A large hardware store.

Mona stands next to Eddie, a sales associate, in the gardening section.

Mona: These two wheelbarrows look different.

Eddie: They do look different. They are different.

Mona: But they both hold six cubic feet?

Eddie: It does say that.

Mona: But I’m just looking at this green one and it seems…bigger.

Eddie: It does.

Mona: And it’s cheaper.

Eddie: It is.

Mona: So is it a visual illusion?

Eddie: No. The green wheelbarrow holds six cubic feet. The orange wheelbarrow holds six cubic feet. The green is not as tough as this orange one. The orange wheelbarrow says TUF here on the side.

Mona: I get that, but I’m more interested in how these two wheelbarrows, which look completely different, carry the same amount. Is it a trick of the light?

Eddie: It could be.

Mona: Because the lighting…

Eddie: It’s terrible here.

Mona: It’s really bad.

Eddie: It’s tough to see things in the gardening department. That’s T-O-U-G-H as opposed to…


Mona: T-U-F.

Eddie: Exactly.

Mona: But do you understand my initial problem?

Eddie: It could be the orange colour. It’s misleading. It plays tricks with the eye. I deal with colour. I tint a lot of our paint. The eye can often be misled.

Mona: You work in the paint department as well?

Eddie: Sometimes.

Mona: You like paints?

Eddie: I like tints. [Pause] Listen, I’ve learned a few things about colour. This wheelbarrow is orange, but it’s not the same orange as you would have seen years ago. Your own perception of orange has changed – and will change. Your eyes change. This wheelbarrow will last a long time.

Mona: I hope so. It’s T-U-F.

Eddie: But it will not be the same orange wheelbarrow you’ll see years from now.

Mona: It’s not for me. I just want to…

Eddie: It’s fascinating though, isn’t it?

Mona: Yeah. I just want to make sure it lasts.

Eddie: Well, come down here.

Mona: Kneel down?

Eddie: This is one of the great things about my section of the store. There’s not a lot of people wandering around.

Mona: Why am I kneeling?

Eddie: Just tap on this plastic. Rap your knuckles on the orange plastic. And now do the same on the green plastic.

Mona: There’s a difference.

Eddie: There’s a solidity to the orange wheelbarrow.

Mona: Okay.

Eddie: I’m not just saying this because it’s more expensive. The orange wheelbarrow may not hold more than six cubic feet, but it holds its six cubic feet in a better way.

Mona: Better than what?

Eddie: I don’t know if I can describe it. It’s very personal. This orange one does a better job at being a wheelbarrow.

[They stand up again.]

Eddie: I wouldn’t say this to anyone, but this wheelbarrow is sort of what you get in your mind’s eye when you close your eyes and think, “Wheelbarrow.” The ideal.

Mona: But it still doesn’t look like it carries as much as the green wheelbarrow.

Eddie: I suppose that’s where trust comes in.

Mona: Trust the wheelbarrow.

Eddie: It’s deeper.

Mona: In that it’s actually deeper?

Eddie: Yes, not as wide.

Mona: It’s just I thought you were going to say it was deeper in another way. The colour, the orange. It’s a… I don’t know. I thought you were going to say it’s a more spiritually deep wheelbarrow, you know what I mean?

Eddie: The colour is the shade of a Tibetan prayer robe.

Mona: Yeah, it does remind you of monks.

Eddie: No, this colour is the exact tint. I’ve checked. I research when it’s not busy.

Mona: That’s interesting.

Eddie: There is no such thing as coincidence. That’s not the policy of the store. That’s my own opinion.

Mona: Right.

Eddie: No coincidences. Ever.

Mona: Okay.

Eddie: The maker of the wheelbarrow would never say so, not outright, but there is no such thing as coincidence.

Mona: Good to know.

Eddie: And you know what else? I could waive the assembly fee if you buy this orange one.

Mona: This exact orange wheelbarrow.

Eddie: Yes. If not, there’s a $10 assembly fee.

Mona: Okay.

Eddie: You don’t pay the assembly fee for this specific wheelbarrow. This wheelbarrow is complete.


The waiting room of a community health centre.
The visitor’s gallery of the European Parliament in Brussels.
A café in Paris, 20th arrondissement.
The paint aisle.
A downtown café.
A large hardware store.
A laneway.
A path through a forest of old cedars.
A cafe in Oregon.
A used bookstore.
In Christian heaven.
At the home of a crossword puzzle setter.
Outside a car dealership.
The Salish Sea.
A cafeteria.
In a forest.