Places I’ve Lived: Unwashed Dishes in Montreal, Wild Pigs in India and Roasted Marshmallows in Toronto

Claremont and De Maisonneuve, Montreal, Quebec, May 2000-September 2001, $450/month I was still living with my parents when I met James, who needed a roommate. Eighteen and nerdy, I was vastly impressed by guys who revered Hunter S. Thompson and smoked a lot of pot, so I happily moved into this apartment with him. This was despite the fact that the one previous time I’d hung out with James I’d somehow ended up drinking an entire pitcher of vodka and orange juice cooled only by a frozen plastic-wrapped chicken burger (James didn’t have any ice cubes), then slept through an exam the next day. But waking up the first morning in my new, tiny room, where my one window overlooked a row of garbage bins and my bed took up around 85 percent of available floor space, I felt light and free—I didn’t have to worry about following my parents’ rules or eating a proper breakfast any longer! I could even eat licorice for breakfast! I was an adult! This feeling quickly wore off, however, as James and I embarked on a war of attrition over whose turn it was to wash the dishes. As the pile of dirty dishes grew, our apartment became less and less welcoming. Occasionally James and I would strike an uneasy peace, however, and watch episodes of Dark Angel together while eating huge piles of buttered toast. I pretty much survived on buttered toast and licorice that year and, much to my parents’ concern, grew gaunt and wild-eyed.