5:00 P.M. Sunset Running for Home
And so my work day ends. The last coat of the cold pastel colours are painted under the clouds; a new moon rises. I begin the commute back home to Barrhaven.
And so my ‘work’ day begins. The first coat of the warm pastel colours are painted above the clouds; a full moon rises. I hit the snooze button and go back to bed.
6:00 P.M. Hello Time Bomb
Dial ‘The Wife.’ Ring ring ring… “Hun, I am terribly sorry, but I won’t be home on time for date night. The traffic today is astoundingly terrible. Wait for me!”
Text ‘Tinderella.’ Tap tap tap... “Boo, I am terrifically sorry, but I won’t be alive for our date tonight. This hangover is astonishingly debilitating. Don’t wait for me.”
7:00 P.M. Suburbia
I open the front door to my Barrhaven town house and let out a deep sigh of relief. The cold, perfectly acclimatized, filtered air smells so sweet. “Hunny, I’m home!”
I open the front door in my downtown loft and triumphantly take a deep breath in. The warm, wind-swept city air smells so sweet. “Ottawa, I’m awake!”
8:00 P.M. Dark Roast
Dinner! So many options. Kelsey’s. Boston Pizza. East Side Mario’s... It feels like a night for Kelsey’s. The wife loves their jalapeño poppers and I love their free prawn soup refills. The ridged jalapeño poppers really do pop. Spicy! Caliente!
Breakfast! So many choices. Coffee. Coffee. COFFEE! It feels like a day for Ottawa’s Best Coffee Shoppe. Lex loved their fairly traded, organic, local meerkat-shit coffee beans. The small batch pumpkin macchiato really has a kick. Buenos Amigos!
9:00 P.M. Failing the Rorschach Test
One night each month, I treat myself to my favourite drink after dinner. The bartender at Kelsey’s knows just how I like it too. “Caesar, no tabasco please.” Victor always gives me an extra spicy bean - best restaurant in town!
One night each day, I treat myself to my favourite drink after breakfast. The cashier at the LCBO knows just what I like too. “Spicy Caesar, swimming in Sriracha!.” Victoria always gives me an extra sample of Super Premium vodka - best LCBO in town!
10:00 P.M. The Future is X Rated
Time to wind down. I slip under the bed sheets, have a glass of ginger ale and turn on The Weather Network. Cool segment on a timelapse in Ottawa. I kiss my loving, adoring wife on the cheek, turn out the lights and drift away.
Time to wind up. I clench my fists over the bottle, pour a glass of Super Premium and tune in to CKCU. Hot segment on The New Swears. I hug my adorable, lovely 12 ounce flask, turn on the lights, spread my wings and soar away.
11:00 P.M. I Miss New Wave
There’s something simmering below the moon tonight. It beckons me to an old memory from twenty years ago. The tighter I close my eyes, the closer that night from twenty years ago becomes. I remember it like it was yesterday...
There’s something boiling over the moon tonight. It pushes me towards a new experience that I’d remember for years to come. The wider I open my eyes, the darker this rabbit hole becomes. For the rest of my life, I’d remember it like it was yesterday...
12:00 A.M. Beautiful Midnight
I recognize their faces from the Party Boy Funhouse. Everyone is here. The most unusual cast of characters. The type of people no one would expect to find in Ottawa. Like a swarm of cicadas, they swarm feverishly every time The New Swears play a show. For the next 5 hours, I am to become one of those cicadas.
Any minute now, The New Swears are set to arrive on stage. The anticipation couldn’t be any more meteoric than if Rob Ford had presented an award at the Oscars. Everyone is just so… ‘tight’. I’ve never truly met any of these people, yet they all feel like distant friends.
1:00 A.M. Let’s Get It On
Moments before The New Swears appear the crowd is packt like sardines in a crushed tin can. Yet, there’s nothing fishy or claustrophobic about it. And, when they do finally take the stage, every single fucking cicada loses it.
The childlike exuberance and wonderment lift my skinny fists like antennas to Heaven. I can’t help but feel overwhelmed. I close my eyes and fall into the crowd. My God, it’s deafening.
2:00 A.M. Load Me Up
When my eyes finally open, the crowd is soaring higher than my fists. They become impossibly light beneath the New Swears’ radiant glow. Maybe it was the music. Maybe it was the warehouse they were playing in. Maybe it was the PBR. Maybe it was the tsunami of hipster sweat. But I felt God tap me on the shoulder and say, “Bet you didn’t think this could ever happen in Ottawa, did you? Oh ye of little faith.”
“Fuck, God, why have you hidden this spectacular gem of Ottawa from me for so long?”
“To teach you the meaning of serendipity, my son. Now duck, boy, there is a foot coming towards your face.”
3:00 A.M. Going All The Way
The New Swears play their last song of the set and fade off into an empty corridor. Is it over already? I hadn’t even blinked yet. That thrill, that incredible rush that only going to The Best Party Ever could summon. They can’t… they wouldn’t take that away from me!
4:00 A.M. Bedtime Whatever
But the night isn’t over. A night with The New Swears never ends. Not until the next day begins. The crowd knowingly gathers outside. No cups; no glasses - just bottles and cans, shared ever so quaintly among friends, while they wait for their heroes.
When The Swears finally do arrive on the scene, it is, dare I say… casually. The crowd sways to and fro, trots everywhere and nowhere - like a school playground, with all the chaos and unpredictability you’d expect at 4 A.M. recess.
As The Swears depart, the pastel colours begin to wash over the horizon once again. And, right on queue, tomorrow becomes today when tomorrow’s sun begins to rise.
5:00 A.M. Sunrise, Running for Home
I’m old. But dreaming of that night, twenty years ago, makes me feel young again. No matter how boring my ‘government worker, married in Barrhaven, dinner at Kelsey’s’ lifestyle gets, I will always look back upon that night and think “Fuck yeah, what a life!”
And so, my work day begins. Good Morning, Ottawa!
I’m young. But this night, that just ended, makes me feel distinguished. In twenty years from now, when I'm a boring old man, working for the government, married in Barrhaven and eating at Kelsey's I'll look back at this night and think "Fuck yeah, what a life!”
And so, my 'work' day ends. Goodnight Ottawa!
Written and Photographed by Steffi
Special thanks to Arboretum Festival, The New Swears, and Yuan Lu.