Small World Department

Any anglo Montrealer can tell you about our “small town within a big city” environment, where we all seem to know each other, and everyone seems to have bonked everyone, and if you haven’t at least your room-mate has. Well here’s an anglo Montreal Small World Story of global proportions:

The players:

  • Moi (bystander)
  • Randi (my ex)
  • Mikel (another bystander–a buddy of mine, and a former office colleague of Randi)
  • Virginia (Mikel’s ex)
  • A quadriplegic kid in Bangladesh

It was a Monday night soireé on the Main, in honour of the upcoming Montreal Fringe Festival. I was there with Randi and we bumped into Virginia, who works for the festival. Randi and Virginia haven’t met before but have heard of each other.

A bit later, I’m talking to Virginia about international travel and Bangladesh comes up. Her parents, it turns out, are there as diplomats. I mention that in 1996 Randi had spent six weeks doing volunteer work in Bangladesh at a hospital for people with spinal cord injuries.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, Virginia has not only heard of the place where Randi volunteered, but she’s been there several times. We found Randi on the other side of the room and had her confirm we were talking about the same place. The hospital (called the “CRP”) is funded through a variety of international sources and is known to the diplomatic community, and hence to Virginia’s parents, who introduced her to it.

It gets better. When Randi was there, her favourite patient was a 14-year-old orphan who had been working and living at a factory, and one night she fell out of a window and got tangled up in a mangrove tree, rendering her quadriplegic. Randi and some others taught her to paint with her mouth, and she’s now living somewhat independently as a mouth-painter. Virginia not only knew who Randi was talking about, but purchased some postcards of this girl’s paintings when she was there last year.

Imagine that. Welcome to Montreal.