Better than Email

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Is there anything better than getting a love letter in the mail? I thought those days were gone, but I'm happy to realize that a certain mock antediluvian still adheres to the love letter rule. He sent me the most wonderful letter a girl can get... the type even Helen Fielding couldn't concoct in all her Pottery Barn Harlequin style. What did it say? I'm not telling. Somethings are better kept out of the electronic main vein.

But all this Pollyanna jabbering I have to keep in mind when I ride the bus this morning on my way to work. The bus takes me to the hinterlands of suburbia, where people have magically inbred to be completely uninterested in anything except x-large coke bottles and dollar-store mall mania. I asked somebody, during my lunch break, where the bookstore is in this giant mall. He looks at me blankly and says, there's no Chapters here. Crap... when did all bookstores become Chapters?

Then, out of desperation, I plowed into the Zellers, where I spent half a minute considering a very cheap white particle board shelving unit. It seemed so incredible that people actually buy these things, and yet, I know, if I close my eyes for two seconds, that shelving unit could show up at my doorsteps.

It's not a far step between the violent mad ones who stay on their island of lunacy, and the mainlanders with their particle board shelves.

I walk back, and, being informed that I shouldn't come back to work when I still have 10 minutes left on my lunch break, I decide to hang out in a very narrow corridor. The corridor is a beigish colour, with grey carpet. The carpet displays some navy and red square pattern on a grey background. Cap-heading this dead-end narrow corridor is a giant white planter, sporting two knobby-knee-ed palm trees. Just beyond their crone-ish knuckles is a view of the outside. The view is simple and elegant. A giant expanse of gravel and hulking decomposing metal heads, dripping water. The air-conditioning units are trickling water, and this collects in unhealthy pools in the blazing sun... steaming... The steam rises up, caressing the minimalist glazed mirror windows of the bank building directly in front. And there is nothing else in sight... building front and centre, grey blue skies all around. It's so beautiful I almost cry.

I go back to the boardroom, and finding no suitable reading material, pull out my notebook and write the first sentences I've written in there for ages. In between the phone numbers, addresses, to-do lists, is suddenly something so crystal and forced from out of me, like through my nostrils and out my ears. It's actually not depressing.

And then on the bus going home, I see a sign telling me to donate $50 so that a family of africans can buy a sheep and support their family. It's this same $50 logic that makes sweatshops possible. The loop seems so complete I am shocked. Then I turn because I realize two rastafarians are staring at me... I'm chewing on my knuckles, wide-eyed.