Playing tourist in Ottawa II

After being ripped off by the Brits, I had a whole afternoon to waste more money and time. I decided to go play tourist in Ottawa, it is the capital of the second largest country on the planet, after all. Walking down Wellington st, a broad avenue lined with old brown stone buildings with green and brown steeples, is like being in Europe; a keen observation based on my in depth knowledge with European architecture from 2 postcards I have received in my lifetime. It was a blissfully warm autumn day and quite nice to walk around aimlessly. I even struck up a conversation with a capital policeman nearby. I inquired what each solemn looking building was and told him I was visiting from Montreal. “Bonjour. comment trouvez-vous à Ottawa?” he asked. “oh, bonjour, eh, merci, eh, beautiful, such a nice day too.” My French doesn’t go beyond bonjour and merci so that was all I could muster in a hurry. He eyed me suspiciously but pointed out where the parliament buildings were, the war memorial, etc. etc. I quickly hightailed away from him, feeling the sharp look on my back. A chinese from Montreal that doesn’t speak French, nice try.

Most of you have known me for years, though I have been happily and mournfully single most of the time, your suspicion is correct. I am secretly and seriously engaged to this lady named trouble.  She and I always find each other at the most opportune moments in life, against all odds. From the time I made a wrong turn in SF and ended up in the epicenter of public bathroom for the local homeless horde, to the speeding ticket at Reagan national after I dropped off a friend and subsequently got myself lost in the maze of exit lanes. That ticket cost me a job app to JNJ btw. AND not to mention the famous ceiling crashing on New Year’s eve. Some of you kinder souls may tell me that I am a statistical outlier. Me, however, being a reflective person, can’t stop thinking that there must be a physiological flaw in my brain that just latched onto my fatal attraction. A prolong period of hap free days will make me edgy and wonder where my dear soul mate has been, when she may just appear out of  nowhere and deliver her deadly kiss. But sorry I digress.

As my short attention span rapidly outran my curiosity, I strolled into the war memorial park. The center piece is a bronze statue of a group of laboring soldiers pulling a large howitzer. They should really put more soldiers in there, them poor guys just look awfully tired. I muttered to myself, more manpower ought to help. But the warm afternoon sun was taking a toll; I found an empty bench with one warmly cladded man sleeping on each side, and proceeded to rest my eyes. Later I found out they were the self-appointed watchmen for the memorial and also, happened to be homeless. But I digress again. As I nodded off, thinking they could also change that big ass cannon to a wooden cart, which should significantly lighten the load for these poor soldiers because wood weighs far less than metal, I felt a sharp pain coming from my left cheek every time I nodded. Oh whatever, life is just a painful journey. I thought to myself. Not realizing I was impaling my cheek with a pin on my jacket. Earlier in the day, out of pure boredom and nervousness of going to meet a british officer, I chitchatted with this lady smoking a butt by the commerce building. I wondered what those bright red poppy felt flower everyone was wearing. Oh, that’s for the remembrance day. Apparently Friday is the Canadian equivalent of the memorial day and the red poppy flower is the symbol for that. I felt sorry for having wasted 30 seconds of her time and not knowing the remembrance day, so I made a generous donation of 1$ and got myself a flower to wear. But the social austerity measure was taking effect everywhere apparently, instead of a safety pin,  the Canadians just used a long sharp needle instead. So I was stabbing myself repeatedly with that needle off the haphazardly pinned flower i donned myself. As I continued to linger between the state of sleepiness and mental image of improvement for the statue, I was jolted back into reality by a strong smell of smoke. One of the homeless men was puffing on a big cigar while telling me that I was bleeding from my cheek profusely. In his expert medical opinion, I should plug up the wounds with his cigar ashes because, of course, the ashes are sterile. before I could object to it, the commotion awoke the other homeless guardsman and he chimed in with his own medical advice. In a state of confusion and sleepiness, I tripped on my jacket and fell off the bench. out of the corner of my eye, I saw the same capital policeman jogging towards us with his walkie-talkie in hand. The image of a charging law enforcement officer completely brought me back to my senses.  “oh shit, NO! I just paid a fortune to ship all my papers to the damn Brits to have a visa stamp. All I have on me is the Maryland driver’s license. I can’t go back because the border agents will really have a field day this time around.” So as I lay helplessly on the concrete slab with a bleeding face and two arguing homeless men over me, I started yelling at the police “the British have my papers, the damn Brits have all my papers.”  At that moment,  I finally realized that I am doomed. My fate is sealed with lady trouble. I will go through the rest of my life with her by my side, through thick and thin, with or without homeless men in a sunny park or a bleeding face.

If you are worried for my fate, don’t be. I apologize for making up part of the story on the bus ride back to Montreal. I did talk to a smoking lady, a very kind policeman, did take a sojourn on the bench between 2 homeless men, they were smoking cigars and very friendly to talk to. I did prick my finger with the stupid pin. The rest of the story was inspired by the drowsiness and the warm sun that reminded me of episodes on “it is always sunny in Philadelphia”.  I love the ridiculousness and hilarity of that show and I kept asking myself “what would Charlie do?”.  so I thought the above mental images would be a funny and somewhat accurate reflection of my life. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I had fun writing it.