In the Food Court of Kitchener's Market Square, Before the Morning Shift


In the morning, only two things are open in the mall's half-dead foodcourt: Tim Horton's, serving coffee, and McDonalds, serving Egg McMuffins. Both are doing a brisk business: men in suits, women in power suits, and people on casual day.

A man walks past me, holding a metal box with a solid handle, painted black and metallic green, reminding me of a portable stereo; not a boom-box, but a professional speaker, when you don't want to mess around while talking to a boisterous audience. A compressed air cylinder is attached and the man has a coil of house over his other shoulder. He's heading for the Fitness Club. Can it be open this early in the day?

Passing me now is a young woman, barely thirteen, pushing a loaded baby carriage. That can't be her baby inside, can it? In fact, I can't see a baby what with all of the plastic bags and unidentifiable items stuffed inside. Then she spots a young friend, pushing a carriage of her own. She calls out in her teenage lilt of a voice, "Are you trying to look like a mom?"

Perhaps it's a school project.

Two Guyz Wraps & Smoothies have just opened for business. It is now 9 a.m.

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