder if she’ll come back to get it.  Maybe she was hoping someone would write a message on it in return.  Maybe she was offering it as a gift, watching outside and hoping she see someone leave with it.  Maybe the message was for me, since I was only person in the place who seemed to notice her.  I feel a little regret for not stopping to at least take a picture of the thing.

I'd like to think the message on the little broom reached someone.


  1. Reply
    Cathy September 2, 2010

    I think she was saying, “Jen, take this broom over to your sister’s house cos it needs some attention, and she would like to lay on the couch awhile, while you clean it!” Maybe? 🙂

  2. Reply
    Jennifer September 2, 2010

    hahahaha – or maybe she was telling me to get on home and clean up my own tip of a place!

  3. Reply
    Susannah September 2, 2010

    Nice story, very intriguing too, I wonder what she wrote.
    Maybe the message was for others to do as you said she was doing ‘sweeping the way in front of her with her little broom’ I think we could all do with a little broom for that sometimes. 🙂

  4. Reply
    Jennifer September 2, 2010

    Yes – I get caught up in the little mysteries, and I like your symbolic image of sweeping away the ‘crap.’

  5. Reply
    sherrill_tucker@yahoo.ca September 2, 2010

    Man, I wish you’d have gotten that broom and taken a ride over to the beaches to visit me… LOL

  6. Reply
    Jennifer September 2, 2010

    Ah, but NEVER hop on another witch’s broom! I’ll stick to the red rocket!

  7. Reply
    Marilyn September 3, 2010

    I wonder what her message was, what all of her actions were a symbol of …may she just plain over heated and knew not what she was doing 😉

  8. Reply
    Carol September 3, 2010

    I love reading these wee snippets! I wonder what she wrote and for whom. Hehehe, I do love your idea of someone writing something back to her
    I miss seeing those kind of random things…dont get them in the small village I live in! When I was in London there used to be a rather strange lady who was seriously into green (she was known locally as Mad Mary) and it wasn’t unusual to see her having a very animated conversation with a hedge! I always liked to think that there was someone hiding in there and she wore green so that she would blend with the hedge 😉
    C x

  9. Reply
    Jennifer September 3, 2010

    Ha, you may be quite right Marilyn!

  10. Reply
    Jennifer September 3, 2010

    Thanks for sharing Mad Mary Carol – I would have certainly written about her. I have always been really taken with the idea that mentally ill street people have something to say and no one to say it too – we’re all too afraid (often rightfully) or unconcerned to listen to them. I suppose that’s where my last line came from – I hope someone got her message, that she wasn’t putting it out there for naught.

  11. Reply
    lisahgolden September 4, 2010

    I was just thinking how this makes me miss living in a more populated area, too. Or maybe I should get out more so I can see the local color here. I’m sure it exists!
    It’s like a little gift of imagination the purple haired woman gave you.

  12. Reply
    Jennifer September 4, 2010

    I bet for sure it exists Lisa! And agree about the little gift to fire imagination. 🙂

  13. Reply
    Selma September 4, 2010

    Maybe she wasn’t as charming as she appeared. She might have been a witch putting a spell on everyone who touched the broom after her. You didn’t touch that broom did you, Jen? Yikes!

  14. Reply
    donna demarse September 5, 2010

    Hmm…I may never know what comes after eye of newt. Drats!!!

  15. Reply
    Jennifer September 5, 2010

    You’re right! Maybe I should be counting my lucky stars I forgot about that broom!

  16. Reply
    Jennifer September 5, 2010

    hahahahaha Donna, that message was for YOU! I should have known it!

  17. Reply
    Tricia September 8, 2010

    I’m betting she was a good witch.
    Goofy, but good

  18. Reply
    Jennifer September 8, 2010

    She had an air of good intentions about her… even with the yelling at the people emerging from the station!

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