Sunday, February 14, 2010

Everything good, within walking distance.

I was in the scuzzier part of the downtown core.  My cohort and I were checking out a venue of some sort.  The main floor consisted of indie gallery and performance nooks, and a lobby that was reminiscent of what it would be like if an old style hotel was repurposed by the art crowd – couches, lamps, ironic classiness side-by-side with kitsch and comfort furnishings.

We found the elevator, and made it up to what I think was the third floor.  The front windows looked over the street, with an inspiring view of a mixed-up neighborhood.  Little restaurants and shops, people on bike and on foot, cars, sidewalks and alleys, animals and garbage, a perfect city microcosm.  At the back, the balcony opened out onto the street, which was at a higher level, and the streets led to a gentle maze of residential lanes and quaint low-rise apartment blocks and houses.

If bohemian literary characters lived in a common neighborhood when they weren’t busy being in the stories they came from, this would be the neighborhood.

I cannot recall what it was I was there to investigate.  But I did find a good Holmesian loft, and a couple of interesting businesses that I felt would support my lifestyle if I were to move there.

And this leads me to the realization that my dreams have been exceptionally cooperative lately in supplying me with magical settings, as demonstrated by the images above, with the added benefit that all of it was taking place along the stretch of de Maisonneuve between Atwater and Guy metros – which in '99 was my first home turf in Montreal.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A true initiation never ends.

And here I am again.

Montreal is an international city. Not a huge one, but still. Cheap European New York in French. I have the best group of friends here I've ever had.

Victoria has a couple of good friends, the promise of tolerable employment on the fringe of an interesting industry (in other words, much like my current job). No winter. Army town.

Winnipeg has the worst winters, the least connection to the world. Dead center North America. Also a couple of good friends. Art calls to me from here, as well as interrupted emotional arcs. I might feel tall there.

I dreamed of being in New York last night. Am I ready to give up?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cows in the city.

I woke up unsure if I was still dreaming.

I looked around my loft, and considered rearranging to make best use of the available space.  Then I remembered I still had another little bachelor apartment downtown -- I could even remember the feeling of the neighborhood, from the other dream months ago in which that place existed.  Was I still renting that too?  Is that why I didn't have as much money as I thought?

I looked down and saw the store where we all worked.  Eric and Christelle were on the floor, and I dangled my legs over the edge of the loft floor.  I went down to look around at things.  I found some industrial breath mints for smokers, named after popular bands, in large format packages.  I took them to the counter to show Christelle, because I thought they were funny, but she mentioned that she thought they were detergents, which they were.

Then I retreated to a car-interior-like pod on the floor, where I watched Eric drive some cleaning machine back and forth.  I realized he was taking the place over out of necessity, and they were basically humoring me to be kind.

I left, facing a long semi-industrial street.  My door was one of the few on a long stretch of low, white buildings.  Across the street was a field with train tracks, beyond that, trees in the distance.  I realized that this part of Ontario was very much like the prairies with its wide open blue skies, and how I missed that (and would continue to miss it in tall cities or regions with mountains).

I turned right and walked east.  I was wearing my plaid pyjama pants, white bathrobe, some kind of shirt, with my backpack and headphones.  Every once in a while a car would pass and I laughed as I thought what they must think of the sight of me.  Occasionally I'd spy someone inside a building or car, always silhouetted.

I tired of walking quickly and turned to go back, but the street was different, and I couldn't find my place.  I realized this wasn't a dream-case of the territory changing, but was actually a sign of mental illness, and that I was basically lost and confused, stumbling around the streets in a bathrobe.

I changed streets in hopes of finding something familiar, but just ended up in more commercial areas, with no bearings on where I was.  Did I even know the city?  Would anyone know me?