I love you, Osborne Village, but you’re bringing me down.
You weren’t always like this. I remember summer as a teenager, wandering through your main drag, with no job and nothing to do, and you were there for me. In the winter, your pubs and cafés were havens where I could warm up and spend a few hours with close friends, good food and great drinks. There wasn’t much drama and you were my second home, where I felt safe.
I remember breaking up with my first real girlfriend, sitting in the dark of one of your alleyways. I waited for her to leave and when she did, I got up and chain-smoked my way through your heart. I got back to the Toad just in time to see the end of the Waking Eyes show I had been at, playing beside the dartboard while the Cavern was flooded. I had to stand on a chair because there was no room anywhere in the bar. Everyone was sweating buckets and having a good time. And then they played that old Whitesnake favourite, “Here I Go Again.” It was cheesy and perfect and I made it through the night.
When I actually moved here a couple years ago, you were still as beautiful as ever and with me through countless nights I’ll never forget, even though some I would like to. Closing down Carlos & Murphy’s. Walking along the river. Watching happy couples woozily stroll by on a Friday night at the circle. Hanging out with friends on a sun porch or a fire escape until the sun came up. These are thousands of memories that will always stay with me.
Now you seem tired and lost, almost empty. And I know it’s not your fault. Those places are still here, and the food and the drinks and the people are still great. But I stay awake on countless nights, listening to sirens or the disembodied voices of couples and drunks screaming at each other outside my window. I know it hurts you, too. I attribute this recent rash of assaults and crime to interlopers. We, as residents, are not the ones out on your streets at night, breaking you down with stabbings and smashed windows and fights. Those who make the decision to come down here looking for trouble, get blackout drunk and ruin everyone’s night are the problem.
I don’t know where they all come from – whether teenagers from the suburbs, bros from the clubs on their last stop of the night, or something else – but we are all hoping they grow up. We are the ones who live here with you, all day, every day. We’re not here with fake IDs to get as wasted as we can and pretend we’re adults. We’re not looking for someone to punch in the face. We don’t relish waking up to garbage-strewn, bloodstained streets. We’re not the problem, and right now, we’re not really sure how to fix it. We’re the ones who love you, and miss what you used to be. We’re the community that makes you great. And we’re all willing to stick with you until times get a little less dark. We just hope that that time comes soon.