February 15th, 2004
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the cage

I have spent most of the weekend in the city once again. Participating in a workshop on breathing, dinner with a friend, and taking in a show. This morning at 10:45am I was walking through the bus terminal, waiting to board a bus to Flesherton. In the middle of this busy place I noticed a small fenced off area. Inside this area was a 3ft by 2ft cage. Not surprisingly, my curiousity was instantly peaked. The cage contained a metal bowl, a plastic container (holding water), and several broken bits of what looked like bread. What kind of animal are they intending to catch? Was is for pigeons? I seem to recall seeing pigeons fly aimlessly about various high ceilinged buildings, are they trapped? I stood for a time pondering, and secretly wanting to see some animal waddle up, ready for dinner.
I wander over to the nearby cafe, and grab a bottle of juice for my trip. The following conversation transpired.
me: (pointing) What is the cage for? Pigeons maybe?
cashier: (matter of factly) Oh, The ghost.
me: The ghost?
cashier: Yes, there is a ghost that haunts the place. They put food in there, then they gonna capture it and take it out of the building.
me: (smiling) What do ghosts like to eat?
cashier: (smiling) I don’t know.
me: (looking at the empty cage) No luck yet, eh?
cashier: (shaking his head) No.
me: Maybe they should try lobster, if I was a ghost I would eat lobster.
cashier: (laughing) Yes, that might work.
me: Is that a religious thing?
cashier: I think so.
I paid for my juice and sat down to wait for my bus. I was reminded of one of my favourite Tori Amos songs called “Happy Phantom”, which starts “And if I die today I’ll be the Happy Phantom”. She talks about all of the things she would do and places she would haunt if she were a ghost. These include, chasing nuns out in the yard, going to the opera for free, running naked through the streets. I’ve often contemplated my own “places of haunting” list. There are the typical and romantic haunts, old churches, creepy victorian houses, graveyards (where famous writers are buried), and an enchanted garden. And then there are the more exciting venues, the Louvre in Paris, Charleston House (where Virginia Woolf hung out with the Bloomsbury Group), an ancient library in England full of all of the great works literature, or maybe a famous artist’s painting studio. I spose it may not be up to us, but it’s fun to contemplate. I must say, the Toronto Bus Station would definitely not be one of my picks. Is it possible that the ghost is indecisive on his/her destination? Maybe they figure a bus station provides unlimited access to various places accross Canada? Or maybe, like me they just like people watching?
Yes, that must be it.
“Every day we’re getting closer
The sun is getting dim
Will we pay for who we been?”

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