Hot Child in the City

It’s been weird to be back in the city.  However, I’m not sure if “weird” is the right word.  For starters, we’re in the middle of a heat wave, so “Goddamn-F’ing-HOT!!”might be more appropriate.  A heat wave (after two months by the ocean and now suddenly land-locked) that seems as shocking as the way I imagine that first testicle hitting the water of a Polar Bear Plunge might be to a man.  A heat wave magnified to demonic proportions by the sheer, radiating fact of redundant slabs of concrete ricocheting heat waves between buildings like a rallied match of Pong played with fireballs; blanketed by a down duvet of carbon emissions and exhaust and I feel like I have taken up residence in Lucifer’s Lava Lounge.  I live in a microwave.

All I do is sweat and then try to find ways to avoid sweating.  In between this sweat aversion I teach, sweating more and making more people sweat.  It’s actually a great time to practice hot yoga.  Since you’re sweating anyways, you may as well stretch at the same time.  Actually, it might even be cooler in the hot room than out in that loud, drippy inferno which is now my home.  Certainly that first blast of air conditioning going up the stairs to the studio makes it worth the sticky walk up St. Laurent.

I feel antsy in the city.  On edge.  I jump at the sound of car horns, put my arms over my ears when an ambulance passes, and nearly got run over by a hipster on a ten-speed.  (And since when did ten-speeds become all the rage?)  He yelled something at me in French as I leaped back onto the curb and I’m pretty sure he was not complimenting me on my sundress.  Why does everyone seems so stressed and angry?  Probably, they are as F-ing hot as I am.

It is like Montreal is a city full of contradictions.  On the one hand you have the stressed, the angry, the rushed and freaked out, and on the other hand, you find these little pockets of Peace.  Places where you realize that Montreal operates on a different frequency.  A vibe that is unique only to here.  A place where people are free.  People seem to get “LIFE”.  Where people truly work to live instead of living to work.  A place where people eat croissants and creamy cheese without calorie counting or guilt.

Take, for example, The Pool.  In the city, it is known as the “secret pool” and yet everyone knows which pool you are talking about.  Tucked into the side of Mont Royal, behind the Royal Victoria Hospital.  A pool devoid of screaming kiddies, without worry of a pee-infested swim.  Most pools are surrounded by yet another concrete slab, yet this pool has respectable grass on all four sides.  I pay my 5 dollars to get in, and once I lay down my towel, I am immersed not only in clear, cool waters, but by a social phenomenon that would only take place in Montreal.  Hipsters, the young, the old, the attractive and unattractive (but let’s face it, the majority of Montreal is attractive) all gather to find a reprieve from the Microwave, bringing beer or wine, joints and chips…truly anything goes here.    I try to read or nap, but mostly I pretend to do so while eavesdropping on conversations surrounding me.  I overheard two people, seemingly on a first date, talk about the differences (and benefits) of Moksha versus Bikram.  With pride, it seemed Moksha won the argument.   I watched a girl with enormous, fake breasts pose in front of the pool while her friend snapped photos on her IPhone.  A woman practiced yoga, and an elderly man rubbed sunscreen onto his wife’s wrinkled shoulders.

I walk my dog through Parc Lafontaine and cling to the shady spots.  I NEVER cling to the shady spots.  But it brings me so much joy to see so many people out on their bikes; riding or running, Tai-Chi-ing, slack-lining, juggling, Frisbee-ing, drinking, napping, reading, writing, singing and making out.  I mean, did I just drop into a Toulouse-Lautrec painting??  What level of bohemia have I just landed into?

There is something to be learned from this city.  This city of contradictions.  You have a choice.  You can be angry and stressed out.  Bitter and frustrated.  Tense and annoyed and always the victim; stuck, trapped and pigeon-holed.  Or you can choose to be free:  to sweat your balls off, but to do so with fervor and joy and passion and grace.

In the meantime, I choose The Pool.  Because it is the coolest form of Peace that I can find for the time being; a place where I can tap into the vibe of this magical place, find some silence from all the noise, and for one goddamn minute, stop this incessant sweating!!!!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Robin
    Aug 05, 2012 @ 06:58:14

    You’re lucky – sweat looks good on you! Can’t wait to watch the world go by with you in Montreal babe. S
    ounds intoxicating 🙂


  2. Kimberley Smith
    Aug 05, 2012 @ 13:37:24

    Welcome back to MTL Jen and thank you for reminding me why I call this city home, heat wave or not!


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