Montreal; Main Line.

Good news for anyone else out there who happens to find herself stranded on the Main Line for any amount of time: there is now an honest-to-god coffee shop offering solace and stimulants in the heart of this cultural wasteland. It’s called Milkboy Coffee and it’s in the middle of Ardmore. What’s more, the coffee is good, it has a free wireless signal, and there are two “take a book / leave a book” shelves against the wall which I intend to turn into something of an unofficial BookCrossing Zone in the near future.

I spent the weekend at a conference in Montreal, at which I presented a paper on Swift that allowed me to say “shit” a lot from a podium. Z and I stayed at the fancy-ass hotel where the conference was held and, when we weren’t edifying ourselves at panels or turning credit into wine at the hotel bar, we roamed the streets of the city and wished we lived there. It hardly needs to be said, but Montreal is a cool, cool city. It’s like Brooklyn would be if everyone spoke French and hipsters weren’t annoying. We ate breakfast one morning at a Mont Royal patisserie that indicated (in the way an American bakery would indicate “low-fat” items) which pastries were made with “100% beurre.” This, as far as I’m concerned, is the measure of a healthy civilization.

Speaking of hotel bars, I decided today while waiting for my luggage in the airport that there are 3 things I really like:

1. Hotel bars
2. Airport bars
3. Dive bars

There are probably more things that I really like, but those three are officially official.

Now I’m flying solo again in the Philly suburbs, facing a week full of gangsters and opium-eaters. Karaoke tonight and a flight to Providence on Thursday. There is a strange man leering at me from the cream-and-sugar counter and a book group sitting next to me holding copies of The Alchemist and discussing their “personal dreams,” which all seem to involve physical fitness. Things are fine, but I sense a thick fog of Main Line ennui on the horizon.

7 thoughts on “Montreal; Main Line.

  1. Haven’t been to Montreal since my honeymoon (1970). Stayed in a place, recommended by a friend, where the average length-of-stay was about 1.5 hours. I called three months in advance and booked a room for five days.

    There’s only one thing better than saying “shit” from a podium: saying it from a pulpit. I delivered a eulogy for a friend and used the phrase “scared shitless”. The pastor later said, “That’s probably the first time in the history of this church where an elder said ‘shit’ from the pulpit.” He’s probably right.

    It sounds like you’re having fun.

    That’s good. Try to turn it into A Tradition.

  2. I love dive bars, but my husband isn’t such a fan. I agree that hotel and airport bars are great. I’m never self-conscious being alone in one, either.

  3. You are brilliant, and should be paid for THIS!

    (and I have “Eleven Minutes” on a stack next to me, waiting to go to a BCer. Interesting)

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