Saturday, August 26, 2006

Missing Montreal

I think I'll always miss Montreal. Food was what I missed third, after people and culture. But now that I miss food, I miss it acutely. Adjusting to suburban American life, I've realized I no longer have ready access to yummy things like good baguette, Montreal breakfasts (les oeufs benedictine at Cote Soleil and Cafe Fruits Folie), Blanche de Chambly, Coup de Grisou, pate, Portuguese grilled chicken, and goat cheese. Yes, even goat cheese. Chavrie is sold at the supermarket chain here, but it's $6.99. Fucking Six Ninety Nine! Oh well, at least good California wine is cheap and abundant here. And North Carolina wine too. Stop laughing.

I probably missed Montreal even while I lived there. The city frequently gave me sunny arm-swingy euphoria-inducing stomach-flipping days, especially in my last five weeks there. But sometimes it showed its melancholy side too.

This is one of my favorite storefronts in the Plateau.

It's from an old Jewish owned shop that sold "Planters (Biggest Name in Peanuts), Stationery, Candy, Twine, Etc."

Just what does the "Etc" stand for anyway?


Diogenes Teufelsdröckh said...

Hey, if you're going to miss a city, miss a great one. May I suggest Tokyo? Whether Montreal qualifies, my research continues.

Shame on those who would laugh at the burgeoning vineyards of North Carolina. Mullet Estates and Wal-Mart Groves have produced some of the finest Red State Reds.

The etc. store is still there, a stark challenge to us heirs of the Enlightenment. Work day or leisure day, it mocks our bourgeois pretentions with its surreal list of objects "for sale"--yet not! Just another one of the city's brilliant Dada installations.

Montreal misses you too. And you shall know my blog. And it shall be a mighty blog.

Anonymous said...

For shame!
One misses what one misses, greatness be damned. And, perhaps the missing makes the greatness?
Compared to latter-day NYC, LA, Boston, Chi, Montreal has a vibrancy, reality and aliveness thoroughly lacking in those lawyer-driven, shoes-and-movies, imported-culture towns. The key? Govt support of the arts, small businesses,(albeit flawed) health care, and an enthusiasm for immigrants. All lacking elsewhere in the US. Outside the US? I have no grounds for comparison.

muse said...

Oh, it's ok anonymous. I don't think anyone is seriously dissing Montreal. At least not Montreal itself, as a city. Though I like your idea that perhaps the missing is what makes it great.

Certainly anything and anyone missed by ME becomes great because it is missed by ME, and not for any other reason.

And tavish, I much prefer the White Trash Whites to the Redneck . . . erm, Red State . . . Reds.

JMai said...

It's hard to know what "etc." would stand for in a shop that sells such a selection of miscellany.

I've only been to Montreal once, when I was a child. I was looking forward to visiting again this fall -- it seems like it would be such a lovely place in the fall -- and popping over to Quebec City. And then I got The New Job and all holiday plans are dashed.

Oooh, if it makes you feel any better, I'm sure you'll find something... um, somewhere. There's actually a little french bakery down the street from my old office, with honest-to-goodness croque messieurs and apricot tarts and everything. It's not quite charming but it's not entirely suburban gauche. Miracles do happen!

Diogenes Teufelsdröckh said...

Thanks, anonymous, for taking time between lapping up and smugly buying fairtrade coffee to affirm the reality and vibrancy of Montreal. As a resident, I can indeed confirm that the city is real, and its molecules are in almost constant vibration. The enthusiasm for immigrants is overwhelming; why, just today, the manager at the market called the East Indian man in front of me Swami. He didn't respond, but deep down he knew it was a good joke. And so many of us suck at the plentiful teat of gov't arts support that we abandoned the paper economy years ago to barter ballet and sculptures for our needfuls.

American cities, on the other hand, are false consciousness spewed out by the Matrix to collect your life force while you languish in a tub of corporate goo.