Montreal goes blue in the summer. It goes green too; a welcome reprieve after the complete white blanketing, or the grey grey. But during the week of cirque festival this year (completement cirque, I think it’s called) there was blue: blue people prowling up and down all of St. Denis. I heard one woman exclaim with such sweet satisfaction when she saw them, “Thank you Montreal. Thank you.” She’s obviously not from here, her accent could be American or Torontonian. I’m pretty sure she was from the U.S.A. You see, some people think this is a magic city. The city where buses that look like they've been tie-dyed transport us from one place to another, merrily, while avoiding without qualm the stretch of street closed off for the festival. Wherever the festival is; there is always a festival somewhere. A city where people are free. Well, there are festivals all over the place, I concede it. There are balconies full of people and liquor, lots of music and large groups forming circles in the parks. St.Cat’s at Place des Arts is in permanent festival lockdown pretty much from June to September, true.
But most of the time most of us are not all blue; most of the time we wear different colours on our skin and clothing. Darker to paler shades that seem to separate us often. Not always, thankfully, but often. It can be painful to see how it is; I watch these blue people with some envy but mostly with wonder. What if we were all blue? What if we were completely plastered in that one hue, with no colours on our clothing either, just matted blue entities?
Would we be like drops in the ocean? How would we move around? Would all of our interactions with police just be one h2o to another? A sort of shared, understood interaction? Would we even need cops? I’d like to say it was already like that here; that the impression tourists have of Montreal’s free spiritedness is fundamentally true. There is truth to it, but I can't say it’s fundamentally true. When the heat dies down the buses lose their colours and the streets open back up to cars, and there are no blue people.
But maybe there should be. Maybe that’s the solution. Hey, there are language laws that seemed extreme at the time they were passed (shout out to Bill 101) designed to save french and even out the playing field. So why not this, why not pass a law that all people be all blue all the time? Why not fire off the magic bullet? Let Montreal be the free-spirited city it appears to some to be; that we all know it has the potential to become.
C’mon Montreal, whatchya waiting for?