You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Montreal’ tag.

I haven’t worn a watch in years. I have had a number of them over the years but they always break or I lose them, or I realize that they are ugly, uncomfortable etc.

Quite a few years ago, I was on a cruise and first really discovered Duty Free. I’d bought duty free booze en route to Canada many times, but always bypassed the perfumes and jewelry because even without tax, it was still expensive, and why would I need a giant bottle of Joop!? On this cruise ship, however, all of the duty free shops were located along the Grand Promenade and I had to walk past them to get my free coffee and free fro-yo. Also, on this cruise, we had at least two full “at sea” days, meaning that you are stuck on the ship with nothing to do but eat and watch The Thomas Crown Affair in six languages (English, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese). Oh sure, the more savvy cruisers had made spa appointments, got up early and grabbed chaise lounges on the sun deck, went to the gym, casino, and didn’t mind paying $22 to play Bingo for an hour. I was not a savvy cruiser, I slept in, got room service, and then had a whole day to fill and no options other than wandering, reading, and eating– I quickly became bored.

So I wandered the length of the ship over, and over. Finally on the last at sea day, the duty free stores had a sidewalk sale, and I found the perfect watch. Small, but not too small, feminine without being girly, it didn’t pinch my arm, and it didn’t weigh me down– only problem was that it was too big around my wrist. I managed to convince the guy in the store to adjust it for free, even though he said he wasn’t supposed to. Then I bought a ton of duty-free scotch.

I decided that this watch would take me through the good times and the bad. This was the watch for me, and would be henceforth referred to as “my watch” the only watch I would ever need again in my life. Whatever else went wrong, I had the watch thing sorted.

Of course the watch wasn’t waterproof, and about two months later I took it off to go skinny-dipping in the Adriatic Sea, and it fell between the slats on the dock.

I got another watch, but it wasn’t the same. It never fit right, and looking at pictures of myself wearing it elicit a what was I thinking feeling. Since surrendering that watch, I just use my phone if I need to know what time it is. This is imperfect in that I look very rude, and if I have a message of any kind, I have to clear it out before I can see what time it is– but it works.

Except when it doesn’t. My phone simply could not get a signal in Montreal. I lost my signal somewhere around Vermont, and then my phone battery started going dead from the monumental task of “searching for signal.” I shut my phone off, and immediately felt reckless and unsafe. What if there was some kind of emergency? What if my mother called and my father had had a heart attack? What if something else bad happened?

Really though, in my family, if something bad did happen, my parents would probably forget to tell me– like they forgot to tell me that my cousin had run away and I had to hear it when I went in to work at TV station, “Andria, this ______, are you related to her?”

“She’s my cousin, what did she do now?”

“She’s been missing for three days– didn’t you know?”

I started feeling a bit free without the burden of cellular technology weighing on my mind.

The first night in town, Wise Lawyer Friend and I just wandered around our new neighborhood. She had visited Montreal annually for Model U.N. when she was an undergrad, but it had been about four years; so she knew the lay of the land, but it had changed slightly. We had a disappointing Mexican dinner (can I never find good Mexican food on the East Coast?), drank a Brazilian beer in some kind of beer garden that may have had something to do with the Euro Cup (?), and returned to our hotel to plan our day while watching Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel, which I realize I can do any old time, but it’s more fun in a hotel room.

The following day was a great mish-mash of adventuring made more of an adventure because neither of us ever knew what time it was. We were going purely on instinct and it was really cool.

“I feel hungry, are you hungry?”

“Yeah, a little. What time is it.”

Then we would look around briefly to see if there was a clock anywhere.

“There are no clocks in this town– like Vegas. Let’s go to Little Italy and have lunch there.”

After a while, we got used to never knowing what time it was, and stopped looking for clocks. It was very freeing having no timetable, no set time when you eat whether you’re hungry or not, just kind of remembering what it feels like to actually be hungry, and then seek out food.

We studied the sun like ancient people and approximated, but mostly didn’t care (except that we wanted to make it to the Archeology Museum before closing).

Perfect vacation.

Back in March, my Jewish Friend approached me with the information that the annual ALA conference is in Anaheim this year. “We should go.” she said, “my rich uncle would probably fly us out for free and we can stay at his mansion in Beverly Hills.”

Saying the word free makes almost anything appealing to me, and crashing at a mansion and basking in the sun sounds like a perfect way to spend part of my summer. So I took the time off work. Then we found out that rich uncle was going to be out of town that week and was unwilling to fly us out to stay at his house when he isn’t going to be there.

So we re-grouped. We started brainstorming places where we could stay for free or cheap.

Chicago, NYC, and Montreal were all mentioned.

Jewish Friend lacks valid passport, so Montreal is eliminated.

Chicago is decided upon, and I find a cheap plane ticket online– things are looking promising.

I get into a car accident, missing an extra shift at work, and incurring at least $500 in car repairs.

Jewish Friend’s father is hit by a truck while crossing the street, so Jewish Friend heads back home.

I start planning daytrips that I can do by myself: New Haven, Cape Cod, beach etc.

I find out that my hours at work are being cut– in half. I start reconsidering whether or not taking a vacation at all is wise, maybe I should just try to grab any extra shifts that come my way, or perhaps I should do a “staycation.” I decide to do a combo staycation/vacation and eliminate my daytrip to Cape Cod, then pick up an extra shift at work to make myself feel better.

I ask Wise Lawyer Friend if she maybe wants to go to Montreal for the weekend. Since she is a pragmatic person and hyper-scheduled, I never really expected her to say yes, but thankfully her brain was a little broken after taking an intense one-week summer class, and she needed a getaway too.

I get my car back from mechanic beautifully fixed, cleaned, with topped-off windshield wiper fluid. Mechanic informs me that I do not need to pay my deductible as he has “worked it out for me.” I want to buy my mechanic a fruit basket, but instead take business cards and promise to send him any business I can– and I will. I love my mechanic, and if you need any bodywork done in the Providence area, ask me for his number.

Wise Lawyer Friend decides to blow off work and come on my New Haven daytrip as does Male Canadian Friend. I feel a cold coming on, but pack tissues and try to ignore it. We have a lovely day ending with a lovely meal.

A little later that night I start throwing up unexpectedly leading me to believe that I have food poisoning. I spend the night in a sleepless cold sweat punctuated by trips to the bathroom.  My cold has also gone full-blown so my head, already spacey from lack of nourishment, is also full of mucus that needs to be expelled.  It was a very wet night.

The following day, I pack for Montreal, try to eat bland food, and buy some Sudafed.  Jewish Friend’s father is doing better, he’s out of ICU but a long way from being good, and she is back in town. She buys me egg drop soup as well as giving me a cold care-package.

Wise lawyer friend and I drive to Montreal without incident, and have a lovely weekend (more details later) proving that optimism and determination are the keys to success!