I can't remember if I have mentioned before, but Montreal houses are uniquely lovely in that many second and third floor apartments are accessible only by exterior, winding, wrought-iron staircases. They lend an exquisite and old-world air to the streets.
They're a bitch when you're moving.
Today I helped my friends Monica and Devon move from their third floor apartment; they were packing everything into a truck to drive to Fredericton, NB. My immediate suggestion of dropping everything over the side of the balcony was negated, so instead we carried everything down a narrow and winding staircase. Don't worry. At least it was dangerous.
Afterwards, I staggered to Parc Lafontaine to get in some hula hoop practice; the park is a good place to do this because if you accidentally lose your grip and hurl the hoop for several feet, you won't brain anyone or break furniture. Also, you have enough space to practice different moves.
I am not very good. Well, to be fair, I am a beginner hula hooper; I haven't been doing it that long and I don't practice very much. I diligently practiced moving the hoop up from my waist to my hand and back down, spinning it overhead, yadda yadda. Then, as I was lost in my own fuzzy hoop-spinning world (it's fuzzy because I take my glasses off when I hoop...otherwise I would break them by smashing myself in the face), I saw a group of four young people appear opposite me, one of whom was carrying five or six hoops. I smiled at them. They smiled at me. I thought, Cool! Hula hoop group! Maybe I'll go hang out in a few minutes and we can hoop together.
The next time I turned around, one girl was standing on one leg with the other foot held up behind her in a lovely arch. Both hands were over her head, bending her body into almost a complete circle, and she was circling the hoop on her back foot. She then smoothly folded herself in half, and without missing a revolution, did a standing split, the hoop foot high in the air. Later, she did this while circling another hoop around her ankle. At one point, I looked over and she had all five hoops going at once.
Her three friends were not really watching her, or hooping, probably because they were TURNING BACKFLIPS IN MID-AIR and BALANCING ON EACH OTHER'S SHOULDERS while doing the splits. These were four incredibly good-looking people, by the way; two men, and two women. One started juggling with seven balls, and he didn't miss a single one. Ever.
Did I maybe forget to point out that Montreal is a major home for circus students?
As I gathered up my hoop after a moderately pathetic (compared to them) session of practicing, the hoop girl was standing in the pathway with her hoops laid around her. As I watched, packing my stuff into my +5 Purse of Holding, she easily and lightly flipped the hoop up with her foot to her hand and began circling it. Then she saw me, holding my hoop, and gave me the sweetest and most friendly smile I have ever seen.
That made me stop comparing myself and being grumpy because I'm not better. I smiled all the way home.