2001-09-06 17:54:53 (UTC)

Discounted, 1994 Montreal

Among the bargains on the table in the back, stood the
sign verifying an assortment of leftovers; unwanted,
damaged, discountinued, and for all general purposes,
discounted items. I find these tables everywhere; in
bookstores, music stores, hardware stores, second-chance
stores, either conspicuously placed for impulse shopping or
hidden away, to be forgotten until some penny-minded
shopper discovers the treasure with a gleaming eye and
content, greedy chuckle.
The rest, though must go somewhere, doesn't it? I
mean, if it doesn't eventually sell, after collecting dust,
greasy fingerprints, tattered edges, and damage from time
and even more discounts, it surely must go somewhere, if
for nothing else, than to be given away, I carefully
considerred in hopes of convincing myself while I rummaged
through just such a table in the back of a cold nick-nack
second hand shop during a Christmas holiday morning.
My boyfriend Larry, stood by bored, shuffling around
in his long heavy cashmere-wool overcoat trying to warm up
while the heating system gurgled to life. We were passing
by just as the sales girl turned the sign around on the
frosty glass door to announce 'OPEN', and we dodged in
hoping to find a warm spot for just a moment from the icy
northern morning. Snow sat scooped into frozen piles along
the sidewalks like makeshift graves and stuck frozenly to
our shoes as we stamped our way inside on the welcome mat
of the little shop.
I could almost see her vaporous words form as she
explained that it would be a little while before the heat
came on and warmed anything up, but that "we were welcome
to shop around."
I could here the old boiler heating system chugging
and belching, yawning awake to another day of work as I
began thrifting. We did'nt mind though, as it was still
warmer inside than the windy, frosty, snow filled street of
St. Dennis. And besides, the bright sunshine shone
through the large glass window panes illuminating discount
paradise, while the bulldozers plowed the snow outside.
Curiously, I pilfered among the disocunted items,
pausing here and there with mild interest without really
understanding what I was to learn so many years later about
real disounts.
"You're not gonna buy that are you? The envelope is
filthy," exclaimed Larry, still staring with a disdained
look as I slid up to the only check out register. True, I
had noticed, shooting him an "I'm not blind" look, but I
liked the card. I could always get a new envelope, and for
fifty american cents, he did'nt bother arguing with me this
time as I paid up and we braced ourselves, gloved and
scarved, for the rest of our morning walk, in search of
cappuccino and a real Canadian breakfast.
That was in 1994, when we were both alive and very
much in love. Oddly enough, through a strange twist of
fate, I still have that card, the same card I paid fifty
cents for and later gave to him, and which still reminds
me of discounted items, and how easily or not, they are
exchanged for money, or love, or sometimes selflessly
without thought, and at other times with deliberate
intentions, nontheless, still nothing more than a discount.