November 14, 2016 1

A Montreal Moment

By in montreal, ruttan's place

I have a middle-aged neighbor named Michel, who lives across the way here on rue de Rouen. Yesterday afternoon, when I was lugging my bike down my front stairs, he beckoned to me, and crossed the street, wanting to talk.

I was headed off to Expozine, the November book, comics and alternative art fair. But he had a question for me.

Since I spoke English, I must know something about Leonard Cohen, the poet and songwriter who had recently died, right? Then what did these lyrics mean? With a little fiddling, he brought them up for me on his smart phone.

“But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya”

(You have to imagine this conversation in his French, with a little English, and my very bad French.)

So, what was happening here, he asked. Love is positive, right? So why was someone in love shooting his lover? And what did “outdrew ya” mean?

With expressive hand gestures, I conjured duels to the death, and scenes from cowboy movies. “Draw” meant pull your gun. “Outdrew” meant you pulled your gun and shot faster than the other person.

He looked puzzled. How did love involve shooting? I came up with the image of Cupid’s arrow. The biggest hurdle was to explain how love wasn’t always a totally positive situation. A relationship can involve conflict.

I think he understood. He slapped me on the back, and thanked me for making things clear. I was glad I was able to do that. Talking together, we were waving hands around, and practically shouting. I wondered what the neighbours thought.

One Response to “A Montreal Moment”

  1. Ilonka says:

    Well done, Jack! I’m not sure I would have done as well to someone who spoke the same language as I do.

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