Day 80

We went up the Montreal mountain huffing and puffing the last 10 yards on this long set of stairs.

We looked out from the plateau where Quebec’s favorite daughter, Celine Dion, was married in 1994. We snapped some pretty cute pictures, used a bathroom, warmed up, and then went back down. Going down, of course, was much easier than going up.

On the way down that long staircase we passed a man whom we’d passed going down about 30 minutes earlier. He was going up again. He was carrying a bag roughly the size of a bowling ball bag, and his green jacket was covered with…sweat?

“How many times?” I blurted out. He stopped and took measure of me with clear blue eyes. I judged him to be about 60 years old. This being Montreal, I wasn’t sure if he’d understood me in English, so I said, v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y, “didn’t we see you going up about a half hour ago?”

“Yes, that was me,” he said (in lovely English). I don’t think he had even had to catch to his breath.

“And is that…sweat, er, perspiration on your jacket? In ten degree weather?”

Yes it was sweat, yes he’d been climbing up and down that loooong set of stairs for about 2 hours. He was on his 34th, no his 37th — “well actually,” he said,”I think I’ve lost track of the exact number.”

“And is that a defibrillator in your bag? “I asked.

He laughed.”It probably should be,” he said.

“Is it”– God forbid — “weights?”

“No,” he said. “It’s dry clothes.”

DAMN straight the man needed dry clothes. And Melissa and I needed a cup of coffee. Which we promptly got at Broadway Cheesecake on Rue University.