Ottawa (Four)

I have been wearing unsexy runners the entire time I’ve been here.  I’m still afflicted with a bad case of shin splints.

This morning, feeling sick and tired of walking and ambivalent about what to do with myself, I sat in a Bridgehead drinking coffee and pretending to read (I can’t get into the book I brought). I intended to sit there until the divine intervened with a plan for the day.

It didn’t take long. An Ottawa hipster girl approached.

“Umm, I work at the salon next door and I was wondering if you’d be available to be a hair model, like, immediately?”

I considered.

  1. Getting my hair done guarantees sitting for at least another ½ hour.
  2. My bangs need a trim anyway.
  3. In the worst case scenario, I have a hat in my bag.

Sure, what else do I have to do?  I expressed my biggest concern. “But … my coffee is in a ceramic mug.”

“I’ll get you a paper cup!”

So, it was settled. The girl turned out to be an apprentice working toward her licence so I didn’t get my bangs trimmed.  But I got a scalp massage and a fancy, voluminous blow-out in a posh salon for free. Rad.

I decided to take my new bouncy hair to the National Gallery. I usually feel like I’m going to short-circuit when look at a lot of art, so I was reticent to hit a gallery knowing I was burned out before I even got there.  I also knew I’d be annoying with myself later if I didn’t go so I set some limits – the Tom Thomson and Group of Seven and the Impressionist/Post-Impressionist sections only. (Admission to the National Gallery is so cheap, I didn’t feel like I was throwing my money away by only looking at two areas). This worked out well. I didn’t get overwhelmed. Faves: Fir Tree and Sky (Emily Carr), The Jack Pine (Tom Thomson), Cliffs at Pourville, Rain (Monet)

After lunch, though I was still crabby about walking, I was fortified enough undertake a long walk down Bank Street into the Glebe. I had it on good authority (Trisha) that Bank Street is where it’s at. I’ve been trying to find a scarf to match my new red coat since I arrived in Ottawa and I finally found one at the outset of my walk. Sadly, today also turned out to be the only day it’s been warm enough not to need a scarf!  (At least it will still be fall when I get home). I ended up taking a lot of coffee and “time to email my friends at home” breaks on the way back because I started to notice a strain in my ankle (I told you I was tired of walking). The Glebe was worth the pain though. Now I know where I’d love to live if I ever really did move to Ottawa.

I got a beaver tail in Byward Market on the way back to the hotel. I saved this for my last day in Ottawa because I was afraid the combination of fried dough and cinnamon sugar would be so beguiling that I’d eat one every single day if I tried it early in the trip. Let me just say, the beaver tail is very, very good. Thank God I didn’t buy one any sooner.

Tonight I’ll pack up my room, attend a yoga class and call it a trip. I like Ottawa. I’m glad I came here. But the jury is out on whether going away was the best approach to dealing with my break-up.

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