Leaving Quyon

Leaving Quyon, an elegy.  An autumnal scene of a rustic shed, tree trunks, a bench and trees with fall colors
The past is another planet.

Forty long years ago, I met a guy and fell. It was one of those holiday things: I was visiting Canada from England, where I was living, and was heading back there in a week or so. He was—is—a choreographer-dancer on a trajectory that would end in brilliant success, awards, esteem. I, on the other hand, was muddling through, though I daresay looking rather pretty with it.

My heart, not for the first or the last time, broke; cracked like porcelain, erupted like Vesuvius, and when our sojourn of sex ended I experienced, not for the first or the last time, the sensation that an essential part of me had been—not lopped off, oh no; more like maimed, and I would henceforth and forever have to drag around this mangled horror while putting on a brave face and pretending I was whole.

At the beginning of October, 2016, we saw each other again, for the first time since 1978. I was then 61. He was, I would like to say, ageless, and I know he would like that, too. I went to visit him in Quyon, about sixty miles outside Ottawa on the Gatineau, Québec side of things.

He had been living in a outwardly ramshackle four-storey beast of a house that, in fact, once you got past the front doors, revealed a mix of modern necessities and even luxuries—under which rubric does a sunken, heart-shaped bathtub fall, I wonder—and that eclectic, eccentric collector’s style that makes a dwelling into a cozy and endlessly fascinating museum of one’s life.

This is where he had held workshops, mentored dancers, acted as a choreographic dramaturge for visiting groups. And his time here was coming to an end: the house sold during the four days I was there. 

The past is another planet. I no longer know either of the young men who inhabited it. When it was time to leave, when he held me and I wept like my heart would break yet again and yet again, I had a dizzying, frantic perception, like a film reel scattering its millions of individual cells, of the arc of time that bound this moment to our first.

Every act contributed: every time I had chosen one street over another, one particular meal, whether or not to skip class, or to hold my tongue or speak my mind, to be friends or enemies or whether to eat toast with jam or drink my coffee black: Like Alice on the recalcitrant road that mocks her plucky determination and flings her back to the present at every attempt to escape, my freedom had been illusory, and I, too, ended up at a destination I could never have foreseen.

This is, I believe, the perception I will have at the moment of my death: Roses touching my fingers when I am an infant, reaching up to a sun burning through summer curtains, my anxious mother’s cheek pressed to mine, all my loves and my cruelties, my grief and my regrets falling away as I step over the boundary

beyond which, for all I know, I may meet her again, meet each and every one of them again, face to beloved face.


all photos © 2019, David Roddis.

The insider secrets of my fabulous life! #1 in an unending series +PLUS+ Luxury Hack #5,304: Make your Infinity Tub into a FREE Jacuzzi!

Fabulous Life Insider Secret #1:  Foam bath with acolyte.  

Quick summary for the ADHD set:
Feeling stressed? Have yourself a foam bath attended by one of your acolytes!

Yeah, that’s it.  Aren’t you just kicking yourself and/or smacking yourself in the forehead with your open palm as you realize how this obvious solution was staring you right in the face? Time to don that tiara with the big “L” for loser, dude!

Full version for the subset of the ADHD set who get ODSP funds and therefore have plenty of time to read this tripe when they’re not partying, recovering from partying or figuring out how they can party some more now that their ODSP funds are gone:

When I’m feeling stressed I don’t “whistle a happy tune”.

No way, José!

Neither do I yearn for a smarmy session of “getting to know you, getting to know all about you”, nor do I chortle a cheery yet maddeningly superior “hello young lovers, wherever you are”.

No siree, fuck that Oscar Hammerstein the Second – Gertie Lawrence bullshit!

Gertie Lawrence as Anna Leonowens, with diphtheria victim (unidentified), Victorian vibrator (not visible), and funny ethnic type (Siamese).  (If he’s Siamese, shouldn’t there be two?  Kinda confused. – ed.)   

What DO you do, I hear you cry.

Well, in total contrast to Gertie Lawrence –

– who at this point, in her role as the intrepid Anna Leonowens, would be donning her gigantic hoop skirt and starched-to-rigidity cambric blouse, packing her primitive yet deliciously functional first-iteration Victorian oak-and-needlepoint vibrator, and sailing off third-class to Siam on a jaunty whaling vessel entrusted to the care of a bunch of randy, scurvy-ridden diphtheria victims –

– when I’m feeling more bent out of shape than a pair of Dirk Diggler’s underpants, I like to take a much more fabulous and infinitely more chillaxing foam bath in my custom-made four-foot-long Infinity Tub – 

(This of course explains the near-constant prune-y state of my fingers and toes, and while we’re on that sensitive topic may I just convey a heavily sarcastic thank you for your grand total of zero telegrams of concern about this) – attended by one of my many luscious acolytes (fig 1).  

So you can just bite me, Oscar Hammerstein the Second.

fig.1 :  Foam bath with anonymous acolyte Gregory.  (Bespoke four-foot Infinity Tub with Jacuzzi feature [q.v. Life Hack], wine by Jackson-Triggs.  Merlot? Cab Sauv? Don’t try this at home!)

And let’s get this straight right off the bat:  Don’t, and believe me when I say DO NOT, try and guess the identity of – or POACH – the luscious acolyte in the accompanying photo (fig 1).

To forestall your pathetic advances I’ve blurred the face so that no one can tell it’s my friend-cum-acolyte Gregory who lives at 250 Sherbourne Street just up the road.  Apartment 1805.

If you don’t believe me, you can call 416 802 6163 and I’m pretty sure either Greg or one of his countless, STI-laden sexual partners will answer.  I tell ya, that pervy little man-slut knocks back tetracycline capsules like they were salted cashews. Anyhoo.

What was I saying?  Oh yeah –

So, nice try, poacher peeps! You can just put away your desperate offer of less than 80 hours of back-breaking, soul-destroying work a week – as if!with the occasional randomly-timed reward of four ounces of boiled hot-dog “meat” and a glimpse of sky out of the basement door transom so they shouldn’t forget. PUH-LEEEASE!

My acolytes LOVE the way worshipping – sorry, working for me keeps their weight down at ballerina-with-bulimia levels, and their minds more occupied than a Donald Trump rally at the neighbourhood mosque.

You’re ever so fucking welcome, and yes, I am completely awesome, thanks for drawing everyone’s attention to this yet again!

And now “shall I dance!  (thump thump thump)
On a bright cloud of music shall I fly!”  (thwack thwack thwack)

My little sycophants!  I ♥ you guys!  Big hugs! You too, Gertie!  LO fucking L!

And now for your bonusUntitled-1.png

Flap your legs around in the bathtub to create your very own 100% free Jacuzzi!*

Bathtub NOT included with luxury hack.
Bathtub MAY BE different from that shown.
Bathtub NOT shown to scale.
Bathtub MUST contain water.
Water NOT included.
Your USE or NON-USE of life hack is at your own risk and MAY or MAY NOT be fun, depending on lusciousness of acolyte.
Please see legal copy for definition of “LUSCIOUS”.
I reserve the right to have Meryl Streep play the acolyte OR to substitute George Clooney OR to cancel their participation at any time without notice.
Acolyte NOT included.
NOT to scale. NOT fun. NOT Meryl. NOT Clooney. NOT luscious. NOT this. NOT that.
More rules, more rules.
Blah, blah, blah.]


Memory Lane, c/o The Little Cottage with the Delphiniums, Cabbagetown, Toronto.

The Eponymous Delphiniums. Since you asked.
The eponymous Delphiniums. Since you asked.

Yes, it’s nostalgia time here at slowpainful dot com, and this of course means I’m going to fob you off with repurposed material.  Never, and believe me when I say it, NEVER forget how good I am to you.

The first barrel of crude comes courtesy of, you guessed it, my fracking source of choice for black, sticky narcissism, Facebook.   What would I do with my time otherwise?  Clean the apartment? Fuddle-duddle! 

(Justin, baby, did you catch my little quote from Papa Trudeau?   My little fresh-from-the-oven brioche!  Now  answer your frickin’ phone, OK?)


If you click on the image – oh, snookums, as if you haven’t already, c’mon now, own up – you’ll be transported back to a kinder, gentler time of stockpiled egg whites and their invaluable quick life tip.  Trust me when I say that my brutal honesty around this particular hack has saved many, many a marriage from actually taking place.

And if the stiffening peaks of my meringue leave your heart cold as a baked Alaska, allow me, if you will, to regale you with the updated semi-colons and changed text color on my post » Sacramento! and other useful California expressions.  This is what we call, in “Innernet” jargon, a refresh.

So if you’re planning an ill-advised trip to California, or just looking to toss, as it were, some sparkly Epsom salts into the flat, tepid bathwater that is your sorry excuse for a life, I urge you to check it out.

Yes, I am, and thanks as always for being so in-my-face about it!

Thus, in summary, never, never forget how – hmmm?  Oh, I did — ?

Social Awareness: The Day, The Ribbon, The Sorrow

You may be wondering.

I know you may be wondering because you’ve been texting me  “???'” repeatedly since two this morning when I didn’t respond in under a nanosecond to your message consisting of “Sup?”

Well, “sup” is, to my chagrin, National “Walk-In-Front-of-David-Reeeaaal-Slowly-with-a-Cane-While-Being-Elderly” Day.  Which will explain why I didn’t make our afternoon hook-up where you wanted both of us to wear condoms. Both of us!  Freekin’ jeezus, dude, it’s only a hand-job!

(And as for discretion: You really believe your wife hasn’t discovered your “Color Me Barbra” LP under that “secret” porn stash of Chi-chi LaRue tapes? Dream on, girlfriend!)

 Don't forget the Peek Freans.
Don’t forget the Peek Freans.

Your Ribbon: To show your support for National “Walk-In-Front-of-David-Reeeaaal-Slowly-with-a-Cane-While-Being-Elderly” Day, wear a white ribbon that has been smeared with the red, gelatinous substance found in the centre of a Peek Freans™ Fruit Creme Biscuit™.

Insider Tip:  Actual crumbs are an optional, but supportive, gesture.

Let’s be sure we’re on the same page:  Some people are laboring under the misapprehension that National “Walk-In-Front-of-David-Reeeaaal-Slowly-with-a-Cane-While-Being-Elderly” Day is heralded by a yellow ribbon with dribbles of saliva and egg yolk.*

Now, I can totally understand how you could mix these two up, what with their very slight similarity, combined with your IQ of 80 and inability to converse meaningfully with anyone over the age of six.  But truth is, saliva and egg yolk, to those who’ve done their homework, could only limn the look and feel of  “Old-Geezer-Who-Will-Be-Spending-His-Remaining-Years-with-his-Ass-Adhering-to-the-Cushion-of-His-La-z-boy™-Recliner”  Month.  

At least try to make an effort, OK? Or pretend?

Next Monday (Spoiler Alert): Be up bright and early to celebrate the start of

“Get-Honked-at-From-Behind-By-a-Welfare-Case-Driving-Their-Motorized-Wheelchair-down-the-Pavement-With-One-Hand-While-Simultaneously-Drinking-a-Timmies-Coffee-Smoking-an-Export A-and Clutching-A-Small-Yet-Overfed-Yapping-Toy-Poodle-With-Rheumy-Pink-Eyes”  


(Mauve ribbon with taffeta overlay in nicotine brown.)

But I mean, honestly. People are SO self-centered.

* Since you asked.  Regarding the “some people” question, it is axiomatic that “some people can get a thrill knitting sweaters and sitting still.”  In fact, that’s peachy for some people who don’t know they’re alive. That’s OK for some people of one hundred and five!   But I at least gotta try.  

I hope your autograph book is back from the cleaners

Flash! Flash! Click! Click!

It’s a week since I reached the heady milestone of 10 “likes” and 10 followers on this blog, and you can bet your sweet patooty that life will never be the same again.

I’m sure the only reason that I’m still able to leave my apartment unmolested – an act whose desirability leaves me somewhat conflicted, what with all those hours spent on Craigslist laboring in vain for the opposite result – is the sub-Arctic, -16C* temperatures outside my Toronto igloo-in-the-sky. Or is it that rancid, faint whiff of whale blubber, which I smear over my Stanfield’s combinations in a desperate attempt to retain heat, that accompanies me through the months-long, socialist darkness of the Canadian winter?  Who the f— knows?

*For American readers, who quite understandably prefer Imperial measurements to those commie Centigrade ones, -16 Celsius is approximately equivalent to “freeze your bollocks off”, or six tablespoons. I hope that’s more clear.

What does the future hold, I hear you cry. Well, I’m absolutely choughed (pronounced “chuffed”. It means “thrilled” in the U.K.  Don’t even ask.) to tell you I’m currently awaiting  Céline’s email response to my offer of opening for me in Vegas, which will surely arrive once Wind Mobile has taken the cap off my “unlimited” data plan.

Unlimited? Wind, you grand kiddeur, you!  LOL!   May I add, with just a hint of chough, that only in Canada do you find a telecommunications company honest enough to name itself after the British slang for intestinal gas. Which is just another example, along with tar-sands oil and its avatar, our own Stephen Leacock – sorry, Harper – of the dry, self-effacing, last-laugh’s-on-you Canadian humor that constitutes our biggest export.

But back to me.  Please.  Fame of this magnitude brings responsibility, and there is work to be done.  I have spent the last eight days devising a strategy for my own and my fans’ protection, seeing as a spring thaw is bound to happen.  So here it is:  Once the snow is down to armpit level, around August, I will wear attention-grabbing, Alexis Carrington-sized sunglasses from Dollarama whenever I leave the apartment, or, as I now refer to it, my Toronto compound.  (Pictured: Professional re-enactment, please do not try this at home.)

I know. But when my security is at stake, nothing, but nothing is too big a sacrifice, and Céline swears by them.

And where does this leave you.
I’m sure you may be wondering.  All ten of you.  (Or is it 20?  Assuming the likes and the follows don’t overlap.  Mon dieu !)  Well. Let this be my promise :  Though it’s great to “arrive”, I will never, ever forget the little people – that’s you – I crushed to pulp on my way up.

Bisous, baby, I’m literally out of here as soon as my car arrives.  And get me Justin Trudeau on my cell.  Tell that pretty little candy-ass liberal I want to learn the Quebec for “tête-à-tête.”