I was sipping an afternoon coffee, battling the 2:30 dragon, when a heavy thud brought me abruptly back to time and place. My co-worker holds a thick stack; "New phone book", he says, then continues his delivery of what two months ago must have been a small forest. ...but that's a blog for another time.
Looking at the sparkly new cover absent of dog ears and coffee stains I had a passing glance at the photo mosaic that has the new Aliant symbol emblazened across it. I remember a time when the new phone book would have a calendar-esque photo of some beautiful part of the island or Labrador. Whatever happened to those great Newfoundland and Labrador photos? It occurred to me that they disappeared around the same time as the tagline "The Home Team" was dropped... Which was also around the same time that Newfoundland Telephone became NewTel and then Aliant. No sign of Newfoundland and Labrador to be found.
WalMart stores are popping up like piss-the-beds. We have Home Depot, McDonald's, Pier 1, Old Navy... all the stores we have looked at with wide-eyed wonder for years on our diet of American media. One day on the way home from picking up the latest Dan Brown, Steven King or JK Rowlings book we pass a little store where we used to buy The Independent, Them Days and The Newfoundland Quarterly and wonder to ourselves "Gee when did that close?"
I know that our little phone company has spread it's wings and left the nest, picking up companies, making new friends. I guess it's not fair to expect it to retain it's Newfoundland and Labrador identity. But I still can't help but lament the loss of another little piece of our culture. I'm picking on Aliant a bit, I'll blame the thud of the phone book and the resulting coffee drool on my shirt for that. Truthfully though the phone company represents a greater trend. The degrading of a way of life. Years ago when I saw fences being made with railroad ties and sheds being made from fishing boats I knew there was something amise. A change in the air of the kind that makes Bob Dylan take pen to paper.
In our desire to fit into the Canadian family have we lost something of ourselves? I lament the loss as I finish my remaining Starbuck's Guatemala Antigua.