(james benedict brown) on the road

The car sharing house sharing rush

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 23 June, 2006

I am delivered safely to Québec City about two and a quarter hours after leaving Montréal. My driver, Frederic, is a friendly man who drives fast and has questionable reaction times. Being a front seat passenger with someone like that is interesting, because as with two memorable incidents on highway 20 between Montréal and Québec City, there are times when you have about one second of realisation of what is happening on the roadway in front of you before your driver does. This one second difference between the two of you is a moment of mild panic and confusion. Is it rude to say something (like “ffffffuuuuuuuuuuccccc…….”) or scrabble helpless on the floor of the footwell for the imaginary set of dual controls you desperately want the car to have acquired?

But fear not, loyal blog-fan, I am safe. Frederic braked in time for us not to hit the back of a suddenly stationary Ford in the fast lane, and honked his horn after being cut up by a dozy looking Hyundai driver. I have no complaints, however. A car is always more comfortable than a bus, and besides, flying along at 130km/h for most of the way, we overtook at least one bus of the Orléans Express fleet, which ply the highway between the two cities every hour.

The Allostop terminus in Québec City is actually just outside the city limits, but is within the green sprawl of the provincial capital. So I wait out in the sunshine (continuing to heed my doctor’s words and keeping my leg in the shade) besides a run down pyramid-shaped shopping centre that has been relegated to being occupied by rather tatty looking owner-operated florists, clothes stores for retirees and a horrendous looking nightclub. It’s around lunchtime, but the nightclub is already testing the sound system for the weekend, and the walls are shaking.

This weekend the network of close friends I have been privileged to have made in Canada is looking after me. I’m staying in the studio apartment of Kari, a cousin of Ryan, close to the old town centre of Québec. This weekend, however, she’s beginning to move out of the apartment, to live with her boyfriend down in the ‘ghetto’. I’m told that he lives in an old bra factory, which must be a clear sign of urban regeneration. All around me, it seems, people are rushing to co-habit. I’ve already lost one house mate to the calls of domestic bliss, and in just a few months time it looks like this independent blogger will also be giving it a go. After watching the French-dubbed version of Four Weddings and a Funeral the other week, and after receiving the first wedding invitation of a friend I met at university, it seems as if I am entering the stage of my life when everyone starts to move in, marry and probably make babies. Mortgages and estate cars are on the horizon.

I do not complain of course: Kari has chosen very well, and because of her upcoming move, I have a conveniently located downtown studio apartment in Québec City to myself for the weekend. The festivities of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste holiday are warming up, and it’s now a beautifully sunny day. Let the celebrations commence…

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