Friday, May 29, 2009


Last night, I had plans to meet Brad after work to go to a new bar that opened in an up and coming part of town. He calls me in the afternoon: D’you mind if we go have dinner with my father? He’ll be at the restaurant where my brother works and he’s inviting us.

Not only am I always up for a dinner out and some good wine, and God knows Brad’s father never orders cheap wine, but I was genuinely happy to see his father.

Brad and I know each other since we were born, our fathers were friends in college. Brad’s father is like a dad to me. When I first moved into the city, an hour and a half away from my parent’s home, I could always go to Brad’s house for a good home cooked dinner.

I also used to go up to their cottage a lot, which is more a mansion than a cottage. But I didn’t even get a change to go once this winter. I’m working every Saturday night at the bar so I can never leave town for the week-end with Brad.

It had been a long time since I had seen him. Brad’s younger brother Chuck was also at the table with us. He’s a waiter here, in this nice little authentic Italian restaurant. My parmegianna was great and so was the stuffed veal roast.

After dinner, Chuck comes with Brad and I to go see that new trendy English pub. On the way there, we get a call from Max, an old friend of us. His father too was friends with our parents in college. Somewhere at Brad’s house, there’s a picture of the three of us, in the bathtub, at 4 years old.

Max is with is roommate and good friend Johnson, they live quite close to where we’re going.

We meet up in some grocery store parking lot, not too far from the bar. Brad pulls over incredibly close to them, so they can pass the joint they’re smoking thru the window.

I don’t say anything, but now that there’s five of us, the chances of finding a place are pretty slim. I know this is a trendy and so quite busy spot. You can always squeeze yourself at the bar when you’re only two, but a table for five, at 9 on a Thursday night? Good luck.

As I expected, the bar is packed. I look around to see what the hype is all about. It’s really just some English pub. Apparently they’re all about that gastro pub trend, where they revisit traditional pub grub with fresh ingredients and new techniques. I hate the expression gastro pub. To me, gastro refers more to the stomach in its most medical and acid oozing form than to gastronomy. Why the unnecessary medical abbreviation? Just call it a damn gastronomy pub.

I suggest an old tavern, an institution in town, that’s just a few blocks away. It’s a huge place, a family business of more than 75 years, where they serve big bocks of beer and steaks the size of dictionaries.

They have a huge heated and covered patio. This is quite a set up, they even have a small kitchen with a grill outside. We go sit at the bar. The guys are happy; there’s a sport game on the big flat screen hung behind the bar. I couldn’t care less.

I started talking with Chuck, Brad’s brother. It’s been a while since we had a conversation.

He’s a smart kid, but he thinks a bit too much. Also, he’s a prisoner of his own life.

When I moved to the city, right before University, I was effectively cutting the bridge with my past. And though it might have been rough and lonely at first, it was incredibly liberating.

I was free of all the stupid things I had done and said to people, the kind of stupid things someone does when growing up, while learning the ropes of social relationships. But most of all, I was free of the image I had set up for myself as a kid, free of that image others expected from me.

All of a sudden, I could be whoever I wanted. I could make friends with people like me, people with whom I shared interests, not just the people who happened to be in my class that specific year.

Friends you make as an adult are often much better friends. The connections are richer too, these people love you for who you are, not just because you were friends at 14 years old and it’s what you’re used to..

I still see some good friends from high school, but on a one to one basis. Not with the whole gang, where we would inevitably regress to our stupid 15 years old selves.

Chuck is still caught up with is high school group of friends. He doesn’t feel he can really be himself when he’s among them and that they don’t appreciate him for what he truly is. He seemed quite relieved to know that it was a legitimate desire to make a tabula rasa and start fresh, as an adult, with everything you learned. He was interested in my stance on the topic since I had been there myself.

I also made sure to tell him how difficult and lonely that process can be. It’s hard to make new friends at first. But the more people you know, the more people you meet. And then you come across some wonderful beings. And then more and more and and you’re like… woah, there’s more to life than what I knew in my little teenage bubble life.

Hopefully, we’ll get to discuss this some more. I care for this kid.

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