(1)


(2) rolling canada ~2002


From my nook I kept a half awake eye on Panic, Fear and all the other vicious, late-night goodness that lurks around on the streets while you sleep.

. . .


Suburban idleness and extravagant waste. Complete home furnishings duplicated hundreds of millions of times : each family must have one, or ideally two or more of every item. This is required to keep things going. Sometimes the immense weight of the world sneaks up real quiet and smashes all that careful order in my head into pieces. I am staring into a livingroom of daydreams and setbacks.

The suburban kids are bored, restless for something to do which does not arrive prepackaged and shrink wrapped in easy to pay-per-view installments. Corporate commerce has these suburbs on lockdown. They are a kingdom of corporate manufacture custom tailored for ease of exploitation. The genius of the design will stifle attempts to deviate or provide alternatives, the structure will reinforce itself. The One-stop Big-box stores with unbeatable prices and endless selection are the most patient and ruthless immune system conceivable.

. . .


Our double-stack intermodal is sleeping bags with stars overhead at a hundred km per hour through the countryside. Keep your head down at crossings and drink up scenery.

. . .


Morning in the Parc du Mont Royal, secret camping hideout-style with the squirrels and birds. This is the best sleep I have had on the trip, and possibly the best sleep I have had in my life. The green trees and leaves are an incredible luxury in between all the city streets.

. . .


On a park bench outside a grocery store I write postcards to the States. An elderly gentleman next to me pretends he is not reading over my shoulder. He has a distinct composure and presence, a tight lipped smile with a well positioned pub hat. The sort of frowning, polite and friendly nose-first curiosity that takes decades to perfect. When little children walk by he makes choked, gurgling, strangled cat hiss-noises at them and grins widely. The children cringe and shrink away, trying to hide behind their mothers legs. I feel bad. He means well, just as his reading while I write and discreetly looking away too slowly when I stop to look over at him is not ill intentioned. He is curious. He smiles and greets all of the older men that walk by. I wonder whether he grew up in this neighborhood, has known them since birth and watched the city change and grow, become familiar and then slowly grow foreign again.

. . .


Montreal has inspired very little despair in me, so far it is a city of hope and chance. In the park the children climb over, around and on everything (even through!). They climb up onto the water fountain and pretend it is a horse, leaning into it like they are riding against the wind sometimes taking elegant drinks from it as well. It makes me happy to watch them, gives me energy and will. I like Les Vivres for the people, but the food is good too. M and I spy a secret fort, and keep it a secret.

. . .


K picks me up in his company truck. It is difficult to tell the difference between a slushy refrigeration unit repair truck and a regular white pickup. Theres good money in the field, apparently. He grew up on a farm and left at thirteen. Ken now owns a small farm of his own further up north in the province, and he resents the native population for being a "tax burden". He fails to recognize that everything he sees as his own was taken from others mostly by force or deception. He would rather not look beyond the comfortable limits at what might register a chink in the meat and potatoes, hard work, road-to-success foundation he has built his life on. This is the holding back words and powerless frustration part of hitchhiking which I dread and usually forget until it occurs again.

. . .


Regina has a kind of indistinct crappiness to it. This slightly creepy (in the far too nice sort of way) business man is giving me a driving tour of the city after personally introducing his entire office staff. He points out the landmarks of lesser fame, highschools and libraries. I really like this humble tour.

. . .


The "please" on the sign goes a long way when you want a ride.

. . .


Strangers have been, and continue to be, very kind to me. Thank you.

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