Wednesday, August 31, 2016

stunned and grateful...

Another thing that captivates me about being in Montréal is the relative safety of this place: last night I was walking back to our apartment at 1:30 AM when two young women about 22 rode past on bicycles. I was stunned. They then proceeded to the intersection, paused for a short conversation as if this were the most natural thing in the world (and it is) before turning away and heading home in opposite directions. So much for my country's claim of "home of the brave and land of the free," yes? Most women I know are necessarily wary of harassment and other dangers while travelling even with friends - and almost never alone after dark.I wanted to snap a quick picture of this scene just to authenticate my claim, but even the thought of an old guy shooting pix of young women is just a little too creepy for all involved.
I did, however, return thanks to God.

You see, over the span of nine years of extended visits, the scariest thing to happen came during the Rufus Wainwright concert opening the Jazz Festival when the enormous crowd surged and pulsed in a way that made us flee. Too many people. Too claustrophobic. Too much alcohol in too many sweaty bodies. I've closed down jazz clubs @ 3 AM and wandered home by myself without a hint of fear. Well, ok maybe the first two years I was nervous but not any more. And even the denizens of the dark who are still out talking and smoking on the street at that hour don't lurk or threaten. Crimes against people are simply not the priority they are in the USA.

That said, today is going to be a slow one as we lay around the shanty, momma and... well, you know the rest. It is a sleepy, cloudy day and after a few days of rigorous flâneurie the rhythm of hour suggests a time to slow
down even more. So, we'll buy a few local bagels, some tea and sundries and then crash-out on the terrasse with its tiny white lights and Zen meditation chairs for lazy reading and music.

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