1. The object of fetching; the source and origin of attraction; a force, quality or propensity which is attracting in a given attribute of person, place, object, principle, etc.

They ate at Antipodea in Richmond. A small Australian-run restaurant with great décor and welcoming staff. M had the Vietnamese chicken salad with carrots, cabbage and coriander and Brigitte the buttermilk free range chicken burger with hand cut slaw and fries. Whilst it was a busy lunchtime they were unrushed. The waiters frequently topped up their water, seemingly unconcerned over the time they took with their meal. M considered the staff genuinely appreciative that they had chosen this restaurant, as though their date had been highly anticipated by the establishment as much as it had by themselves. A bubble of unreality coated their experience, containing them within a precise moment of existence, pricked only after a couple of hours when M excused himself from the table and entered the toilet at the rear of the restaurant.
M considered their date was progressing favourably. Each of them had ticked boxes which the other had covertly packed. Brigitte had admired his purple velvet jacket, and the Ramones t-shirt he wore underneath was deemed a legitimate accessory considering he had seen them live. Brigitte wore an outwardly plain black jacket and skirt, but during the course of their conversation M noted tiny aspects of colour perforate its surface, catching light just as she caught his eye. These subtle deviances from the norm empowered them both. Neither of them were new to dating and both had been in several long term relationships, but if they had been guarded and jaded before the meal each felt replenished as the afternoon progressed. They opened up to each other, in a manner similar to the capillary action of paper flowers in water.
However as M stood by the urinal he was fully aware that such moments couldn't last. That no matter how brilliant the conversation and attraction, eventually this would tire and the relationship - should it progress - would require devotion to sustain them for a number of years. This relationship in itself would - in many respects - become a third party to their twosome, revolving in a ménage a trois fashion, opening and revealing different attributes, until - with some difficulty - they either coalesced into a form of acceptance or went their separate ways. M didn't consider this to be a negative assumption, more a natural state of affairs, however his awareness didn't prevent a longing to prolong it.
To avoid thinking of the future, M focussed on the present: the bathroom was a single unisex cubicle containing both toilet and urinal, with a washbasin to one side. M became drawn into the coincidence of their meeting: the infinitesimal actions which had enabled them to connect. The unwavering nerve of it.
The urinal was embossed with the Armitage Shanks logo. As he urinated over the porcelain, M thought through the processes which required instigating in order for him to do so. He was grounded in general knowledge, knew the company was formed as Armitage in the early 1800s before merging with a competitor in the late 1960s. Yet these two facts belied the depth of history occurring between those dates, culminating in the creation of the worldwide brand. The processes involved for the logo to be stencilled on the urinal were almost unimaginable. For a urinal to even exist intimated the entire process of human evolution, not only including the development of the male to stand on two legs to urinate but also the social structure necessary to create the desire and preference of disposing of such urine in a hygienic and cost-effective manner. Simply the concept of the urinal ratcheted up a number of coincidences required for different inventors to join together, compete and learn, and eventually develop the product attached to the wall that was currently collecting his waste.
And in further consideration, M couldn't fail to acknowledge that the geometric pattern of the tiles flanking the urinal - and indeed covering almost all the four walls of the bathroom - were in themselves dependent on the requisite skills required for invention, design and installation. The origins of a single tile could be traced back to the earliest evidence of glazed brick in the Elamite Temple at Chogha Zanbil, dated to the 13th century BC. If that process had failed to be adopted, then the tiles in front of him might never have existed. Coupled with this requirement, the tiler who had completed the work in the Antipodea bathroom must also have nurtured a decision to enter that profession based on a number of potential stimuli, ranging from work undertaken traditionally by previous family members - either through imitation or rebellion - to financial incentives, a natural predilection for the job, and/or a sense of satisfaction. Without many of these elements aligning, M's current position would be untenable.
His attention was further drawn to a typewritten notice attached to his right, above the tiles: please do not put chewing gum into the urinal. He couldn't help but speculate that for such a notice to be positioned then first of all paper had needed invention in 2nd century BC China, ink utilised as far back as the 26th century BC in Egypt, written English to become standardized and perfected, and Blu Tack to have been developed for the paper to adhere to the wall. Blu Tack itself had been an accidental discovery through an attempt to develop a new sealant using chalk powder, rubber and oil, and M was aware that each of those separate components would have their own origin story necessitating a further sequence of coincidences to have occurred so that they were present for Blu Tack to have been a by-product of their grouping. Not only this, but for the sign to be deemed a necessity, chewing gum also needed invention. M had recently read an article stating that 6,000 year old chewing gum made from birch bark tar, with tooth imprints, had been found in Kierikki in Finland, although it was highly likely it had existed in some format prior to that. And not only did chewing gum need both invention and escalation into mass-market use, but simultaneously the habit of disposing of such gum in urinals also required development as a collective social problem for the sign to be necessary. Every single one of the aspects M had considered both singularly and collectively conspired to enable his exact position at the urinal in the tableaux of the Antipodea bathroom in Richmond whilst Brigitte toyed in the restaurant with the dessert menu.
But of course, this was only a fraction of that requirement. In M's line of vision was his Ramones' t-shirt. Not the familiar circle based on the Seal of the President of the United States as sported by the majority of those who wore the brand, but a faded tour t-shirt from the late eighties. M had to acknowledge that in order for him to wear the shirt, not only did both printing and cotton-making facilities had to have developed together with the entire rock n roll merchandising industry, but also each of the four original members of the band had to have been birthed by their parents - who in turn had been birthed by their parents - and in addition to actually meeting each other they also needed to do so having each separately accumulated a desire for music that would align themselves with each others sensibilities. Considering their songs had heralded a new musical genre, they also each had needed to have thought the scene at the time to be anathema to creativity and to have diligently pursued a more aggressive stance rather than being overtly influenced by the prevailing sound of the time. Additionally, earlier in musical history, the band which became The Beatles also required formation - together with similar influences capturing an alternative zeitgeist - so that Douglas Colvin might have chosen to rename himself Dee Dee Ramone after Paul McCartney's use of his Paul Ramon pseudonym during his Silver Beetles days; and for Dee Dee to then persuade the other band members to adopt the same surname. Each of these factors, plus an infinitesimal number unaccounted, were required to conspire for M to wear that shirt, including his own upbringing and sloughing off convention so that he might gravitate towards such music, see the band, buy the shirt. He also had to view himself as the eternal rebel, continuing to own and wear the shirt through several decades, to not conform to society's demand that he grow up, to consider himself radical enough to wear the shirt on this first date, to accumulate sufficient factors to define his position in time stage-set by the objects around him.
M understood he could apply similar thought processes to each item of clothing he wore, including the development of the system of obtaining purple dye that had originated in Ancient Greece through the secretion produced by the Muricidae species of predatory sea snails, known by the name Murex. In those times, extracting dye involved tens of thousands of snails and substantial labour - with each of those snails and labourers requiring their own origin stories and mix of complex coincidences to fix them in time and space - and whilst the colour of the jacket he wore couldn't be said to be true Tyrian purple, without the sacrifices of those snails modern methods of creating purple might not have been under consideration.
The sensation that M and this moment were transitory whilst simultaneously dependent on a staggeringly complex - quite unbelievable - number of circumstances involving every specific detail within the bathroom which in itself was but an inconsiderable speck amongst millions of bathrooms worldwide served - for just a second - to buckle M's reality such that he found it impossible to imagine that Brigitte - or indeed, anything, whatsoever - existed outside the confines of his vision.
Nevertheless, whilst this realisation served to stop time in his imagination, urine continued to trickle out from his body until eventually the biological mechanics of discharge concluded with a reminder to zip up and wash his hands in the basin below the mirror.

by Andrew Hook