know the interior decorating rules for airports:
colour. Stick to gray and black. White allowed where grubby fingers can’t reach
soft surfaces. Stick to tile and metal.
electronic advertisements for luxury goods, in the best of taste.
can you say in favour of airport décor? It’s impeccable. This is minimalism at
its grandest. Wait. Can you use “minimalism” and “grand” in the same sentence?
possible objections could you have to airport decor? It’s soulless. People seem sadly out of
place, messing up the clean outlines. This is the home of robots.
do you compensate for the cold esthetics? With soulful sound effects. You ride in the sleek, gray, silent shuttle
between terminals and suddenly there it is, coming at you over the PA system:
the clanging of cow bells, a contented moo, canned yodeling. No, I’m not making
come to think of it: Why not the sound of cuckoo clocks?
First experience: The other day I
bought placemats at Bed Bath & Beyond. The price on the tag was $ 2.99. When I
checked my bill I discovered that I'd been charged $ 4.99. I brought this to
the attention of the woman at the customer service desk. Without blinking an
eye, she told me that the $ 2.99 were American Dollars.
Hello? I said. The last time I checked, Toronto was in
Canada. I expect the price to be in Canadian Dollars. She conceded my point
after some back and forth and refunded the difference.
what exchange rate are these people using?
Second experience: The next day I bought
an eyeliner at Shoppers Drug Mart. After getting over my sticker shock – the advertised
price was $ 33 -- I found that the cashier had billed me $ 40. I pointed out
the price difference. She didn’t give me any argument but very sternly declared:
I will change the price for you this time.
Meaning, she will overcharge me again next time?
thanks for the favour!
Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room.
novel, first published in 1956, has been reissued in 2013, establishing Baldwin’s
place among the genuinely indispensable
American writers (Saturday Post). Here are some memorable passages from the
young American travels to Paris, trying to find himself, as we say in America. This is an interesting phrase, not current as far
as I know in the language of any other people.
is he losing himself in Paris? Perhaps
everybody has a garden of Eden, I don’t know; but they have scarcely seen their
garden before they see the flaming sword. Then, perhaps, life only offers the
choice of remembering the garden or forgetting it.
falls in love with Giovanni.I did not
dare to mention Hella. I could not even pretend to myself that I was sorry she
was in Spain. I was glad. I was utterly, hopelessly, horribly glad. I knew I
could do nothing whatever to stop the ferocious excitement which had burst in
me like a storm. I could only drink, in the faint hope that the storm might
thus spend itself without doing any more damage to my land.
moves in with Giovanni. Our life
together held a joy and amazement which was newborn every day. Beneath the joy,
of course, was anguish and beneath the amazement was fear…anguish and fear became
the surface on which we slipped and slid, losing balance, dignity, and pride.
when Hella returns to Paris, he took her
in his arms and something happened then. I held her very close in that high,
dark train station, with a great confusion of people all about us, jut beside
the breathing train. She smelled of the wind and the sea and of space and I
felt in her marvelously living body the possibility of legitimate surrender.