Live from Maple Ridge, it’s Lorne

Lorne, Vancore’s new secretary, once got a tweet from Steve Martin — that Steve Martin. Lorne was chuffed, until he realized there had been a mistake. The comedian thought he was tweeting Lorne Michaels.

You could say this was the universe trying to make an introduction. Because Lorne’s dry, observational humour would fit right in in the Saturday Night Live writer’s room.

We saw it this week as Lorne delivered speech #5 from the Competent Communicator’s Manual. “It’s All About the Journey,” he called his speech, which described the phases of his daily commute into the city from his home in Maple Ridge. That’s no more than about 40 kilometres as the crow flies, but it might as well be a million miles; it’s one planet to another, with re-entry burns on both ends.

You see, Maple Ridge is . . .  put it this way: it’s still legal to ride a horse through the streets there. Lorne’s wife raises chickens, for which Lorne’s enthusiasm is muted. They’re being raised for the eggs, but the day Lorne gets bitten by one is the day they end up on the dinner plate, he threatens.

On the platform for train to Vancouver Lorne sees the same faces. There’s a group of accountants that huddles up in the same spot. They seem to have come through the same training program, and even are similarly accessorized. “I guess when you graduate, they give you a lunch bag,” Lorne says. The 5:44am crowd is a subculture unto itself. People stand exactly in the places the doors will be when the train stops, like actors hitting their marks.

At Waterfront station the commuters disgorge and move en masse, like cattle to the milking shed, up the escalators and out, past the guy playing the pan flute and the pandhandler who asks for a weirdly specific amount – fourteen dollars. Out on the street the tourists are out, even at that hour. They’re not hard to miss, standing on the corners, holding maps outside down. For some reason, when they are overcome by confusion, they always look up to the sky.

Lorne is a man who moves through life with his eyes and ears open and his mouth closed – except on Wednesday afternoons, when he shares his dispatches from the world we thought we knew.

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