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Monday, January 05, 2004

Tonight I went into the Port Moody Sports Centre. What appeared to be a Sri Lankan family stood ahead of me in line. The receptionist had the phone to her ear and laughed with her caller. The conversation was about relationships.

I looked through my catalogue. I picked out the classes I was going to take. I had to make the big decision of whether to pay $20 more for the convenience of proximity or saving that $20 and driving into Coquiltam ten Wednesdays in a row.

The family chatted in low voices. The receptionist talked on, oblivious to our presence.

I gave her a stern look. She shortened her conversation and hung up.

The family discussed options for their two young daughters. The older one has some ice skating experience but the little one had none. Would a figure skating helmet do? If the older one took the 5 PM class, the younger one couldn't. There was a class at 6 PM in each of the girls' levels.

"Finally, it's your turn!" said the receptionist when I got to the front of the line. I signed up for my class.

The receptionist smiled so sweetly I forgave her. She explained that she had been on the phone with some lady looking to sign up for an aerobics course. Trying to decide which course was good for her, the caller suddenly told the receptionist that her boyfriend had broken up with her this last weekend. The caller then proceeded to mournfully provide the details. The receptionist sensed that this woman needed to talk and she listened, then tried to console the caller with her gentle laughs.

Before I left, the receptionist smiled. She said, "What is it with men breaking up immediately after the New Year?"

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