You can’t read a town by its façade. In some ways they all look the same, especially these days. From the highway, every town is just a Walmart, a MacDonald’s, and a PetroCan.
But St. Catherines surprised me. I liked it at first: a little shabby, a little faded, but quaint with an obvious arts presence and one good coffeeshop on the main street (which is really all I require from any place: a room to write and think and drink in).
We arrived at the Mahtey Café in St. Catherines early that day and settled in behind our laptops, our teas, and our organic treats. I set up my typewriter on a sunny bar-style countertop against the window the spied on the fist few contributors.
“What kind of creature are you?” I thought. “The kind who types or the kind who passes by?” I can never tell.
The world is full of creatures. Animals. Beasts. St. Catherines had been the home of serial killer rapists Bernardo and Homolka. Somehow I’d missed hearing about that. I was young. My mom probably turned the radio off when they reported it back in the eighties and nineties. St. Catherines lost its charm after I learned that. And I couldn’t look at the river the same.
Sometimes, it’s best to not know what kind of creatures there are.