I just got back from Montreal. Returning to Toronto from Montreal is a learning experience. For example, I learned that my apartment does not strictly count as indoors. Also, that work and fun are actually two different things.
I have lived in Toronto my whole life and I don’t know Montreal very well. I only have basic impressions of it. Here they are: Montreal is a trading post where you exchange your hopes and dreams for a mansion that costs 25 cents a month. When you get there, angels gently unburden you of your ambitions and hand you a beer. If you want more beer, you can get it at the convenience store, which has a more festive name than “convenience store.” You can drink anywhere and any time you want, because you will never again have to be sober for anything.
Montreal actually has by-laws against working, so if you move there you have to hang out forever. And the people you’ll be hanging out with are friendly and enthusiastic because they live in mansions and never have to work. They’re also very good looking, and they have sex all the time. They would like to have sex with you, too.
In Toronto, everyone works hard and still doesn’t think they’re working hard enough. Those who do not work hard, and instead throw DJ nights from time to time, are known as bums, and they live in flophouses because in Toronto a tarpaulin over a tree stump costs 850 dollars a month. Because rent is high, and because the pressure to not be a bum is so great, people in Toronto are ornery and they want you to get out of their face with your foolishness. Toronto has by-laws against eye contact, so if you want to have sex you have to baldly proposition someone.
Toronto has some fruity things, like Pedestrian Sundays, but they only exist because of the bum lobby.
Every once in a while, Torontonians start talking about how Toronto is too uptight and everyone here needs to have more fun. So they form fun militias to enforce policies like always dancing at shows. Whether you like the music is not an issue, because, if you believe in fun, any music a Torontonian makes is automatically good. The Toronto version of fun is derived from an idea of fun that Torontonians spend a lot of time seriously considering, and it involves playing the glockenspiel and making up kooky portmanteaus like “Torontopia.”
Torontonians have a lot of anxiety about fun because, in Toronto, fun is just another pressure on top of not being a bum and figuring out who’s going to have sex with you. Having fun is an accomplishment, and it’s wasted if no one else knows you’re having it. So the experience of fun is work, in a way, because you have to tweet about it while it’s happening.
In Toronto, having fun kind of sucks. You can stay out until 6 am, but how are you going to function tomorrow? So Torontonians cheat by reading fun into everything. Getting a slice of pizza after midnight is fun. Drinking beer beyond a legal drinking zone is fun. Seeing a friend on the street is fun.
You have to take fun where you can find it, because fun abides a schedule just like everything else. Even if you do manage to schedule fun, there’s no guarantee that others will fit your fun into their schedules.
Deep down, Torontonians know that to really have a good time, we need to get on a bus and go to Montreal for the weekend. Coming back sucks, but, at the end of the day, there’s a reason we live in Toronto and not Montreal. We are the authors of our own misery.