We just came back from a trip to Montreal where we had yet another meeting with more creative types who are doing things we want to be doing. It was kind of fruitful but not in the way we’d hoped. Prospects of money in the future, peut etre, but nothing put into our pockets that day. Sometimes the life of a starving artist involves something beautiful and smokey, and sometimes it’s just a conversation.
I don’t know what it is about Montreal and creative life but the door is definitely not opening to us. I find this weird because the Director had the life but had to step back due to …needing to do drugs with other delinquents in order to do business. Now a new crew’s in town and they’re more into the perfect cup of coffee than snorting something which is great, but the Director does not know these younger people. And creatives is still all about who you know in addition to what you can do.
So after the meeting we did what we always do.
Go to St Lawrence, which is formally known as Blvd St Laurent – the grungy heart of Montreal – and get the best smoked turkey sandwiches from this place called Slovenia. It’s cheap and filling and tasty. It would allow us to get enough gas to drive back to our mountain house.
The lady with the roving eye asks us in very quick English, though it’s clear her first language is something like Hungarian and not French, whether or not we want to eat the sandwiches in or take out. There’s a tiny corner near the door designated for people to just stand and eat – kind of not seen in the US, but totally normal for Montreal. Their bread isn’t as good as the market in the Jean-Talon open market, but their turkey is the best. You have your choice of mustard – fort or douce – nothing schmancy. No lettuce, no tomato. We’re lucky to get a slice of cheese with it. But man is it good.
As we continued walking up St Lawrence, I told the Director I was going in… she sat on a bench outside this drug store that I always go in when I’m wearing nice clothing. They have the latest perfumes out to sample, so I walk in with the air of someone who belongs, head for a section – usually Armani – and spritz myself, say Bonjour to the woman who’s clocking me behind the counter.
I then head for the toothpaste section as if I’m really there to stock up on that. And then a skulk out past the cash registers to go back outside sporting something new and scenty.
We pass the line for Schwartz’s which is the place to go if you want the best smoked meat: smoked meat, the state religion in this country. But Celine Dion’s husband bought it and jacked the prices up. Or so we hear. Usually there’s a long line out the door no matter what time of day you walk past. But this time the line was stingy. The Director said, “Starving artists used to trade art for sandwiches with the 80 year old owner. But now it’s just a business.”