Friday, August 17, 2007

At the Café

The end table is large enough for four people, plain, but my eyes are drawn to the edge that has come unglued. It makes the table unsightly. I sit there anyway and place my things on its surface. I keep staring at the unruly edge. I am almost ashamed of it - a table that no longer looks good.

Is that what happens to people? We no longer fit the “norm” – the accepted standards our society has imposed. We get older, our appearance changes, and we become undesirable.

The table is solid, it supports all my stuff. Why do I care about its appearance? My friend is coming and I know she will notice the detached metal edge. I want everything to look perfect but life is not like that. What sticks out gets our attention.

We all want to create a good impression. Yet what we admire about others usually goes much deeper than the way they look.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What the Flowers Say

Before my neighbour goes on vacation, she asks me to look after her plants and garden. The weather turns hot and humid after she leaves. I dutifully find her hose and watering can.

Stepping into her gazebo is like entering an enchanted world. A profusion of flowering plants surrounds the table, dizzying in their colours and fragrances. As I water the marigolds and geraniums, I stop to remove dead blossoms. Then I approach the violets cascading down from a hanging pot. Marvelling at their unmarred beauty, I reach up to pour copious amounts of water into the container. With a sense of reverence I touch one of the mauve and white petals. Synthetic! I have just watered an artificial plant.

What is the moral of this story? When something looks too good to be true, it usually is.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Here Comes the Bus

As I wait for the bus, I notice that the missing glass panel in the shelter has finally been replaced. It's clearer than the other panels and very clean. I realize that in winter it will be warmer in here without an icy wind blowing through. But right now it is stiflingly hot.

I step outside to stand beneath the shade of a maple tree. In the distance I see the bus slowly winding its way towards me. I don't mind using public transit. It gives me time to think and I don't have to stress over paying and maintaining a car.

The new glass panel gives my spirits a lift. Someone has taken the time to replace it and that gives me a feeling of being cared for. These days I appreciate the good things in my life.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Look Twice

Passing through the mall, I stare at the display in a women's fashion boutique. My eyes barely register the slinky evening wear or the tight sweaters over impossibly high, tiny breasts. It's the mannequins themselves. Headless again!

Marketers must believe this allows different women to imagine themselves in those skimpy clothes regardless of their actual size. What I see are thin replicas of female bodies without brains - unable to decide anything for themselves, too mindless to even know they are being gawked at. Scores of people pass the display, unperturbed by what they see.

I find that I must walk away. If I glance at the mannequins any longer, I will start to question their missing hands and feet.