Montreal: Water Water Everywhere And Not a Safe Drop to Drink!

I love flying Air Canada because when they land in Montreal the pilots swoop down like returning geese. As we soar past the St. Lawrence River, my stomach skips a beat from the quick descent.

When I landed last night, I noticed the runway was wet. It had either rained or the town was finally melting.

I was welcomed in two languages, a kiss on both cheeks and a warning not to drink the city water. Don’t brush your teeth; don’t cook with it, don’t even look at it  – unless you boil it first.
The water level of the main reservoir was accidentally compromised. It’s low enough to introduce giardia when consumed. I had been introduced to that bitch years ago from my old friend sushi, and I have no interest in becoming reacquainted.

The news said it was safe to wash dishes with it; but my building posted signs in the elevator not to. When there are opposing facts, I fear conspiracy.

I rushed to the grocery at 9 p.m. and there was mayhem in the aisles. People were grabbing water like Americans grabbing free cheese. They ran out of bottled water and I just stood in the center of the store empty handed, glad guns never took off here.

I never knew how much I relied on water. Back home, I sat in the dark sipping seltzer, flipping between French and English news and tried not to get thirsty. All the talk about water made me need to pee really badly, but I was afraid to waste the fluid. Suddenly, a fierce storm hit, driving rain at my windows with thousands of insulting slaps. No water for you.
It’s now been 24 hours. I boiled pots of water but the resulting water tasted like food. Apparently I'm also a bad dishwasher.

I walked to the shops today to get dinner. The old lady in the poissonnerie cackled when I asked if she had any large bottles of water. I want to believe she’s nice but just very sick and that was a cough. Once home, I couldn’t wash my salad greens so I shook them angrily. I rolled a radish around in a glass of water like I was rinsing a fake eye, and peeled the potatoes cursing the teacher that told me all the nutrients were in the skin.

I haven’t showered. All I can hear is that damned Clinique salesman at Duty Free who went on and on about hydration and the skin being the body’s biggest organ, so I am not about to willingly soak in tainted water.

I’ll probably have to let the pets go. I quickly remember that I’m not really that mean and I don’t have pets.

Dishes are piled up in the sink. Not only can I not wash the dishes, I actually can’t wash dishes. Even if I could, at what point are they not contaminated? I can soap them up; but the rinsing water messes them back up. Kind of like the circle of germs that using a public bathroom creates – I wash my hands then stare at the nasty door handle, frozen in place, hating my predicament.

I’m in Montreal just to legally eat a little foie gras and write about it. No, I can’t just eat out, I scream at my friends back home in safe Los Angeles. I can’t trust that a chef will boil water before they cook my food any more than they can trust that I’ll write nice things.

How bad is it? Starbucks closed early today. This shit just got real.

Update to the story: The water is now safe. I did bathe in good champagne and showered in diamonds, but nothing beats Montreal's great drinking water -- after all, being this far north, they are closest to the source.


  1. Who else do we know that can turn a bad situation, a good situation or even an ideal situation and turn it into an even better entertaining article! Well, I know of no one else but Greg! WM of Brookmede Farm


  3. Loved the read. Brings up a very serious issue, too many of us on this planet and we are running out of drinking water. If we don't want big wars over water we better perfect the desalination process as well as minimizing water waste and reuse of waste water. There are plenty of systems out there for reclaiming water and saving water. Just do it! Anyone has a glass of cool spring water? I'm parched


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