Saturday, June 25, 2005

Summer '05 Chronicles Issue 3: Blame it on the lunar cycle, or, Griffontown

Ed. note: 'Issue 2: Highschool Hell' was never published, partly because the experience was so scarring and partly due to the hangover. More time is needed before publication because upon reflection of that awful weekend, the hangover appears to return.

Yesterday was la Fete Nationale, and I promised to myself to not get lost in the francophone follies that took over Montreal. I failed miserably. After I last posted, the phone did ring, and I decided to meet my friend downtown to embark on an adventure. This friend was last seen in Issue 1, where we meandered down to the bout de l'ile and nearly didn't get out.

Before I left my home, I sensed something ominous in the air. It could have been the litter box, but I knew it was more than kitty doo-doo. I blamed it on the moon that was burning a dusty yellow hole in the sky. When I was getting ready to go out, I kept having these flashes of deja-vus, and everytime I reached for something to put in my purse, I would have this voice in the back of my head telling me "get a flashlight" or "get scissors". I tried to ignore the voice, because I could not rationalize bringing a huge maglight with me to go on a low-key hang-out with a friend.

When I got downtown and met A., we started walking south. No particular reason, other than I felt drawn to that area. Eventually we ended up in Griffontown, on the corner of Murray and Ottawa Streets and I was hit with the most chilling feeling. It was thrilling and scary, yet I felt that I had fulfilled something by getting to that point.

We kept walking, we played by the tracks and wandered around on the south side of the Lachine Canal. I lead the way based on following that chilling feeling. I could sense where to go, where not to go and everytime I went the "right" way, something was satisfied.

We passed by so many interesting things along the way that my flashlight and scissors really would have come in handy. As would have my camera. I am too poor right now to buy batteries so sadly, I have no pictures of the evening.

We sat down for a while outside the Costco and for the first time all day, I felt calm. Whatever had been ruling the journey or the day had passed. I looked to the moon and it was no longer that dusty colour of yellowy-orange.. it had turned white again.

On we went, after a few more smokes and some random discussions about the nature of humanity, and we came across the most magical place I have seen so far in Montreal. From far away it looks like a park that takes up an entire triangular block, with the only trees occupying the north end and the park benches are lined up in two rows facing the trees.

When we got closer, we saw that there were old stones in the ground, that seemed to outline a building that was once in that spot. There was a little historical background write-up on one of those hideous tourist signs and I learned that this was the site of St. Ann's, one of the area's biggest Irish Catholic Church.

There was gravel in the park marking where the aisles would have been and the park benches seemed to represent the pews. There was a sense of calm in that space that I always find in old churches, even though I am not catholic in any way, shape or form. In fact, sometimes, I feel like some churches want to burn me alive for my sins whenever I walk through the entrance.

The strange thing about this was that although the calm existed and could not be denyed, the open air and the exposure to the wind seemed to give the space a sense of unrest. The energy that defines that area was made when there were walls surrounding it. Now, with no real boundaries, the energy has been changed in a remarkable way. I have never experienced anything quite like it.

When I stood under the trees, my friend A. whispered to me, "do you feel like the trees are watching you?"

He was right... the trees were blowing in the wind and peering down on us. As protectors of this spiritual ground, they had so much to say to us, and I wanted to stay all night and listen. My legs had to keep going though, so I said my farewells to the trees and we carried on.

A few blocks away, we found ourselves in a sort of warehouse district and I could hear music off in the distance. A. chalked it up to overnight garage workers but I knew what was really going on. We followed the music, which got worse and worse as we got closer to it, and found ourselves a little warehouse party.

Riiiight, it is St. Jean Baptiste Day....

So we acquired free entrance, bought a couple of drinks and reveled in the sheer randomness of our evening, that was not quite over yet.

This party was the lamest party I have ever seen. Bedroom DJ's were given a tolerable sound system to play with and non-dancers who were far too drunk were dancing to the awful noise. One girl was dancing with a punching bag that hung from the ceiling. (nice decorating job there)
It was horrifying.

I deemed that the only thing to do was get my dance on and show these lame-ass francos how to shake your booty. I jumped in the "crowd" and within 5 seconds I had the attention of nasty trolls who were hooting and whistling at me. I guess the francos were all bottled up with unused catcalling after being surrounded by icky, uncoordinated females all evening, so I took one for the team and was hollered at.

I think one of the reasons that the music was so consistently crappy was so that the bad dancers could dance to something that matched their style. Whenever the DJ would start to pick it up a tad, everyone would stop moving and not know what to do with themselves. It was pathetic. I deemed that the type of music they were playing was FrancoFunkCore. It was made by francos for francos, had a bit of funk in it and well, anything that ends with 'core' just sounds super lame, which this was.

After I could take no more of this bizarre event, we left quickly, wondering what the fuck that was. I still don't really know.

Anyhow, we found Guy St., caught my night bus and jumped in a sprinkler that was running across the street from my apartment.

And that was how I spent my first St. Jean Baptiste Day in Montreal. It was the sober day that should have been drunk. It was the sober night that should have been high. Next time I know to bring a good supply of beer, vodka and MDMA to carry me through another adventure like this one. Or maybe not. It was magical, touching and spiritual without any additives. So maybe sobriety can have its moments afterall.

1 comment:

Splurge said...

I know that church (the ruins, that is)... it's just a few blocks from where I live. I hap-hazardly came across it just last fall while trying out a new jogging route. Interesting to learn new stuff about a city I've lived in for half my life.