A note from the underground

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October 23, 2011
Adam Klassen |

I can understand how the underground can inspire a song. Or this Winnipeg underground at least. Suites attempt to pass by the filthy without brushing them with their delicate fabrics. Most walking through have the air of those who do so everyday, there are few tourists or casual underground dwellers. They have become oblivious to the charm the place may posses, as is like to happen when we are confronted with anything for long enough. It doesn't so much loose it's meaning as it's meaning changes to something largely unnoticed.

As I wandered I realized there are a handful or restaurants I have never heard of down here. The sort I remember seeing more of in larger cities, built to serve quick sandwiches and salty soups to rushed business people. The menus are relatively cheap, but the restaurants seem to cater only to those with money. They feel a bit like a young boy trying on his mothers dresses, their largeness sitting awkwardly on him, attempting to hide what's beneath the surface.

What does having no windows yet being surrounded by such wealth do to a person working down here? Dazzled and depressed in equal measure I suspect, so perhaps they are at an equilibrium, emotionally speaking. Never ecstatic or depressed, but always “good” or “not so good” or the assumed veil of “fine.”

I descended to bellow the sidewalks for a business lunch. I arrived early, misjudging the amount of time the rip would take during lunchtime traffic. Unfortunately I did not check my messages before I was seated and my lunch partner had to cancel. I decided to eat anyway, as the menu was in my hands and my belly was empty. I have ordered and now I wait for my food, playing with my water and trying to make it seem like I belong. All around me I hear other business lunches taking place, or at least people who work together in the gleaming structures that surround this underground taking in an extended lunch. The talk of many of these walk a fine line between appropriate and filthy, always alluding to that which cannot be explicitly said. Some tables ring with genuine joy, these people seem to enjoy their lives, lunches paid for by the company most of all. Others force cordiality, working hard at masking their disdain (whether that be for the person city across from them or their own lives is difficult to tell). Most seem comfortable, not putting too much thought into fulfillment and therefore being filled enough.

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