It's a good thing I ran out of toilet paper.

I knew I didn't have to be worried -- all it took was a grocery run.

Driving back from the Sobey's, I thought I'd take a different route home, which took me past the Wal-Mart. A big sign was erected in the parking lot:


I turned my head around. Did they mean that new building, literally kitty-corner across the street? Apparently so. It looks like it's going right next to the Mark's Work Wearhouse (which used to be one block north) and the new Canadian Tire (which used to be three blocks north).

I've mentioned the CanTire before, and it bugs me an order of magnitude more in Wal-Mart's case. Sure, they want a bigger building, and apparently renovation isn't possible any more. (It must have something to do with cheap, open design constrained to a single floor, which already takes up every permissible square metre the city allows.) So, they build a new one.

But if this old Wal-Mart is so small... then how come it's far too big for any other building to occupy? Congratulations, progress. You've invented the disposable warehouse. I'm a little bitter about that... but! I can write about it! In fact, the more I think about it, the better it sounds. It's a story about a bunch of people traveling to Nunavut, but why? Sure, they could probably find work there in construction, or as a government employee, but one of those things I can't write about, and the other one I shouldn't.

Ah, but Wal-Mart. Did you know that Nunavut is the only district in North America without a Wal-Mart? Might they be interested enough to send a marketing team up there? Might that marketing team be chosen from locations across Canada? And what better way to learn about one's national identity that by doing a report on it, deliverable to one of the biggest multi-national corporations in the world?

The only downside to this idea is the fact that I'll have to make sure this doesn't become a 200-page polemic. However, I've certainly got my ideas now -- and I know what this novel is about. (And the title, Qallunaaq ("outsider"), applies just as well, if not better.)

Fifty-six minutes to go.

I think I'm ready.

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About The Author

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.