Day 9: Montreal // This Hostel is a !@#$ing Blanket Fort, You Guys

No, seriously.

Okay, not entirely seriously.  But kind of.  I’m staying in the huge rambling 22-bed dorm that’s basically just the attic of a Vieux-Montréal townhouse, kind of sectioned off with poster board and old curtains and blankets strung from the ceiling, and each bunk bed further divided by more blankets.

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View from bed.

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Dudes, it may have taken me thirty-three years of life, but I feel like I’ve finally, fleetingly lived the dream.

I always honestly forget — or forget isn’t the right word, but it jsut kind of… fades away? — how much happier I am like this, how much more normal I am.  It’s not a solution, but sometimes the feeling of your head breaking above the water for a little while does, in fact, save you from drowning.  For a little while.

I don’t think it would be exaggerating to say that in the past nine days I have spent more time talking to people (outside of family), more time walking around in the sun, than in the past seven or eight months.

I was going to meet up with my friend from the train tonight, but it was like — not late, but late evening; my ankle was like grotesquely swollen and achingly sore from the old stone streets and he’s like 4+ km away so I bitched out last minute and hopefully we’re going to meet up tomorrow and go to the park on the island.

So I changed into my pajamas and had settled in for a night of vigorous internetting, and then my blanket fort dormmate — there’s only the two of us in our five-bed blanket fort suite tonight — she says, “man, I just got off the train from Baltimore, and I’m so tired, but I don’t wanna just go to sleep.”  and I’m like well, shit, I feel that.  So twenty minutes later another former complete stranger and I are wandering down rue Saint Paul ’til we found a cheap bar a street away, swapping life stories over drinks and snacks.

I know it’s wholly unsurprising that I might find kindred spirits in places like hippie hostels and random trains.  But Jesus, I spent so long in Daytona with the spiraling feeling that even when I did manage to leave my house, I still didn’t exist in the world, that all I wanted to do was take up as little space as possible and disappear back into the void.  For a long time I have thought of the worst nadirs of depression as the feeling that your entire life is like a television tuned just a few degrees off — that no matter what you do, there is a filter of white noise between you and the world that everyone else inhabits, and you’ll never do more than press your palm to the window glass, outside looking in.

So it’s unsettling and exhausting and overwhelming to suddenly be in the world again, as an active participant, and I’m never sure what it says about me that I only seem to be able to participate in the world when it’s not my world, when I am a fleeting interloper, and I’ll be gone again in a day or a week.

But I am a person for the moment (actual and whole, says Captain Reynolds) and I will enjoy it while it lasts.

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