Well the first awkward bit of this brief city escapade was none other than the most asked question of the hour, “So how do you know Romina?” My eyes glaze over and I glance downward, smiling like I didn’t hear her. Do I tell her that we met in college? Do I tell her that I can’t remember? I try to lie, stammering, “We met in Montreal,” but Ro catches me. “What’s with the political correctness, Mo?” I blush, and she continues.
“I dated her brother for eight years.” If I’d been drinking, which I should have been, considering it was an Indian buffet with eight people I’d never met ninety-five percent humidity, I would have needed another mouthful.
I sigh, relieved.
This past time in Toronto was different for Mitch and I. For one, I could barely remember the last time I was there. I remember something about a gay pride parade in the nineties that left quite an impression on me, a scattered idea of renting movies and eating chicken wings with my big brother in the early 200os, and finally fully making the move from the incense and dashikis of Kensington Market to the boutiques of Queen West, somewhere in the last five years.Mitch and I finally put the pieces together, after days of the Was it a conference? and the What did we do? of my vague, unchartered memories.
My next ‘country mouse’ moment came when Ro’s friend, the professional photographer, offered to give us a ride back downtown from Little India. Although I tried not to ask people the typical cliche questions of so what do you do? I ended up in the backseat of a very small car with the photographer’s gorgeous hipster girlfriend with the perfect haircut, and didn’t have much else to go on.
She answered that she was a stylist, and I assumed she meant a hairstylist, so i made a joke about needing a fresh edge for the wedding. She laughed and corrected me: not a hairstylist, a photographer’s stylist. “I stylize photos for advertisements,” she continued, “with product and design.” Later Ro tells me that she went to school for this. I’m thinking, wow. Compared with all the industrial designers and art directors around here, teachers are soooo boring. Mitch then tells me that hipster is his new favorite word.
Romina’s friends started flying in from all over creation: her best friend from Buenos Aires, a colleague from Bahrain, her sister from Italy. Many others came from other larger, Canadian cities. I wasn’t sure what to say when Norell’s sister confessed that she loved Anne of Green Gables. I make some joke about LM Montgomery, but then try to cover it up, not sure if she remembers the author.
So I may not be too fresh on the metro intelligence, but we ended up having the best time ever at the wedding, which you can read more about here: http://wp.me/p108iG-P on Ro’s blog, Do. Bake.Sew.Think. The photo booth was indeed an excellent addition.
Other things I loved in Toronto: Dan Perjovschi’s contemporary art exhibition at the ROM and Toronto Island’s Rectory Cafe, our amazing hotel the Gladstone, with each room a different artist’s inspiration, and a fantastic show by Islander drummer Rich Knox with his new band, Flash Lightnin’, whose rock show at the Horseshoe totally kicked ass.
Special thanks to Romaggi, who showed me her vows the night before and put up my tears all over them, and to all of the old friends I haven’t seen since my old school days in Montreal, for bringing me back there, if only for one night. And most of all, to Noreel for marrying Romina – the Drake serenade was priceless.