Sometimes it seems like Montréalers are very unhappy people.
The suicide rate in Montreal is very high and since it’s so stinkin’ cold outside it is more convenient to jump before a moving train in the warm metro stations, as opposed to freezing your butt off on some bridge that has jumper protection anyway. I asked a few random people in the metro today about this and the most common answer is that the weather is to blame (when I told this to my brother he only gazed at me: “You talked to strangers? On the metro?! To French Canadians?!?!”)
Is the weather a factor? It snowed again last night, fuzzy shreds of white twirling from the sky and you think you’re inside one of those crystal balls that you flip upside down and you’re in Winter Wonderland. But then the sun comes out and the melting begins and the city turns into one giant slushy that nobody wants to drink. No wonder some people get the blues.
Poverty is also a factor. The Gap is here too. And I don’t mean the store. You can’t scurry through a metro station without finding someone at the door holding up an empty coffee cup or a sign reading ANYTHING WILL HELP or HOMELESS, LOVELESS, HOPELESS or HAVE 3 CHILDREN or HAVENT EATEN IN DAYS (my personal favorite, the very honest I NEED TO SMOKE A JOINT). Or, as did I at the Toronto bus station, find a crazy old lady shouting that “everyone oughta be crucified! Crucify em all! Police, politicians, take em all, let’s crucify em all! We gonna crucify the whole lot!”
And maybe it’s the static electricity. Everywhere you go, people are wired. Comb your hair: fizzzz!!!! Take a shirt off: snap, crackle, pop. Shake someone’s hand and sparks fly. No wonder promiscuous sex and abortions are common as well… people confuse static electricity with attraction. Maybe it’s what they need to feel any attraction at all. Most attractive people, be they male or female, are of foreign blood. Everyone else is a swish of white and pink and purple veins.
Hence I have begun The Revolution.
Think about it: what is the one thing people lack sitting in the metro, at the job, in Timmy’s?
Indeed, Montréalers have forgotten how to curl up those sides. Hence the element of my Revolution is to carry a smile at all times. Radical, you say? Indeed it is. But it is my way to Fight The Establishment, Fight The System.
I DARE to Smile in Public.
Unfortunately the effect has been both good and bad. Bad in the sense that there are people out there bound to take the Revolution beyond its premise and take advantage of it.
Such as the one guy who sat in the metro grinning despite himself and rocking back and forth, high on something else rather than just a smile. My brother pointed him out. “The militant wing of the revolution,” I replied. “The Suicide Squad. Anyone this happy is bound to get lynched by a mob of Frogs.”
Then there are the war-profiteers. This one bum had a sign in both French and English reading A DOLLAR FOR A SMILE.
Nevertheless, the Revolution must continue, even if it’s just for the 5 remaining days of my stay. And I predict it may reach beyond the Québécois borders, into Ontario and on into New York, where it is bound to be picked up by the Dominicans.
How to become a Supporter of the Revolution?
Next time you see a stranger frown, just smile back. Not too much, just a slight curl that says “I am happy and I’m not afraid to show it.”
Way to stick it to The Man!
The Revolution has begun. Smile.