Posts tagged with "Ottawa"

in the arms of men

My wit and my elo­quence are not at their best at this par­tic­u­lar moment, which is why I have no quick riposte to your rib­bing. All my humour is dry and self-deprecating any­way. It’s mak­ing me won­der if you think I can’t take an Asian joke or two. The truth is, I don’t know how to make fun of any­one but myself.

Too bad you’ve got piss tests com­ing up. We’ve got this bal­cony, the right occa­sion, and I don’t drink any­more. Doesn’t mean I can’t lis­ten to your war sto­ries, or dan­gle in the air when you give out bear hugs. Perhaps I’d be less awk­ward when it comes to such bond­ing if I was in high-school JV foot­ball. Seth made the team one year, and scored a touch­down for guys like us.

downtown Ottawa

 

I remem­ber you. Iain and I went to buy a $5 hit off your bong 10 years ago, back when we cut our teeth on prairie fires and five-cent wings and I’ll-never-do-that-again. You were danc­ing to jazz by your­self in a beater and per­pet­ual Kangol when we walked in, but you wore no shame on your face. The world is small when our lives are not.

Last time I saw Iain was at the house­warm­ing, but I still think of him every time I use those crys­tal glasses he gave me that day. He would have wanted them filled with some­thing tight-bodied and twelve-years old. Nowadays all I can take is a lit­tle Bailey’s on my Mayan choco­late Häagen-Dazs. Luckily they’re also per­fect for ice cream.

bachelor

 

I’ve long missed these nights. Breathing fresh air when step­ping out of a stuffy bar. That sud­den calm when com­ing out of the din. Big groups with the chance to change con­ver­sa­tions. Nights that have been replaced by din­ners with nuclear fam­i­lies and one-on-ones. Oddly enough, the only thing in com­mon are sto­ries of how one’s son is learn­ing to play with his dick. The world would have me believe that a man isn’t made by the drinks he orders but by the atten­tion he gives his kids.

If only I didn’t have to go so soon. I’ve never been to the peel­ers in Ottawa, and I can only imag­ine where my bills will end up.

moments between cities

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The drive home is always eas­ier. Not because I’m leav­ing, but because it’s when I can catch my breath after some relent­less debauch­ery I excuse as being for a spe­cial occasion.

I’m at an age where my body will feel this over the next two days, spent recov­er­ing phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. Luckily, exhaus­tion numbs the senses, and makes the time pass quicker on those long stretches where dis­tance is mea­sured in hours.

driving at night sepia

Cousins, British humour, heart­break, shots, glut­tony, rum­ble strips, but never enough time.

The 401 is the kind of high­way that Springsteen used to write about on his heart­land folk albums, the only ones I ever liked. The songs were never about a road itself, but about all the lust and hate and change that hap­pened between two peo­ple when they trav­elled along that road.

In the same way, dri­ving the 401 has always been when I have a chance to find myself. It often leaves me feel­ing like a dif­fer­ent per­son when I get to where I’m going.

Senators vs. Leafs '06

They call it the bat­tle for Ontario. The Ottawa Senators against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

One of the pub­lish­ers I deal with at work schmoozed me, along with Joel and Louise. We’ve given them a fair amount of busi­ness over the last lit­tle while, each of us involved in a dif­fer­ent part of the process, so he treated us to a Sens game. Even though my team (the Leafs) got pounced 7–2, it was still an excit­ing game; lots of end-to-end action, close penalty kills, and Heatly scored a hat-trick. The Leafs were sim­ply out-finessed. Great seats too. Coincidentally, we ran into Rockstar Jeff at the game.


Thumbnail: Me and Joel
Thumbnail: Hockey rink
Thumbnail: Rockstar Jeff
Full stadium

Eva Avila, this year’s win­ner of Canadian Idol, lead the national anthem. To my sur­prise, I was able to fol­low with the French, but it was all pho­netic. Something I learned in grade school, but never actu­ally understood.

It was a lit­tle dis­heart­en­ing to see how every­thing is so com­mer­cial­ized. Scotiabank place, VIA Rail goals (com­plete with train horn when some­one scores), Jubilee Timex time. Even Pizza Pizza spon­sors a free slice if the Sens win and score six goals or more.

There were prob­a­bly an even num­ber of Sens fans and than Leafs fans, but the lat­ter were def­i­nitely more vocal. Any Sens chants were drowned out. It’s easy to tell how gal­va­nized fans get in such a rivalry from com­ments I received on a pre­vi­ous post.

The best part was before the game even started. Master Corporal Paul Franklin from Edmonton, who lost both his legs in a sui­cide attack in Afghanistan, came to drop the cer­e­mo­nial first puck. They rolled out the red car­pet to cen­tre ice, and he hob­bled along with metal legs. Both sides of the rivalry cheered and clapped as one, louder than any other point in the night, proud of their sur­viv­ing soldier.

It was quite a poignant, misty-eyed moment.

Transitway Six

Thumbnail: Transitway

On days like this, it’s bet­ter to wear light cloth­ing, and throw on a hooded wind­breaker. The rain out­side is just a driz­zle, so it’s com­fort­ably cool. Pay no atten­tion to the hydraulic hiss of the wind­shield wipers, or you won’t be able to help hear­ing them through the quiet parts of every song. Window seats are prime. There are fewer dis­trac­tions from peo­ple walk­ing down the aisle.

The 95 goes from one end of the city to the other, straight through the heart of Ottawa. Every stop is a mem­ory. Old haunts. Past lives.

Here was your first apart­ment. Sometimes you’d find Christie wait­ing for you here on the benches between classes. How long ago those days seem, how imma­ture and rel­a­tively inno­cent. The next two stops are on the edge of the uni­ver­sity cam­pus, four years of scat­tered tru­ancy. Two stops later is where you use to buy a medium caramel cor­retto every morn­ing after an exhaust­ing night with Louise. Your old gov­ern­ment office is another two on. The con­crete build­ing looks so for­eign now, and you won­der if the same peo­ple are still inside. Another few stops is your last apart­ment, before buy­ing the house, the end of bus rides home every day.

Music never meant so much.

You pass by con­struc­tion sites, fin­ished build­ings, see the evo­lu­tion of the city.

Every stop can be traced to a dif­fer­ent point, a dif­fer­ent girl­friend, a dif­fer­ent path in your life.

Six years of expe­ri­ence, six years of shift­ing, ever-changing anima.

Six years passed.

Six years lived.

Six years grown.