The Little Matter of Montreal

The Little Matter of Montreal – Part II (deux, to the initiated)

Needless to say, I am not a crawler. I strut, I catwalk, I promenade and boulevardier, but the non-mechanical horizontal mode of transportation is not for me. As we were walking into Cantic, Ypres tried to cheer me up by saying we were indeed lucky that our crawl from the tracks underneath the train to the bushes did not elicit any attention.

“Luck, Ypres,” I interjected, “would have been managing that feat without compromising my stylish travel ensemble! I do not know what training railroad engineers go through these days, but evidently, they skip the course on proper drainage. As a tragic result, I am covered in mud, and whatever those berries were in those bushes.”

“I believe it is blueberry season.”

“Well, if it is, I assume, judging by the number of stains on my outfit, that the harvest will be a good one this year.”

Just as I was wrapping up on things agricultural, the freight train into Montreal decided to make an unceremonial appearance stage left with the sort of horn blast used to clear a field of caribou. Ypres started an effortless, yet precise, jog alongside. With ease she reached one of the freight car doors, unlocked and opened it like a dexterous lobster on a mission, and hoisted herself on board. The whole manoeuvre took about ninety seconds. Had it been filmed, it could no doubt have become the basis of a training video for the fugitively inclined.

However, one thing Ypres lacked was panache. Panache is my department. As she was extending her arm from the moving train, I strutted alongside, shoulders back, head held high, insouciant eyes fixed on the endpoint.

Unfortunately, through no fault of my own, I might add, it seems the nostalgic insist on keeping telephone lines along train tracks. These lines, of course, necessitate poles. While I appreciate that form must follow function, the principle proved incontinent (or is it inconvenient?) when one of these poles was in my way.

Although not technically heading my way, it was getting close to me at an alarming speed as I strutted alongside the train. Displaying my usual cool headedness, I was able to grab Ypres’s outreached arm to be hoisted on board at the precise moment when a collision seemed imminent. The lower part of my outfit was not so fortunate, as the pole evidently had some sort of nail artistically placed to give a pleasing visual effect. This nail ripped the lower half of my Dior travel ensemble, leaving me bare-legged.

The pain was indescribable: le tout-Paris would be beside itself!

Ypres offered some sort of wheat bag to cover my legs. Evidently, we had hitched a ride in a wheat car. The creative challenge was great. “I can make this work,” I said with aplomb.

With Ypres aid, I had just arranged the bag’s fabric to something that would gain prime place at the Venice Biennale when the bright lights of Montreal came into view.


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