Friday, September 08, 2006

reading in

The day started off on a bad note. I didn't fall asleep the night before until 4AM and my alarm went off at 6AM. After getting in and out of bed, reading, watching tv, writing, reading, punching myself in the head, and watching more tv, I resorted to trying a variety of these annoying little exercises. The last thing I recall was wiggling my toes up and down, twelve times. I'll stop short of saying it did the trick, but coincidence or not, I slept.

My boss met me at my house in the morning to exchange paperwork - never something I look forward to in starting my day, but this one was particularly bad because she was on the warpath and I was conveniently located. The drama lasted through the day, involving myself and a couple of other colleagues and a series of crazy emails and phonecalls from the boss. When the day was finally over I left to go for dinner with a few friends from work. The four of us left the restaurant walking north. Two of the girls turned off at College and I walked the rest of the way toward Bloor Street with the other girl. We watched people as we debriefed.

"The thing is, she was just LOOKING for something today. I could see it coming from a- girl or guy?", I asked, just in time for her to catch a glimpse of a very tall person with a great body but a masculine face in a sexy dress and heals coming our way.

"Guy, for sure."

It's the adam's apple that always gives it away.

"Yeah, but implants or stuffing?"

"I don't know..."

"Hard to tell..."

"Anyway, I just knew it the second I saw her face this morning."

"Yeah."

"And I actually...Wow!"

"Is she wearing a plant green velour romper?"

"Yes. Yes she is."

This continued on for several blocks at which point my friend said goodbye and was waiting to cross the street. I stood with her and waited for a break in the traffic. We were facing the church of scientology, a building I've seen a million times, but until now had never actually looked beyond the sign at the building itself. It was quite tall. Many of the windows were cranked open, some with billowing dreary curtains, others bare. My friend crossed the street and I was about to continue on to the subway when I heard the voice of a man with a thick Indian accent."

"What is going on here?"

I turned around to find a small balding man, holding a tim horton's coffee cup, looking at me with pale green eyes. I looked back with a raised eyebrow, waiting.

"May I ask you, what exactly are you looking at?", he asked. Taking a step back and shading his eyes from the sun, he joined me in looking up."

"The building. I'm just noticing all the windows are open", I told him, trying to keep it short with the hopes he'd move on.

"No, no. It's not that. There are no coincidences. You must be looking at this building at this very moment for a reason."

My heart picked up for a split second, but then I figured there's probably just something wrong with him. Dementia? Mental illness? I exhaled and turned to leave.

"Ok, ok. Just wait a minute", the man pleaded one hand outstretched.

"Sorry, I have to go."

"No, no, just wait one minute please!", he pleaded. "Sometimes it is warm outside and people with no air conditiong need...what do you call this... air...air...?", he made a circular motion with his left hand.

"Exchange?"

"Yes! Air exchange. Come on - let's sit down and talk about this-" He gestured to a bench.

Now I was sure he was crazy, which was at once a relief and a dissapointment.

"I have to go. My boyfriend is waiting for me", I lied - not exactly sure why.

He became more insistent, emphasizing each syllable with a hand in the air, "No, no! Just a minute."

"Bye", I said turning and walking away.

"No! just a minute!", I heard him call after me.

A man walking in front of me stopped and turned back to see what was going on. I didn't look back. I just kept walking at an even pace.

When I got home I absently scanned through blogs the way I pick at my cuticles. I found a new one by following a comment on a site I read regularly. I looked through the profile and the photos, the order of which were all mixed up - tourist pics of hollywood interspersed with old childhood photos, pictures of a woman with staples in her skull, clearly recovering from some kind of brain surgery, more hollywood etc... It was too much. I bookmarked it so that I could give it a fair chance another day when I didn't feel so overstimulated, responsible, worn out. Besides, no matter how attentive I am, it's all going to come to an end, we're all going to die someday, and we're all going to be happy sometimes and sad others. Nothing I do or do not do will change any of these fundamental facts of life.

And that's just it - no hidden message is going to spare us, so why do I keep looking?

3 comments:

Lx said...

shoulda listened to that man, though. shoulda given him more time. next time i'm up in toronto, and we're walking together down that street, i will MAKE you stop and go into the air-exchange and we will both listen.
deal?

ChapFu said...

definitely stop looking.

Rachel said...

LX, YOU think I should keep looking and Chap says no?