Today when Fern came home I spoke out loud to the room "Oh hello Fern! How was your ride on the T.T.C subway or better known as the Toronto Transit Commission? I felt myself smiling feeling a bit like Sherlock Holmes. I had typed T.T.C into my antiquated computer and discovered that my Fern lived an hour in my future. She lives in Toronto where it is 7pm to my 6pm in Saskatchewan.
After speaking out loud to her I felt a bit silly talking to a girl hundreds of kilometers away who has no idea I even exist. It is funny and a bit sad because she has become almost a friend to me now. I look forward to seeing her and I have not watched another channel in days.
|510 Spadina Streetcar|
Today as I was eating Fern came in and I said "Oh hello Fern you won't believe what I saw flying..." and then I stopped and sat up almost spilling my dinner. Behind Fern walked a man. She awkwardly opened her mail slot, peered inside its empty space and then closed it. I could see her hesitate, looking down to her letters on the table. I found myself murmuring "go on get your mail Fern.." but she just looked on them. A moment later she turned, and after having seemed to come to a decision, left the lobby without picking up her mail. The man followed behind and suddenly tickled her. She squirmed and said something with a smile which I couldn't quite make out, then they were past the security camera and gone to her apartment.
I watched the empty lobby for a while. I was surprised to find my heart racing and feeling a bit hurt. Perhaps he is her brother I explained to the empty room. I watched the lobby channel well past midnight then turned it off. The man did not leave.
My sleep was restless like the wheat gently moving to the night breezes outside my home.
|Subway platform oil painting|
Over the next few letters we see the man become more attached to Fern. She fills a space in his secluded quiet life which he spends so close to nature. She is also a mystery to him and both mystery and challenge are powerful allures. He finds a clue as to where she lives.
If you were to be interested in a boy or girl you see regularly in the local coffee shop would you look for clues about their life and where they lived? No most wouldn't as it's a bit creepy. But this particular scenario of her at a distance, the unlikeliness of them ever meeting and, strangely, the voyeuristic nature allows him to project or imagine her as being a quiet nice girl, but also it dehumanizes her in such a way that he feels comfortable treating her differently than he might a person in "real" life. For one thing TV or reality tv has shown us is that those who appear on a screen are held in a different category than those around us. It is a one way mirror where we can watch them but they can not see us. Perhaps without two way interaction common etiquette fades. People say to me sometimes when they discover that residents buy couches and houses and things in this virtual world. They say "But these products don't exist? they spend real money on these things?" And I say... well naturally. When you and millions of others buy and read a book such as Harry Potter you are aware that wizards don't exist. You understand that the red haired guy and the girl didn't really fall in love but rather it is all make believe. An escape perhaps. If you pay to go to a music concert and stay until the final note fades into nothing, then what do you have after that? You don't have a possession but you have a memory. Our consumerist society needs us to appreciate the possession almost more than the memory. It is essential for the economy. The man in this story has something precious to him in Fern, in knowing she will be there at the end of his lonely day, something others may not understand but she is, to him, a missing piece or a surrogate friend.