Who said it was going to rain?
Environment Canada was forecasting rain for tonight. But the skies were baby blue all of this afternoon, and even so until sunset. So, as far as I'm concerned, the people at the weather station just left their machines running on auto mode for the long weekend.
I was deposited at a farther northwest end of the subway system, and made it all the way to Mont-Royal, which was at the commercial center of the Plateau, Montreal's gentrified artsy neighborhood. People spilled all over the sidewalks and happily sipped their beers on open-air terasses or tapas-serving and other conceptual drinking holes which had their windows open for the second Friday this season (the first being two Fridays ago). I tried looking for one of those specialized music shops carrying rare discs, but could only find three or four used CD/DVD shops on the same block (there must be some sort of scam-trend going on).
Couldn't be tempted by anything exotic enough to try in terms of food, so instead took the next metro back to more familiar spaces, such as the stretch of Ste-Cath between McGill and Concordia. The initial trip from one end of the orange line to the other (it's a big U dipping into downtown, with both ends stretched towards mid-to-uptown) reminded me of trips in foreign cities on various subway lines. For the unadventurous, subway lines ensure that you don't get lost, but it also ensures you the Teleporter Effect (of not seeing the gradually changing cityscape as you travel from point A to point B, blabla). It's not annoying, b/c Montreal has always been my city, but it's weird, b/c I am not supposed to feel like a tourist in my own city.
Besides, I take the bus in foreign cities. 2 yuan a ride. Octopus, beep. SMRT card, beep.
I spent the next two hours at the busiest Starbucks of this town, on Ste-Cath and Crescent. Probably one of the worst managed ones - on both occasions I've been this week, they either didn't have straws the right size (stuck with a pole-size straw for my tiny mezzo iced americano), or the right lids (stuck with a hemispherical lid, when there was no whipped cream to go around). Busiest one; surely your chance of making mistakes when calculating for cafe furniture increases proportionately.
After a stint on the side of the Starbucks (off an opened glass vitrine - slightly chilly from the occasional breeze), I finally got the Corner Seats. Or just one of the two, because immediately after getting It, a middle-aged Southeast Asian couple came to sit on the facing seat, and the adjacent chair that was left by the former tenants and completing the semicircle around the glass-bayed corner of the establishment. The Corner Seat was quite a special one, b/c it gives you an open view on the Ste-Cath/Crescent corner, a strategic location in the dynamics of humanflow of the great city of Montreal. It is at the confluence of two streams, one made up primarily of students from Concordia University (towards the East), and the other made up of Ontarian or American tourists (towards the West). In fact, the customership of that particular Starbucks would surely include a mixture containing a larger-than-average proportion of both.
The middle-aged couple must be about 10 years younger than my parents (maybe they weren't even a couple at all), but my parents wouldn't hang out at a vulgar Starbucks, unless they're in a foreign city (and then, who doesn't hang out in Starbucks in foreign cities? :D). Trading seats between the cushioned one-seat sofa and the wooden chair (the man eventually settled for the sofa), they sat there for the whole time I was there, quietly chatting on in a foreign language (sounded like Vietnamese, but not quite?) mixed with hints of English, as they stared towards the outside, neither of them very interested in the view. It, of course, reminded me of the first time I went to that particular coffeeshop, where another middle-aged couple occupied the two seats, quietly talking, looking out, not quite as if they were waiting for their potential children to finish some social activity (it was ~11PM, one Saturday night, as I killed time before my last time clubbing, waiting for my friends who were customarily late).
I'm still not done with my book, but it's very very entertaining, and I retract whatever I said about it not being well-written (becoz I am no book critic). The characters are quirky, and the way that the prose is always interspersed with a variety of diagrams and figures just cracks me open. I figured it might be a very Asian thing to have - in books, but especially in movies, tv shows - these comical interludes where the protagonists might come out of character, or bring up some sort of transcending opinion about the drama unravelled in their narrated stories. I like it very much how each character gets a chance at the mic, for about 20 pages, until you move on to the next. It reminds me of (while I haven't read one myself) those novels where you simply have the same scene described by the 120 characters present. Anyways, it's not worth "discussing" in depth until it's finished reading.
My brother was downtown, but I didn't want to talk to him for a lift. The sense of freedom of today's end would've been destroyed if I sollicited a lift. He's the closest I have in terms of family (and mom and dad, yes), and what drama he is currently living through - I recognize a lot of myself in it. What I would prescribe him, is the same as I would prescribe to myself, and it's basically, a good cold shower of common sense, a big cup of responsability-taking assume-your-choices (like a strong ginseng herbal tea), and a frank whack behind the head. Life is long enough only to allow so many self-originating lies. Time, per se, will not do anything. Only /making the effort/ within that indefinite "amount of time it takes" will do. That, at the same time, justifies my new Philosophy In Life: no time for yo' freakin' bullshit (eh, not to Bro-Dave, just generally speaking). I just cannot say much more - with what he has for social circle, I'm sure he was told the exact same thing over and over.
Then, I finally agree that whining gets on people's nerves, b/c it implies you are not dealing with. Man, alright, enough for tonight. Getting back to my things.
Man, I've got some demonish biceps/triceps after this week of carrying stuff.