29 February 2016

North Korea, ATMs, Ouzo, The Main

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best pic i found on insta w/ #saintlaurent

For a time last semester, I would go to Midway on random weekdays until 3 and stretch it out until 5. Now it’s reading week and of course I fall back into the cycle. The way it worked last semester, I’d text Miranda and ask if she wanted to go to Midway at 2ish. Sometimes, she’d say no because she had an assignment the next day. Basically all the time, we’d just go. It was like a pointless game of chicken or some twisted, privileged drinking ritual, I guess. Doesn’t hurt that they have good drinks at Midway.

This time, I got the upper hand early on. By 2:30, it seemed like I was winning, or at least on the verge of getting her to quit. Then, she plays the trump card and suggests The Main and ouzo. Didn’t see that coming. I wasn’t about to bitch out and let her win, so, by 2:50, I was standing outside the Main with a water bottle full of ouzo. Just the way it goes. Pride before prudence. She got there a couple minutes later and we go inside.

I also wasn’t about to drop twenty on a dinner after I’d already eaten so I just let her buy something. She can’t finish a full meal, which means that I basically get the fries, coleslaw pickles, as much smoked meat that, honestly, I want to take. Oh, she’s on Lent. I got the cherry cola as well. So, I essentially got a full meal from this. I chalk this up as a net win for me even if this went on for another three hours.

In The Main, there’s always this really nice woman who serves us. This night, we didn’t see her at first and an elderly lady served us. It seemed like she was ready to close up and go to bed. Maybe, we shouldn’t drink there if this lady is about ninety and clearly too tired for this kind of shit. But, out comes the middle aged one and all order is restored. Everytime she’s served us, we’ve drank ouzo. Tradition is tradition. We always tip well.

I hadn’t seen Miranda for a while, so there was a lot to talk about, but I’d spent a lot of time with other people recently, so I wasn’t too much into talking. Instead, we watched wack reporting courtesy of CNN. Interestingly, it was a Haier TV. Reminds me of my grandmother’s. HA. There was a story about some American guy detained by North Korea. Goof-ass clown. Keep flaunting your privilege and go watch some poverty porn in North Korea. Straight up: WHITES, STAY HOME. North Korea has every right to detain some overprivileged college bro who goes to their country to fetishize their depravity and steal a flag as a trophy. Frankly, the guy was the worst actor I’ve ever seen. The speech sounded like a thirteen-year-old prepubescent boy who was trying to read a shitty script in drama class. Whatever.

So, during CNN and smoked meat, the boss comes by and tells us that they’re closing. Alarms start sounding, in my head, and I pour the ouzo into our glasses of water. The guy had a pretty stern tone. I guess he either hoped that no one would be there at 3 on Sunday night/ Monday morning, or he was pissed I didn’t order. And of course, as soon as I poured the ouzo and the water turned cloudy, the nice server comes and gets us to pay. It was an awkward exchange. I kept staring at the white kid’s theatrics on CNN, hoping to avoid eye contact. We then drink about a glass each of ouzo split with water and we’re on our way. Everyone said goodbye to us and wished us a good morning. Ahhhhh

First stop on the ATM tour of lower plateau: Banque Nationale at Saint-Cuthbert and Saint-Laurent. It was pretty mediocre at that point since we barely had that much to drink. We got in and passed around my beautiful PVC Nalgene bottle and just kind of sat there for a bit. I probably threw some jabs at Miranda. Lighting wasn’t the greatest. Neither was the privacy. About ten minutes in, a Quebecois voice blares out the intercom: “Est-ce que je peux vous aider?” It’s hard to render the effect in print.

Next stop, Banque Laurentienne around Roy and Saint-Lo. This one I think I remembered from before. Sure enough, five minutes in an alarm sounded. I was reminded of elementary school fire drills. We probably got in a couple sips.

So we kept walking and we end up at the B & Y grocery store. Luckily, I had no milk or garlic or cilantro. So I bought my groceries and we got to about half way down the bottle. We walked around for a bit and a man seemed like he was following us. Oh, there’s a CIBC ATM in the grocery store.

Now a double feature. On Prince-Arthur and SL, a TD and a Scotia gave the night some much needed anglo flair. At least I hoped they would. TD had a preemptive alarm before I even put my hand on the door, and Scotia was closed.

Final Destination: Banque Nationale. Dos. We got to about three quarters done and then the disembodied Quebecois man returned. I guess the only way to describe it this time would be to equate myself to Moses. I felt like my Jews, the various ATMs, Egyptian tyrants, the droplets of ice rain outside, and my God, the Quebecois voice. What a glorious time.  Hold up. Moses was imaginary, so no harm done.

I am a stranger in a stranger land.

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