Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Canada – CCCXXIX. Difficult Beginnings (12 of 15)

Getting to Candiac every day was no easy matter; I took a bus to the Intercity Western Terminal (there were two of them at the time) on Dorchester Boulevard, and from there another bus that took me to my destination.  I had to wake up very early every day; between the commute, my early rise, and handling my new job, I was getting very tired.  In time I would be able to get a lift from colleagues at work, but for the time being I needed to find a practical solution.

On my first weekend, I explored the area in the immediate vicinity of the terminal.  I came across a street called Mac Kay.  There were a few detached homes at the beginning; and towards the end there were a few one-level buildings; one of them had a “Room for Rent” sign.  I entered and was received by a kind-looking lady.  When I inquired about the room, she told me to follow her up.

The room was ideal in every way.  It was large, and it included a double bed, a night table, a table and two chairs, and a dresser.  There was also a kitchen that comprised a sink, fridge, two burners, and all the necessary implements for light cooking.  By the door was a second small sink for morning ablutions.  The bathroom and shower were outside and was shared between two rooms.

What more could I ask for?  It was very close to the terminal, it was in the heart of downtown, and the rent was reasonable.  By what about the other occupants?  I already informed you that I had the weird idea that because Canadians were of European descent, they were a cut above the rest of humanity; therefore, I need not concern myself with my immediate neighbors!

There and then I paid a week rent, and by the second day I moved in.

The first week was heavenly; I did not need to wake up at an ungodly hour; and one bus took me to Candiac.  I dined out every night; for I was surrounded by restaurants which offered a decent meal at a reasonable price.  I spend the weekend with my friends on Park Avenue.  On weeknights I explored downtown Montréal, and when I was good and tired, I came back to my room and slept like a baby – well almost.

By the second week, I started hearing noise at night:  arguments, raised voices, and what sounded like impaired people; but that’s impossible I thought, they can`t drink, they have to go to work on the second day!

By now I am sure you have figured out that this was a rooming house; that the population freely imbibed and didn’t concern itself with the impact it had on their occupation, if indeed they had a job.  You also have no doubt concluded that I was hopelessly naïve.  The question was:  When will I see the light?  This after all was a dangerous place to live in.

By the third week it was beginning to dawn on me that something was amiss here.  Canadians were human after all; and it seems that I have been too hasty when I put them collectively on a pedestal; after all, more often than not, my neighbors were intoxicated.  Was it risky to live here?  Should I move out?

The decision was taken out of my hand when Robert and his wife Margot came to visit me.  Yes, they agreed, the room was nice, and the location ideal; but my roommates were the unwanted members of society; many were probably on welfare, if not engaged in a life of crime.  Robert declared that the place was unsafe; I had to give my notice and get the hell out.  Margot stressed that I was lucky I hadn’t been hurt or worse.  The two of them were not merely suggesting, they were ordering me to leave!  They stayed until I went to the manager and notified her that I was leaving on Friday.

“You were the only decent person here, I am so sorry you’re leaving us,” said the manager.  On my last day, she called as many people as she could find to notify them that that nice gentleman in the room at the end of the corridor was leaving.  I can’t say that they were surprised; they shook my hand and wished me good luck; an old lady whispered to me:  “This was not a place for you.”

Indeed it wasn’t.

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