So I've been wandering around feeling crushingly fatigued and restless and irritable and wondering what the hell is wrong with me and then I thought, well DUH, I'm an introvert. And all the carousing and merriment and ever-so-mild debauchery of late has plumb drained my aloneness tanks to virtual emptiness. Even this week, when usually I'd be alone for a few hours during the day, got eaten up by errands and plans that necessitated my rubbing shoulders with the human public to an absolutely exhausting extent.
So, Montreal. With two friends from high school who now live in Halifax - three of us, down from the usual six due to the vagaries of family and employment. Anne Marie is a doctor and, it has to be said, a massive weirdo who I adore, even when she's haranguing strangers or service personnel. Sheila works at the BIO and even though I made her describe her average work day for me in excruciating detail, I still can't remember exactly what she does. She is also my age with a four-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old, so she is very, very tired.
Friday when Anne Marie got out of her palliative care conference, we asked the concierge for what I thought was going to be a restaurant recommendation but my never-drank-in-high-school somehow-turned-into-a-huge-lush-over-the-past-ten-years doctor friend asked for a bar recommendation instead. The concierge was about to send us to one place, then suddenly he backtracked and said that place would probably be packed at this point and gave us another recommendation. We took this at face value at the time, but then on the way in the cab we realized it was 4:40 p.m. and figured that he probably realized we were way too old and uncool for the first place.
We got to the bar. It wasn't open yet (because, newsflash, it was four fucking forty p.m., what the hell were we thinking? Well, that we wanted to get shitfaced AND be in bed by nine-thirty, but apparently that doesn't fly in Montreal). So we went down the street to this place and tried to order boozy hot chocolate, but they wouldn't let us order booze without ordering food and we didn't want food yet (jesus christ, it was like all of Montreal was conspiring to keep us sober). So we got a caramelia 34% and a Xocolatl épicé and some other thing that needed instructions on how to decant and drink. Then Anne Marie went to look at the chocolate stuff for sale, and Sheila started imitating Anne Marie in the cab, when she asked for money back from the twenty-dollar bill she gave the cab driver and he said something to his dispatcher but she thought he was arguing with her and snarled I NEED CHANGE while I tried to climb over Sheila who was between me and the cab door leading to the sidewalk, while he stared at all of us. Sheila imitating Anne Marie growling I NEED CHANGE now caused the people at the next table to stare at us, so I left to go find Anne Marie, tried to tell her what had just happened and ended up laughing so hard I couldn't speak, which then caused everyone else in the place to start staring at us. So now our work here was done.
We went back to the bar. It was cool. The chairs looked like big hands and the drinks menu was on records. Also, the bartender was charming and attentive, possibly because there was absolutely no one else in the joint for the three hours we spent there, but I prefer to think it was our scintillating collective personality. As far as I remember, we had a Sweet Tart, a Jacques Brel, a Captain America, and something that the waiter swore didn't have tequila in it, but it sure as fuck had tequila in it. Then we did a bunch of shooters. Anne Marie made a reservation at an Italian restaurant down the street on her iPhone. We weaved down the street to the restaurant and met Natasha.
You know when a waitress is so freaking amazing at being sincere that you know that means she's just even more insincere than everyone else, because she's insincere enough to really sell being sincere? You could have sworn this woman had been waiting all her life just to serve us dinner. And it wasn't just because of the shooters that we thought this, because after insisting that we order the charcuterie platter for an appetizer, she brought Julio the meat chopping guy over and introduced him to us, and HE did not seem that enchanted to be our meat-chopping guy AT ALL. The food was amazing, and the wine was highly enjoyable, but by the end of the night we were just there for Natasha. We wanted to take a picture of her so we said 'can we take a picture of you' and she thought we wanted HER to take a picture of US, and we were like, 'no, we want to take a picture of you and send it to our husbands so they'll be jealous of us' and she was like 'um.....' and we were like 'look, we're all totally gay for you AND we're hammered, you're getting a gargantuan tip out of this' and she was like 'cheese!' Then, as we were about to pay the bill, I suddenly clicked over from that perfect state of blissful floaty everyfuckingthing in the world is fantastic to that unperfect state of it's going to be awkward if I have to spend the rest of the night throwing up and we only have one bathroom. But I didn't. So it was still one of the top twenty-five nights in my life.