ABOARD THE AMTRAK ADIRONDACK, U.S. CROSSING, CANTIQ, QUEBEC, CANADA—I meant to write to you last night.
My last day and evening in Montreal was all trolling for souvenirs and chocolate, returning movies, renting more movies, and finally gathering up a loose handful of errands that bounced and skittered across the hours like marbles on a kitchen counter.
It was snowing the day I arrived, and it snowed the day I left. It will be 89 degrees American in LA today. (Um, it was in the high 90s American today...) The temperature never rose above 11 Canadian while I was here, and it sounds funny to say, but that seemed about normal to me. Everyone eventually gets used to everything, and I got used to it being cold every. Single. Day.
I had a friend who went to college in Wisconsin and she once told me about how they would have “50 Degree Days,” in those waning days of Winter when the sun would burst through the clouds, and everyone wore a t-shirt, skipping like hippies in the afternoon warmth. I thought she was a couple of nachos short of a combo plate then, but now I can kinda see it. There was that one day about two weeks ago when I threw open my front windows and listened to the guy in the Square sing badly. It was a beautiful thing, man.
I never figured out a lot of things in Montreal. When is trash day? Why aren’t book and movie titles in quotes in the newspaper? Why is that halfwit Mike Boone allowed to write a column in the Montreal Gazette? Where oh where can I find diet Coke in six-pack cans? Where is ouest? Oh, and where is est?
I did manage to figure out how all those wretched Midwest and Canadian ‘70s bands (Triumph, Reo Speedwagon, Kansas, Rush ad nauseum, etc) sold so many damn records. Canadians bought them. I think its CHUM, maybe it’s another station, but apparently those bands have found a cozy home on Canadian radio, free from the cruelty of the calendar.
Meanwhile, let's just call it even on the whole Spring thing. Summer will be here soon. Looks like Spain and Italy for me in July, and I am thinking about Hawaii maybe in August, just to make sure it's hotter than hell there.
There's the paper to do (www.asjournal.net) every month, and this loud rock and roll band that I run with is doing something big in June (Watch this space.)
I have more on my Second-Favorite City, lots more, and I need to say something about "busking." But that's for tomorrow.
A bientôt, Montréal.