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So Banal It’s Profound

I’ve read the Facts and Arguments page in the Globe and Mail steadfastly for years. Truthfully, some days it’s the only page I read; I thumb past the political hoopla more quickly than I should and head straight to the back of the Life section. (The Saturday Arts section is also divine and renders me weak in the knees, but on weekdays I have to satisfy myself with the essay.)

On the Facts page they showcase an essay submitted by random Canadians, and run a clever illustration alongside. Often they are lighthearted musings, occasionally poignant, and sometimes delightfully funny. There’s enough space for the writer to delve into the heart of the matter, and dissect it accordingly.

In retrospect, I should have given more thought about my topic, which unfortunately is my love/hate relationship with the mall, but I’m seeking solace in the fact that Adam Gopnik‘s topic for the upcoming Massey Lectures is simply winter. And he’s speaking for a whole week on that one.

When someone asked Gopnik “why winter?”,  he replied he was waiting for a bus on a cold day in NYC when he received the offer to give the lectures, and he decided then and there to talk about winter. Right then and there! Shouldn’t he have perhaps consulted Margaret Atwood or Douglas Coupland? Or at the very least Googled “top ten interesting topics for scholarly discussion”? Past topics of Massey Lectures have included The Unconscious Civilization and Globalism and the Nation State. Winter is so simple it’s profound, perhaps.

(In any case, it works for me: winter holds more appeal for my simple mind, I refer you to my  aversion to politics.)

Not to draw similarities between myself and Gopnik, because surely there are none besides sharing a few letters in our names and a country of birth, but I stumbled across my topic in a similar fashion. My daughter had asked me for the umpteenth time that week to take her to the mall, when I felt the bile rising in the back of my throat at the thought entering its revolving doors. Instead of taking this frustration out on her I very maturely picked up my laptop and wrote about them. Then for some god-forsaken reason I emailed it to the Globe, and the rest, as they say, is in today’s broadsheet.

Click here to link to the article, and keep in mind I was using the mall as a metaphor for suburbia itself, of course.

  1. Ellie
    October 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Dee, i think it’s great – a) that you wrote it, submitted it and it was published! and b) because it’s so relatable – either the teen years of hanging and browsing and/or to the new mommy years of “it’s too cold to go outside and i HAVE to tire this kid out!” bravo! e

    • October 14, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      Thanks again El, and thank GOD my workouts now incorporate fresh air and free hands!

  2. October 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I can’t wait to read it, Dee! I’m so happy for you. You deserve the larger audience this essay should provide.

    (By the way, I’m a huge Margaret Atwood fan.)


    • October 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks so much Kathy – and aren’t we all fans of our great wing woman? The Edible Woman is still my Atwood favorite, however.

  3. October 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Wow, Dee, what a great essay–and the perfect metaphor. Sara and I NEVER go to the mall, but I remember when we were living in Haiti and our outing to the grocerystore was the highlight of our week–seeing what was available that reminded us of home—chocloate chips or Hershey’s Kiss–comfort foods we could actually consume–digest–be nourshed by.
    You should be proud, my friend. I’m actually impressed!

    • October 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks again, Kathy. Now I’m hungry for chocolate chip cookies…

  4. October 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Great essay- I felt the same way about the mall when I was unemployed for four months this summer… you can always think of a reason to go!

    • October 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      I have officially adapted minimalism in an effort to stop going there. Now if I can only get my kids to do the same and also stop growing…

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