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Pique'n Yer Interest

The escapist

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The artist motions for silence.

In an intimate performance at a restaurant, where the owner has cleared tables so as to permit a small stage at a back corner, an escapist forces his way into a straitjacket as a buxom, thinly clothed assistant fastens its buckles and chains.

It is Jared's last night in Whistler and to celebrate his friends have brought him here, lavishing drinks on him as together they watch a performer whose job it is to every night work himself out of a bind, just to prove he can do it.

In the morning Jared will return his key to his landlord, pack up his pickup truck and drive down the highway for perhaps the last time. He will soon take a job in the city, deskwork nine to five doing human resources for a mid-size telecommunications company. The company calls it "employee relations" - business talk for lecturing employers and employees alike about ergonomics and equity initiatives. Even doing the dirty work of firing people when management isn't up to the task.

Nothing in the past six years has prepared him for it. He's qualified for the job after a commerce degree he completed six years ago, before coming to Whistler. He had a chance at taking a job the day after graduating, but the daily grind of filling out personnel reports and studying human resource theory left him empty.

He realized quickly that he'd spent four years in school weaving nothing more than a safety net.

Despite numerous tips on jobs out of school, he fled for the hills of Whistler, promising his mother and father he needed only months to find himself. They looked on him with scorn, wondering why in the world they wasted thousands of dollars on putting him through university. They made a bet with their son that he would never return.

In Whistler Jared took up residence in a three-bedroom townhouse with three others, two Australian men and an English female. He mistook them for vagrants when they first met. Long, tangled, unkempt hair protruding out the bottoms of tattered toques, they would spend hour conversing about snowboarding and biking in technical terms that could find welcome in a science lab.

Coming out of an academic environment, and just on the cusp of his professional career, Jared never thought he would become close with these people, yet here they were, feting him at a restaurant as he readied to leave them like so many friends before.

Jared marvelled at the escape itself, but he could not help thinking that this man was never really free. Night after night he would disgorge himself from the jacket, and night after night he would gorge himself back in, impressing another audience as he demonstrated his talent at the one thing he knew how to do.

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