excuse me, miss?

Clean-cut, in his early 20s, the man was trying to get my attention as I walked down Jasper Avenue. I paused -- nearly a decade living in the country's big cities, and I still have that small-town girl pause in my step when someone seems to need my help. Back in Ottawa, I could never hold on to change longer than five minutes when I walked down Elgin or Bank.

"Do you like to read?" he asked.

Pausing doesn't mean I'm friendly. "Mm-hmm," I managed shortly, ready to continue on down Jasper Avenue. If he were about to ask for change, this was a better beginning than the guy who asks me every Sunday how far he is from Whitemud Drive (always about 50 blocks north or east).

"Then please check this out," he said, handing me a business card before continuing on his way.

I did check out his website -- www.teace.ca

Can't say I'm overly impressed by the prose, but you have to respect a guy who's trying so hard to make it as a writer he's walking down Edmonton's streets pimping his website. Because for all the wonderful things to appreciate about this boom city, panhandlers, solicitors and Scientologists/Mormons who stop people on the street are generally given a chilly response.

But I do find it fascinating that a guy who opens with, "Do you like to read?" makes clear in his profile that he actually doesn't. And I have a feeling a really good writer is probably a good reader, too....

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