I stand by the fountain, leaned against the elevator, watching kids toss pennies into the water, pausing every so often to crane their necks upward to marvel at the jets of water that shoot high above their heads. This is the Eaton Centre, the largest mall in Toronto, the day after Boxing Day, which means the mall is still overflowing with people looking for bargains. A woman walks by, weighed down by her spoils, that crash against other people as she wades through the crowd. Many, if not most, people in Toronto probably don’t celebrate Christmas; everyone, though, celebrates a day, now an entire week, devoted to hunting down a good deal.
People around me balance smartphones and shopping bags in their hands, standing still, killing time. Others are more adventurous as they walk around, their eyes only breaking focus on their phones to narrowly avoid collision. Briefly lamenting separation from my own phone, my mind drifts away towards recent events of the holidays: a high school pseudo-reunion; cooking Christmas dinner; a rum cake bake-off. These thoughts flutter away as quickly as they materialize, ever changing as I observe my surroundings. In a world of constant information bombardment, spending some quality time with my own thoughts is my new favourite past time.
There’s a certain serenity in this moment; worries about responsibilities and obligations melt away as I am singularly focused on anticipation, nothing else.
A young woman emerges out of the crowd and approaches me.
“Hey! Sorry to keep you waiting!”
“No problem,” I respond, “no better time spent than waiting on a pretty girl.”