Saturday, February 13, 2010

Brunch Stories

Waiting for the streetcar this morning, bundled up with a bag of laundry on my back, I watched two girls having brunch together at the Gladstone. Sitting across the table from each other, in the window, they were an unexpected and interesting study. Makes me wonder who was studying me from windows above.

Girl on the right, in yellow, was the talker. On and on she went, wielding a stabbed berry on the end of her fork. “Eat it” I thought, “just put it in your mouth” but she did not. Up it would come near her face, but a new thought would overtake her and the berry would be lowered again, a constant foiling.

Girl on the left, in green, was starving and silent. She listened politely as she devoured her pancakes, big satisfying bite after big satisfying bite. The pancakes being all she really cared about, all that was in her mind. She half looked at her friend, nodding at what I’m sure were properly timed intervals, at near perfect moments. Her eyes were glazed over, taking in yet another tangent about her friend’s dimwit boyfriend, and how he never takes her out to brunch and I really. Can’t. Figure. Out. Why…how did this berry get stuck to the end of my fork anyway…

Brunch has become the sacred tradition of Canadians everywhere, the morning after drinking, the extension of the weekend, the bitch session about the night before, the toast and coffee following a sleepless night with a new, secret lover, the final gathering of friends, the closing of the weekend ceremony. Followed by a splash in a puddle, a trip to the video store and a movie on the couch by yourself.

All over town, we congregate in an unknown, city-wide, communal gathering under an unspoken, understanding cloud. Girls with matted hair and sweatpants sit near girls who got up hours before, who have put on just as much make up as the night before, messed their hair a little, in the attempt to look unkempt, but lovely. All wrapped in a giant blanket formed by the knowing, the morning-after servers, who were there at the same club last night, who secretly saw you freak out, drunkenly, at your positively unfaithful boyfriend. And now here you are, fluttering your doe-eyes at your now most faithful man, no, nothing happened last night, nothing except Jager, and she smiles on knowingly, unbeknownst to you.

Brunch is a place to be seen, and have one last chance to prove yourself this week. No one remembered the shit you said, right? Or how perfectly your eyes glittered last night, so lets give ‘em one more try. “Oh this? Must be left-over make-up, ha..haha…” You pat your eyelids and sweep your hair back into place, sip your coffee and change the subject.

The Bishop & The Belcher, never a place for those types of brunches, simply a place to eat, have your coffee, accidently smash an entire bottle of ketchup all over the carpet under your table, and hide your shame cause you know the server knows you’re high.

The Bellvue, always a place to be judged, to impress your group from the night before, but think about it, he who orders an entire plate of bacon for breakfast is not one to be impressed. But you are young, and the friend you brought along is embarrassing you terribly with his whimsical ways and you shudder, but you’ll see years later that he was the only one who was real.

The Gladstone; we’ve come back full circle. Squeezing in at the end of a horseshoe booth, at home with your friends, you’re judging yourself. You begin to see that perhaps its always been you, only you, all along. Well then, just listen to your friends’ stories and gorge yourself on pancakes, after all, it’s only breakfast.

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