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May 5, 2023

Technical trouble

Early this morning, Morpheus was tugging on my bedspread to wake me out of my slumber. He had a brilliant idea to share with me: a fable about a clever frog who wanted to become as big as a bull. Morpheus wanted to know if I was capable of telling such a tale.

“I can certainly try,” I replied to the god of sleep. “Light a few street lights because it’s still dark outside and I’m looking for my slippers,” I tell him. I get up, dress and sit at the kitchen table as I try to turn on my iPad. Oddly enough, the keypad refuses to budge. Is it still in Morpheus’ arms? I touch the screen, I hit the keys. I am getting desperate, so I pour myself a second cup of coffee. Every time I have a problem with my iPad, my heart stops beating. I become paralyzed. I know nothing about how these writing machines work.

I might have a mind brimming with ideas, but I’m a happy dimwit who always ends up finding someone to help. Right now, however, desperation is taking hold of me. I am worried I will lose my idea, worried my tablet might be broken, afraid my precious writing will disappear.

I press here, I press there. I hit all the function keys. It’s all for nothing. I want to cry. Outside, dawn is barely breaking and I decide to make my way to the coffee shop. I tuck my iPad and notepad in my big purse, grab my car keys and try to behave as if everything will be fine. The weather has turned nice and the snowbanks are finally melting.

When I walk into the coffee shop, I force a smile. I sit at my usual table right next to a young man I have never seen before. He has a handsome face and is wearing a blue turtleneck and dark grey canvas jacket. The stranger appears to be straight out of a Charles Dickens novel. You should have seen him! I dare to glance at him quickly from the corner of my eye. And then I take a better look. He appears to be a typical young man who knows his way around computers. But how do I strike up a conversation? I am nothing more than a complete stranger to him. Worse, I’m a distraught old woman with a broken iPad in her hands.

The café is almost empty. I guess the mild weather means the regulars have better things to do. I’m almost alone with this modern Oliver Twist. I muster all my courage and start a conversation.
— “Are you new here? Do you like this place?”
— “I just moved very close to here, in an industrial condo.”
— “Oh, really! And what will you do in this industrial condo? Will you live there?”
— “Two friends and I have just started a business, an IT services company.”
— “Oh, that’s great! Coincidentally, I have my iPad here that refuses to work this morning.”
— “Are you working, ma’am?”
— “Actually, I amuse myself by writing stories.”

The young man extends his hand towards my table and takes my tablet. He turns it on, his fingers hovering over the keys. He taps a few times here and there, and just a few short moments later, he hands it back to me with a big smile.

— “The device isn’t broken, ma’am.”

I am beside myself. I turn it on and notice that the clever frog who wants to become as big as a bull is still there at the top of my page.
— “Thank you so much, young man!”

The gentleman gives me a fancy business card with his address, email and cell phone number on it.

I love small frogs and I don’t aim to become as popular as my Canadian heroes Heather O’Neill, Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen. I just want to be myself and improve my scribbling a little more each day.

A vision of a horizon that has been newly sown comes to me often. Will I have enough time for grace to embrace me, for a work of art to emerge from the ground?