As promised, today I will be discussing my whirlwind trip to Montreal last month. The event was surprisingly calm aside from a brief scare driving through Chicago during rush hour…and the 401…during rush hour. For those unfamiliar with driving in Chicago, first imagine the 401 during peak intensity; then imagine less gun control regulations.
Beyond the driving, I also had a late night incident in a parking lot I stopped in to look up hotel rates before. Just as I was preparing to leave my vehicle and search for better Wi-Fi reception to aid in my smartphone search, I was interrupted when a scruffy man surprised me by walking up behind my card and pressing his blood-streaked face against my driver-side window. He stared me in the eyes for several seconds and then walked away in stilted, awkward movements while clenching the handle of something tightly in his hand. As I watched him leave, I decided to wait a little bit before searching for a Wi-Fi location. Eventually, being the cheap Winnipeger I am decided to instead sleep in my car
Once I arrived in Montreal I was feeling a little bit uppity. I had survived long days of driving through traffic that made Frodo’s journey to Mordor seem like a trip through Candyland and after the stare-down incident with the man the night before, I felt that my luck was letting me punch far above my weight-class of dangerous experiences.
Montreal held the usual sights and sounds one would expect from a city heralded as a cultural hub. Beautiful cathedrals and museums were visited and brewpubs were sampled, most notably an interesting beverage representing a collaboration between a Quebec brewery and a Japanese brewery to create a Belgian ale…traditionally brewed in farmhouses.
By the time I approached Mount Royal I felt that I could conquer anything. Despite it being a grey Fall day plagued with high winds and unending rain that pierced jackets and chilled to the bone, I spent a solid two hours wandering my way through Mt. Royal park. The travel time was primarily due to my becoming lost both in the winding paths and the McGill campus nestled midway up the hill. Eventually, I ascended to the peak and a giant metallic cross greeted me at the peak and I paused to survey the city and relish my success.
Descending the hill however, I was struck with my reality check. Until this moment, I had thought that a few hours of walking in the wind and rain had made me some sort of prodigal outdoors-man.
Then I saw him.
He was in his mid-thirties and little on the heavy side. He sat hunched over, his eyes locked on the path in front of him as his legs moving rhythmically, propelling him up the hill atop a single, over-sized wheel.
The man was riding freaking unicycle in a rainstorm up a hill!
My ego deflated instantaneously.
I suppose no matter how confident you become, no matter what you accomplish, there is always somebody that will come by and make you feel like you are playing life on easy mode!