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.


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 Nights that have been replaced by dinners with nuclear families and one-on-ones.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

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.