Hogtown is the story of a nameless girl from a small southwestern Ontario farm community. Now she works as an articling student at a respectably conservative law firm in downtown Toronto. Be nice. Don't ask awkward questions. Look your best. Work hard. These are the rules she tries to live by. But the rules don't help when her boss asks her to do research for clients - two police officers - charged with raping a sex trade worker. On the eve of the G20 Summit, news breaks of the victim's suicide, but no one notices. All eyes are on the world leaders as they breeze into town. No one has time to bother with the local tragedy of a non-person. Enraged and confused, the articling student takes to the streets with other protesters. There, her detachment evaporates as she witnesses first-hand the abuses that power can inflict on the vulnerable.
I must have been dreaming when I had my head on the keyboard. The memory of my dreaming returns to me as a catalogue of sounds. I don't know why that is. I have the impression that most people remember their dreams as a succession of photos or as a video that jitters from scene to scene. For me it's all about the sounds I hear. It's through sounds that I know I'm real. The fact is: I don't believe in my eyes. They see only what lies on the surface. But I can believe in my ears. The sounds they hear come from deeper.
Take this office as an example. What I see is order. Above my head are the lines of the ceiling tiles which intersect at right angles. These match the right angles of the partitions which mark out our cubicles. There are hallways laid out with laser precision from one end of the building to the other. Filing cabinets hold client matters alphabetized and colour coded. Staplers hold staples.
Clipboards hold clips. Everything in perfect order. But if you were to crack open my skull and peek inside, you'd find a gooey mess. I'm finishing my third week of articles and still I have no idea what I'm doing. I have even less idea why I'm doing it. I try my best to look confident, to be assertive, to walk with authority and to speak with the assurance of a knowing mind. I keep my clothes crisp and conservative for the job: blue skirt, white top, hair up, simple jewelry. I look like a flight attendant.
The world of inarticulate sound is less inclined to tell me lies. Ambient murmurs draw around me like water around a body in a stream, a natural flow that doesn't demand anything from me. The problem now is that I hear almost no ambient noise. The silence is unsettling. Usually, I hear all sorts of things:
Memo To Self
Date: Friday June 25th, 2010
RE: the top 10 things I usually hear when I'm in the office
10. the hum of the laser printer which is never turned off;
9. the buzz of the fluorescent lights overhead;
8. the whirr of the fan inside my desktop computer;
7. the ghost-like wooo of wind rushing past the office tower windows;
6. the clack-clack of venetian blinds driven against the windows by air blowing from the ducts;
5. the squeaky wheel of the tea trolley rolling along the carpet in the hallway;
4. the vague moan of a living city rumbling the building's foundations;
3. the hopeless frail beating of my heart;
2. the almost whistling of my breath rushing out between open lips;
1. the tick ticking of the second hand roaring down from the wall where an old-fashioned analog clock sits in judgment.