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I think, therefore I harm

First Weekend of May

parc-michel-chartrand-panoramaIn Québec, there is just one rule that always works when it comes to weather. We cannot predict the first snow of the year, neither can we predict the last one, which could be as late as the very last week of April. We cannot foretell how hot or sunny a summer will be, or how cold and windy a winter will be. But the first weekend of May is always hot and sunny. It’s always what marks the first weekend of the summer to me. And this year was no exception. We got a superb sunny weekend with the mercury (or rather the digital display – we don’t use mercury thermometers anymore, eh) showing around 25°C / 77°F.

The exception is that I was working this year on that very weekend. I’ve barely ever worked on weekends before and I sure don’t remember having ever worked on the first weekend of May. This time, I was. But I wasn’t complaining. I love that new job. It never gets boring. And even when the store is empty, tasks all revolve around the fish. Even cleaning off algae, without a doubt the worst task you can do there, is still fun to me as I’ve got my hands right in the tanks with the fish. And despite all expectations, people actually visit a live fish store on the first hot weekend of the year. Sunday afternoon, I didn’t even get a minute for a cigarette break. At one point, I was even serving up three customers at once. Not that this is uncommon, but it was surprising considering the weather.

Nevertheless, the weekend wasn’t wasted. Monday is my free day now, I work all other days on two jobs. I work at the live fish store from Thursday to Sunday. Until recently, I worked the three other days as a clerk at the convenience store chain that employed me full time for the last nine years. Yep, I still got a foot there. But a few weeks ago, I gave up Mondays. Working seven days a week makes my wallet happy, but not my body. So now I have a day off, when nobody at either job needs to call a day off on that day – which obviously happened the very first week after I gave up Mondays.

parc-michel-chartrand-butterfly

Well, I had my now teenage son at home this weekend. He sure can take care of himself when daddy is working. He’s pretty much the teen that I was, very quiet, spending most of his free time in front of the computer. Even on a hot sunny weekend. But he didn’t have school on Monday, so he spent an extra day here. Well, Monday was just as nice a day as the weekend had been, peaking at 26°C / 79°F so we spent it together at the park. But wait, not just any park.

parc-michel-chartrand-map

Parc Michel Chartrand, a huge park located right in the middle of a major city

In Longueuil where I live, a suburb of Montréal, there exists a park where humans and animals walk together in peace. If anything, young children unused to the wildlife are often more afraid of the animals than the animals are of the humans. In the center of the park is an open area with three large ponds, called Les Trois Lacs, surrounded by a vast grass area. People there take a sunbath wearing just a bikini (despite there having no swimming area there), throw a football or Frisbee to each other, or just sit by one of the ponds and enjoy the ducks and geese. Some times during the season you can even watch the fish, as the water gets clear when the snow hasn’t just recently melted.

parc-michel-chartrand-ducks-in-love

Ducks in love – the lucky bastards!

If you are up for a walk, there are kilometers of trails in the woods, clearly delimited, where you can see birds and deer. You could literally walk there for hours without ever seeing the same trail twice. Along the way, chances are you are going to see tens of deer, of all ages, and they will pay little attention to you. You can occasionally run on a young one taking a nap right by the side of the trail. They will stay there and watch you pass by them, curious. You could also walk slowly toward them and get as close as just a few feet from them. The only thing I’ve never tried was to touch them, which I assume they wouldn’t allow. Adults seem to be a little more careful and won’t let you get closer than maybe ten meters.

It’s hard to believe such a place exists, right in the middle of such a large city. A place where you don’t get to hear a single car, where you can’t see a house or even a skyscraper. But it’s right there, not that far from my home, and I enjoy spending time there in the summer, when it’s hot and sunny, such as right now.

My son trying to fix his hair – it was a windy day

My son trying to fix his hair – it was a windy day


Couldn’t end this post without this song, to me a symbol of this period of time when winter gives place to summer. Québec singer Marc Déry tells about how he’s glad he made it through another long winter. His way of celebrating the event is to spend the last weekend of April alone on the lake with an once of pot and a fishing rod.

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6 comments on “First Weekend of May

  1. heretherebespiders
    May 6, 2015

    That is a great park! Glad you two got a chance to get outdoors. Your son is quite handsome! Don’t tell him I said that, he’d probably be mortified.

    Did you take the picture of the butterfly? Really pretty.

    If you were a female duck, you wouldn’t think having a drake is a good thing. Rapey bastards.

    I am so glad you are enjoying your job. Wish you didn’t have to work so many hours! Hell, I wish I worked less of my own, and I have weekends off. Hey, send me a good colourful fish-pic sometime, and I’ll draw it for you?

    • Tom Duhamel
      May 6, 2015

      The butterfly is by me, not even cropped, just resized. It was taken in that park, but last year. Butterflies are definitely not out yet, given that I posted a picture of snow just two weeks ago on G+ haha.

      I don’t really have to work that many hours. I’m not yet a full time employee at the LFS, but it won’t be long before I am, and the wage is enough to cover my expenses. I could quit the c-store on the spot if I wanted and still be fine. But I like this job for now, the female manager is extremely friendly (and cute). Not that I still have any real challenge there, in fact I think it’s relaxing. And hey, that’s an extra $100 a week to buy more aquarium stuff!

  2. heretherebespiders
    May 6, 2015

    Oh, and we had a 3-day weekend of nothing but rain and wind. Doubt it got over 16.

    • Tom Duhamel
      May 6, 2015

      Bah, you had flowers 2 months before we could even see the ground below the snow 🙂

  3. sledpress
    May 7, 2015

    I have flowers as of 2 weeks ago. Though we have been able to see the ground since March 5.

    Your son could be your daughter just as easily in that picture, on that dainty watershed between genders that breaks apart in adolescence. Pretty.

    I envy your park. Here in the area of Washington DC, there are numerous parks, but all are little miniature pockets of grass and bushes in an urban exoskeleton. Nothing, for example, like Richmond Park near London, where you see deer too, walking along confident the space is theirs. Deer come to us in the “outer suburbs,” where they eat people’s front lawn shrubs.

    Good luck with the schedule. Even self employed I have had to make myself available six days most weeks for years. Now that I am sixty and have someone living with me and helping with the bills I have finally decided fuck that shit. We all have a right to a day off, and two is better.

    • Tom Duhamel
      May 8, 2015

      Thanks for commenting! This park is a dream, really. I thought that park that I liked in the city I lived in previously was nice, but it was nothing compared to this one.

      As for the schedule, check my answer to Spiders. This was supposed to be temporary, as I was expecting to get an extra day at the LFS very soon. But I learned today about a change in the plan, at least for the next several weeks, and I won’t get that extra day after all. So this schedule will likely stay the same for the rest of the summer. I will be the only person in the world that will actually appreciate Mondays haha

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This entry was posted on May 5, 2015 by in Personal, Pictures and tagged , , , , , , , .

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