Rides for a Dollar a Minute

I’d met the rickshaw boys the summer before. I worked in the fast food stand on the corner, sweating over the deep fryer in my company-issued apron and ball cap. They parked their rickshaws across the way, at the mouth of a pedestrian alley in the tourist-filled heart of historic downtown Ottawa. They came by a few times a day to refill their water bottles, flirt and beg for free slushies. We both stayed on our feet until bar close—I fed the drunks and they hauled them home—and once I got my fake ID I started joining them on their Monday nights out, the only night of the week that they took off work.

In Defense of the Gift Certificate

For the longest time, I felt bad about offering gift certificates to friends and family when the holiday season rolled around. They had a reputation as the lazy person’s gift of choice: They were impersonal, they were anything but unique, and there was something crass—given our long tradition of removing price tags from gifts and pretending that their exact value is unknown to the recipient – about their dollar amount being displayed so flagrantly.