Thankfully my 2017 fell apart in a very neat and tidy way. I was romanticly hobbled, in poor physical health, but only semi-homeless. The downward slide was overwhelming but controlled.
Then in early October, my Canadian friend Pat messaged me with a simple: “How are you, Jack?”
I grabbed the question like a ripcord, pulled, and spilled my guts.
I’ve known Pat for about a decade, but I’ve known his wife Kelly for most of twenty years. We went to University together. She studied TV. I studied writing. We worked together on a couple of school TV projects, she’d known me through my bartending days, and I once took a nap under her dorm bed.
Years before meeting Pat I’d heard about him through mutual friends. Everyone said the same thing: “Did you know that there’s a Canadian you?”
I finally met Pat on what would, for a while, become an annual visit to NOTL. These trips involved friends, food, a cottage and Canadian winery tours. I’d loved the wine, and I become addicted to ketchup chips.
After word-vomiting my terrible year, Pat and Kelly talked. Pat came back to me with the suggestion that I check out Canada.
I needed something. This was something.
On its face, if I took advantage of this opportunity, I had only secured a place to sleep for a few months. No problems solved.
But I started to form a plan, and it involved food and restaurants.
The first step was to book the trip. I’d be in Canada at the end of January 2018.