I’ve been visiting the Java U more frequently. This is because I’m hoping to finish my thesis soon, and sometimes I need to leave my apartment to work. I can usually work fine at home, but every once in a while I just need to get out of the house.
I remember remarking to a number of friends last summer that the only thing keeping me from getting a Bixi key was the fact that there were no Bixi stations anywhere near me.
I checked. A couple times.
I really wanted the whole Bixi thing to work out for me.
I used to love riding my bike when I was in high school (until my bike was stolen, that is). It was perfect for getting around in Stratford. I could be anywhere in the city within a half hour. The fact that my high school bike was stolen is probably what’s kept me from getting a bike here. If I couldn’t even prevent a bike from being stolen in Stratford (pop. 30,000), what chance do I have living in Montréal (pop. 3 million). I didn’t really want to have to worry about locking my bike up, and dealing with it when the weather’s bad. I mean, I live on the 4th floor of a building with no elevator. I don’t want to have to haul my bike up all those stairs. Not even once.
That said, I do like bikes as a mode of transportation. When I lived in China I had a great bike. It was gigantic. I could see over everyone’s head.
I like the exercise and the convenience. I like that parking a bike is easier than parking a car.
Having a bixi pass is even better than owning a bike. It’s $80 for the year, and you get as much use of the bikes as you like, for 45 mins at a time. I don’t have to worry about anyone stealing my bike. I don’t have to worry about maintaining a bike. I don’t even have to think about what kind of bike I want.
At long last, last week, they installed a Bixi station across the street from me. The only thing that was keeping me from getting a Bixi pass was the lack of Bixi stations near me, and that is no longer an issue. So I ordered a Bixi key. I’ll have to get a helmet now.
I’ve walked past this storefront countless times in the past two years, but it wasn’t until about a week ago that I got the joke. The major street that runs through my neighbourhood is called “Chemin Queen-Marie.” The laundry place is called “Nettoyeur Clean-Marie.”
These people are now my heroes. This is the greatest thing I’ve heard since my mother defined the olympic luge as “when you don’t winge.”
Down the street from my place, there’s a Java U coffee shop across the street from Snowdon station. Last summer when I was studying for the MCAT, I went there regularly.
The tip jar at this Java U always makes me smile. Someone who works at the coffee shop draws little illustrations—always in pairs—and puts each of the two in a coffee cup near the cash register. There’s always a question that goes with the illustrations. I’ve attached a couple examples.
First is Link vs Ganondorf. I took a picture of this for the benefit of my little sister, who enjoys video games way more than I do.
Next is “Which came first—Chicken or Egg?” And of course, there’s a drawing of both.
The drawings and questions change fairly regularly, and there doesn’t appear to be any pattern. (That said, I don’t really come regularly enough or even remember the ones I have seen well enough to discern anything but the most obvious patterns.) At the end of last summer, the question was “Did you fall in love this summer?” accompanied by a “yes” and a “no” drawing (I’ll let you imagine what they were).
The drawings must be done by someone who works at the particular coffee shop. They’re obviously not something sent from Java U’s corporate headquarters. I’m kind of curious to know if this is something that the artist spends a lot of time thinking about, or if it’s something that (s)he just draws up when business is slow.
I kind of wish that I was learning to drive again.
It’s the Morty’s Driving School-mobile, in all its glory!
Morty, my friend, your secret driving school in Montréal is an inspiration to us all.