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© 1998-2009 Edward Bilodeau

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The Rules

This morning on the way into work, I passed by a middle-aged asian man wearing a sign around his neck. In bold, white letters was written, "MENTAL PROBLEM".

That should have been all the warning I needed.

The transaction at the coffee counter was confusing. I'm familiar enough with the protocol that I can usually buy a cup of coffee with my headphones on. Not this morning. Slightly shaken, I grabbed by coffee and went over to the prep area.

Once I was done there, I turned to leave, some moron with a backpack decided that the regular laws of physics did not apply, that in fact his backpack and my coffee could in effect occupy the same space.

My attention-contents-hot coffee splashed up through the lid of my cup, over my jacket, bag, and hand. The man turned and looked at me... then placed his coffee order. I let out a sign, dropped my bag, took out my hankerchief, and proceeded to wipe coffee off my person.

Another man who was standing next to me at the prep counter looked over sympathetically.

"La journée commence bien...", I muttered.

"Lundi..." he said with a small smile.

"T'as raison..".

"Bonne journée, quand meme..." he said, and left.

I walked outside, cool air, grey, rain... took a deep breath...

Legs scream at bikes and bikes scream at trucks
And motorists curse their lousy luck
Crossing Guard's not doing his job
And traffic's not about to stop for the first casualty of thought

Walking down, St. Catherines, I turn onto University, only to almost be run over by a guy with a snowblower. He gives me a look like, "Yeah, I know...".

A bit further along. my music is drowned out by machinery on the back of an 18-wheeled septic truck, a long, black tube sucking who-knows-what out of the Eaton centre.

Salesman said this vacuum's guaranteed
It could suck an ancient virus from the sea
It could put the dog out of a job
Could make traffic stop so little thoughts
Can safely get across

Standing on the corner, waiting for the light to change, the metro and home beckons to me.

(Lyrics from The Rules, on Phantom Power, by The Tragically Hip)