I Went to Montreal and Got ToonSwag and No, That’s Not a STD

Montreal Sign

My sister’s getting married next weekend.

I was fortunate to be invited to the bachelor party which concluded just a few days ago. In Montreal. I get jazzed whenever I get to dust off the passport, even if it’s just for a two hour flight from Chicago. I had never been to Montreal before and many people contend it’s the greatest city on the planet. At 4am I left for the airport and my girlfriend raised her head from her pillow and half-asleep whispered, “Just don’t come back with VD.” This is a joke based on the reputation of strippers of Montreal who aren’t uptight about getting manhandled. Or at least that’s what my Fodor’s book said.

Before I travel I try to recall which bloggers I know in that area so I can contact them and hang out. Since I don’t know how Canadian provinces work or where those provinces are, or even the names of the provinces, I consider Canada to be just one area. I pinged RedneckMommy who I was certain lived around there. She assured me that while it would be her honor to take me for a baguette, she’s 27 hours by rail from Montreal. Then, in typical D.J. fashion, I forgot to email the only other person I knew, J.C. Little.

This oversight was problematic. When I touched down in mountie country, I realized I should probably turn off my data and service. My cell provider charges me 900 number rates when I leave the lower 50. I switched that shit to airplane mode and prayed for free WiFi. I made it through customs around 10:30am and had the driver take me straight to the best poutine joint in town. This was the only research I had done about Montreal prior.

montreal poutine
It was only 3000 calories, so no big deal.

I asked the waitress what I should do next. I took her advice and headed to Notre Dame Basilica (after my meat sweats subsided). I realized this would be my fourth experience with something called Notre Dame. I went to a high school with that name. I’ve been to the thing in Paris. The college in Indiana. And now this. I’m not a Catholic but the Montreal version is a church worth converting for. I nearly filled out an altar boy application right then and there. It’s dark and creepy and gorgeous. I almost genuflected passing the altar. Almost.

montreal notre dame basilica
You have to love a church that uses only pastels for lighting.

Since I didn’t know what else to do after my time with the Messiah I walked to a nearby cafe. I don’t drink coffee so of course I ordered coffee. This seemed like something a French person would do. I pulled up Trip Advisor and saw that Nordic Spas are a big deal in Montreal. The best one was just a few blocks away. I had no idea what a Nordic Spa was, but it’s not like I’m smarter than Trip Advisor. For the next three hours I donned a white robe and relaxed inside a spa moving from hot pools to cold pools to saunas. There were even beds for sleeping. After a 90 minute massage I thought, “Well, I should get some sleep.” I laid down next to some other jerk in a cot and passed out for thirty minutes. You weren’t allowed to take photos in the spa, and I didn’t have my robe tied very tight, anyway. So no photo for you.

After dressing and leaving the spa I again had no plan. It was around 3pm and I now was able to check into the house that we rented. I showed a driver the address but he dropped me off nowhere near the actual place. I asked another taxi and he was confused, too. Nobody seemed to know where this house was located. Dejected, and with all my bags out on a random street corner, I figured this was a perfect time to email my other Canadian blogger friend to see if she lived within a day’s travel.

A moment later she replied and said, “Yes, dumbo, I live in Montreal. Get in a taxi. I’m ten minutes away!”

I hopped into my fourth cab of the day and headed to her street address which I will sell you for $15 USD. She’s kind of a big-deal animator and, most importantly, the only one that talks to me. Chuck Jones doesn’t return my calls. Sure, he’s dead, but still.

At blogging conferences the pinnacle of coolness is to get “toon-swagged” by J.C. Little. This is where J.C. sits opposite you with her tablet and draws your caricature. It’s a badge of honor that only around a hundred bloggers have received. And even though I’ve hung with her three or four times, I’ve never asked for toonswag. But I always wanted one. The shadow knows.

I should update my references to more current than 1940 radio pulp thrillers. I’m guessing 1% of you know what The Shadow is.

After J.C. showed me around her home and I got caught up with her family, she offered to draw me. I protested, but that was just false modesty. Internally I squealed like a man never should. After about ten minutes she turned the tablet around.

dj paris toonswag jc little

I’m going to stop here, because this was only half of day one of Montreal. Did hijinks ensue beyond this point? They did. Part II next.

7 thoughts on “I Went to Montreal and Got ToonSwag and No, That’s Not a STD”

  1. Holley says:

    I love this. I almost snorted at the library. Don’t judge. Free WiFi. 🙂 Seriously though, hilarious.

  2. The Animated Woman says:

    See? I answered your prayer; they don’t call me JC for nothing. And you thought you left the messiah at the Basilica.

    Fucking great to see you on my doorstep. I’m still laughing about your chest hair.

  3. Kate Hall says:

    Montreal is fun and beautiful. Looking forward to part 2 of your shenanigans.

  4. Kristine @MumRevised says:

    If you ever decide to dust off the passport in Toronto, I have WiFi. I can’t draw anything but a bath but I know where you can get poutine that is only 2500 calories.

  5. Aussa Lorens says:

    My friend Peeves and I used to say “The Shadow knows” to each other all the time in third grade but I don’t even remember where we learned it from.

    Also, I am very jealous.

  6. Shae says:

    As only a polite, passive Canadian would respond, What the hell!! I never get tired of laughing at Americans and there lack of geography. It always cracks me up how little you guys know about your neighbors to the north ( l love that your honest about it) Thanks for the laugh looking forward to part 2!

  7. Debbie D says:

    I was browsing around and naturally, being Canadian, this caught my eye. Montreal is a beautiful city. You Americans and your lack of knowledge about Canada! That was funny. Looking for part II now.

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