Pita is soon moving to the west coast of Canada, so I went to visit him in Montreal on the weekend. We lived together in residence in university and for two years in an apartment downtown, but hadn’t seen each other in years. I’m probably the only person to still think of him as Pita, the nickname given to him from the first week of residence. There were two pairs of roommates named Jeff and Peter, so everyone decided that one pair should have nicknames to make the distinction, and that ended up being us.
We spent most of the weekend playing Gamecube and watching movies like old times. It so fun to be able to turn off the brain and lose myself in a game like a kid again. It’s not like playing with ____, where I have to pander to his casual gaming abilities; Pita and I are both very competitive and often don’t stop playing until we finish a goal. In this case it was defeating Bowser, Captain Falcon, and Ganondorf in Super Smash Bros: Melee with a 3‑handicap. To our surprise, we eventually defeated Bowser with a 1‑handicap, and both agreed that we were satisfied enough to retire from this game we started playing almost ten years ago.
I wonder if growing up as Chinese boys in Canada has caused us to develop similarly. Pita’s the most similar person to me I’ve ever met in terms of intellectual tendencies. We’re the same person in a way, and we’re our old selves when we’re with each other.
But there are significant differences in our attitudes and mindsets, as if our experiences had refined us. Most of the details were like icebergs; tiny details visible on the surface but clues to larger underlying changes. The most obvious things being my tattoos and piercing, and his long hair which he wears like a samurai warrior.
Pita tends to be very analytic, methodical, and experimental about cooking, and I’d wanted to see how his skills have developed so I asked him to cook for me.
Montreal seems to be between Toronto and Ottawa in terms of the multiculturalism, crime, and culture. The roads are terribly maintained, frequently jutting off at awkward angles, and seriously, what’s with the diamond yellow light that turns on after the red?
For dinner on Saturday, Pita made reservations at an Afghani restaurant named Khyber Pass. It was amazing; the lamb was cooked until it fell off the bone, the spices gave the rice a distinctly regional taste, and every now and then a raisin would pop-in and surprise me with it’s sweetness.
On Saturday night we caught John Leguizamo’s one-man show called Klass Klown, which he also wrote himself. I chose him because I didn’t care for any of the comedians in the line-up (and this was before Steve Martin announced that he was going to be performing there, but after we’d already bought the tickets). It’s an adaptation of his memoirs about working in Hollywood, and probably the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in years, filled with dancing, witty commentary, and impressions of his co-stars and directors.
There were lots of little insights into the industry too, such as Harrison Ford being a pot smoker, and MADtv being a sketch comedy show that grew out of Leguizamo’s own variety show after they fired all the Latin actors and kept the only white one.
It was a dream come true to be at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal.