This Is Getting Really Scary

Maybe you thought I was being histrionic when I posted this? Well……

Collapse in Ville-Marie Tunnel

As you can see from the above picture, a concrete slab fell to the ground in the tunnel portion of Autoroute Ville-Marie this morning. Fortunately — very fortunately — no one was hurt, and it probably helped that it happened on a Sunday morning when the Ville-Marie is not as busy. Repair work started in the tunnel last week and the collapse is being blamed on vibrations from that work.

This is one stretch of highway I know very well. If I don’t opt for the métro to go to the Village, this is where I drive to get there. Always. I’ve probably travelled that way hundreds of times since I’ve been living in Montréal. And although rare, I’ve been known to be at that very spot on a Sunday morning around the time this happened.

The same trip from my place to the Village through the city streets takes about 30 minutes instead of 15 minutes by the Ville-Marie. Today, for the sake of an experiment, I came back home from the Wal*Mart in Saint-Léonard by following Rue Jean-Talon instead of taking Autoroutes Métropolitaine and Décarie. It took me a few minutes shy of an hour …on a Sunday afternoon! I bet it would have taken half that time had I not opted for this little experiment.

It’s crazy! The city is THAT congested even WITH the network of expressways, and that network is literally falling apart. It’s infuriating to think that long-term maintenance has been ignored to this point.

It Feels So Good

So, yeah, I’m one of those suckers for high-energy anthems like this.

This was Day 1 of my 2011 summer vacation. To be blunt, this was one of those bad days …up until tonight’s fireworks, the last of this year’s annual competition in Montréal.

I know I’ll be going to the Maritimes, but I still haven’t decided the dates of my itinerary. When I got up late this morning, despite it being a beautiful summer’s day, my motivation to get anything done was sub-zero. I still have the winter tires on Junior and I would rather not do this long trip with them, plus he needs an oil change. What’s more, in the past month, the 10 Plagues of Egypt have nearly all played out in the apartment, and with only a few minutes’ warning, yet another workman — another one of the Irish super‘s sons — showed up at my door. I was civil with him, but barely. I just can’t take one more unwanted intrusion when I get in this mood. When he finally left, I mustered up the energy to go to the nearest WalMart to see about getting the work on Junior done. But “shoes” fitting Junior were out of stock and I found myself in the Saint-Léonard WalMart where, to make a long story short, I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon to get the job done.

Back home, my foul mood turned to nostalgia and I began looking up stuff on YouTube. Last weekend while out at Le Stud, I heard this song (posted above) that’s been haunting me for over a decade. I got lucky: I knew neither the title nor the singer, but after a few crafty searches, I found Sonique’s It Feels So Good. I don’t care if it’s not profound; it gets my spine all tingly each time I listen to it and, so, true to its title, it feels so good.

That wasn’t all that felt so good. So did my old standby, Michael Franks. This song brings me back to 1988 when one time at the Sacateria at Mount Saint Vincent University, I got Tina to listen to this tune on my Walkman. Indeed, I was remembering how she was floored by the lyrics and sound of Michael’s Innuendo.

Michael Franks — Innuendo (mp3, 8.45 MB, 5:52)
By the way, Torn, if you’re reading this, I suspect this might be completely up your alley…

And, of course, I also wandered to an earlier time with another Mike — Mike Oldfield, that is — alongside Sara during those odd times in the mid-’80s we spent together in Moncton. I realize Oldfield isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but for those of us he is, his masterworks like Crises can arouse the full range of emotions.

As late afternoon blended into early evening, I peeled myself from the computer to head to the métro to see the fireworks. I decided to go early to avoid the mad crunch and stay on the orange line to Berri-UQAM instead of transferring on the green line and going directly to Papineau. Being early afforded me the time to grab a few slices of pizza in the Village and call it supper before heading under the bridge to see the fireworks, which tonight were a tribute to the Beatles. But still early, I stopped in a park along Ste-Catherine for a smoke, whereupon a conversation was struck with me by he whom I shall henceforth dub in this blog Greco.

We ended up going to the fireworks together, and then returned to the Village for coffee, ostensibly to let the crowd dissipate before taking the métro back home. What I didn’t expect is that I would be returning home on the very last métro of the day, which fortunately is after 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, let alone the stuff he and I ended up talking about and could have talked about if I hadn’t been stuck on the idea of not taking night buses back home instead of the métro.

Back home, I posted a new status on Facebook: “Sometimes you just have to wonder why fate places someone on your path while you must simultaneously suppress the other thought that’s roaming through your mind, namely ‘What a waste.'” Indeed, cue to this posting last year. At the same time, I feel bad for thinking that. I feel it’s a poisonous thought in many ways and on so many levels.

It’s forcing me to think about, if not reconsider, the uneasiness of my relationships with straight guys. The catch, however — and I don’t think Greco would be offended by my saying this — is that I would not have known that he is straight if he hadn’t told me. Tonight certainly was a great lesson in debunking identity politics, that’s for sure! And by this I’m referring not simply to stereotypes and conjuncture, but to legitimate narratives of the fluid nature of forging one’s identity.

Back in my 20s, I could hardly stand being around straight guys. For me back in the ’80s, there seemed to be only two speeds between me and a straight guy: rejection or unease from the straight guy toward the gay guy. Hence only a very few straight guys were “okay” if sometimes begrudgingly, namely the partners of straight female friends and some work colleagues. Despite evolving attitudes generally, mine clearly evolved very little. Furthermore, they have been kept from evolving whenever I would come upon straight guys who are my age or even younger and they would often strike me as so old and so boring compared to me. In other words, I simply couldn’t (and often still can’t) relate to them at any level.

Then, when you least expect it, someone comes along and promptly debunks these preconceived notions. Yet you feel bad because some of those notions persist, like the “what a waste” idea. In fact, it’s downright infuriating when it happens because they can get in the way of a delightful human contact.

That aside, however, I feel that this day has come full circle, back to “It Feels So Good.” No, I’m not getting stuck on the specifics of that song’s lyrics, as that would be ridiculous to the highest degree. But I am thinking about how it does feel so good to have so unexpectedly encountered something and someone at this precise time when I suppose I needed it most. For as BeeGoddessC is fond of saying, people are usually placed in your path for a reason, and I’m already sensing that this was not only one evening’s pleasant conversation. At least, I’m hoping that’s not all it was.