a slightly more accurate account of my time in montreal

Nobody has quite come out and said so, but my recent photo essay on my trip to Montreal could be termed creative non-fiction, insofar as nothing beside a trip to Montreal and an encounter with shrivelled balloons actually happened. The truth is that I had an extremely good time in Montreal, which is about as satisfying a city as you're likely to come across. My good time there I attribute to my lawyer-in-training friend Helvetica, who isn't nearly as Swiss as her nickname would suggest. This photo is taken in her apartment only days after the tragic accident that took her chin (hence the scarf).


I understand that her chin has since been reconstructed and that she now leads a very nearly normal life.

Actually, I took two trips to Montreal, one in mid-December and the other in early January. I would say that I was spanning the millennium with my Belle Province visits if the millennium weren't where it already was, but that's something for another post. During the first visit Helvetica found herself a bit busy writing papers and studying for exams, so we lazed around in teahouses (sans opium) and brasseries over a couple of nights. At some point during the visit I promised to advance my writing career, or the next time I visited I would have to walk up and down Rue Ste Catherine in my polka-dotted boxers with a sandwich board over my shoulders bearing the phrase Ask me about my squandered talent. She in turn promised to treat me to a proper Montreal experience on my next visit.

And no one out there can say that she didn't deliver on her promise. Because that phrase is physically impossible for the mouth to produce without some serious surgery. Anyway. On my January visit we hung around in the lobby of the Musée de Beaux Arts, ate flaky things in a patisserie, saw The Merchant of Venice, spent an evening on the top floor of Club Cleopatre and watched the oldest running drag show in the city, ate poutine, drank chocolate, went to a party full of law students, and finally ended up strolling around by myself through downtown at 2 a.m., feeling good about being among the crowds of barhoppers and bouncers and strip club callers. It made the corners of my eyes crinkle in satisfaction. But January nights in Montreal can be windy and cold when you're wearing nothing but socks, boxers and a sandwichboard sign.