Thursday, May 12, 2005

Summer in the city

Now that I'm once again forced to consider leaving Montreal, I discovered that I truly love this city. The tree lined streets, gorgeous architecture and cute little restaurants are all well and good, but Montreal is really made great by its eccentrics (click on the title for a great link describing them all much more eloquently than I do - scroll down to "montreal weirdos").

The official first sign of spring is seeing the biker-tricycle guy. He looks like a Hell’s Angel in that he has a long beard, a bandana tied around his forehead, jeans or leather pants, biker boots and a Harley Davidson muscle shirt. Every part the biker look except that he rides a tricycle – you know, the one for grownups who never learned how to balance a two-wheeler. He’s a Montreal icon. Watch out because if you get in his way he will not hesitate to run you down and he can really get that thing moving.

This spring I have yet to see the guy who drums so intensely on his steering wheel that you’re sure he’ll crash his car. He’s usually around later in the summer, blasting Dire Straits and rocking out with an intensity that makes most professional drummers seem meeker than your average mouse. To tide me over until that gem comes back, there’s a guy in NDG who plays a pretty hardcore harmonica from his perch on a park bench. Today I was eating an apple for breakfast on my way to the bus and smiled at him. He stopped in the middle of his song and asked “C’te tu t’une belle pomme?” Yes. Yes it was and for some reason he made it even better.

Yesterday I think I found a new favourite. Let me paint you a picture: I was standing on the metro feeling rather bored when a skinny 20-something white dude walked on. He stayed for several stops, so I got to study his absolute perfection in great detail. He was wearing skater shoes that were badly torn up, shpantz, a non-descript t shirt under a shirt with weird patches all over it. He had a kazoo hanging from his belt. His hair fell exactly on the axis between unkempt and dreadlocks. It was piled on top of his head and was kept in place with a big vandal-sharpie pen, a toothbrush and a slide whistle.

Though he may sound really random and dirty, he was more like a whimsical cartoon character that came to life. I got the impression that he probably smelled like plain soap and that one could use the pristine white toothbrush to wipe away even the gravest of transgressions. In a world where everyone else has their wallet, keys, watch, MP3 player and book to read on the metro, it’s refreshing to see someone who decides that all they need for the day is a bus pass, a slide whistle and kazoo to make some music, a marker to write on walls and a toothbrush (because dental hygiene is important). Fuck pockets, purses, satchels and all that noise; you can just put it wherever it wants to go and use it to keep your hair out of your eyes.


At 11:19 a.m., Blogger Sofi said...

This post is singlehandedly responsibly for giving me my first "I MISS MONTREAL!" heartpang.


At 6:28 p.m., Blogger K. Valliant-Saunders said...

I always miss Montreal. Jesuss! And its worse being a whole CONTINENT away instead of say, in toronto.

au mon dieu. Hope you're well.


At 2:19 a.m., Anonymous Benjamin said...

WTF have I missed since Monday night that results in your post starting with "Now that I'm once again forced to consider leaving Montreal"?!?

Also, I saw the biker trike dude again today! He's so hardcore, it hurts.


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