Incident in San Francisco (Chapter 2, page 2 of 5)


Previous Page
Next Page

Chapter 2

Today, though, the pedestrians were hurrying to their lunch-hour destinations out in the bright, cool sunlight. For a minute Laura watched them - the older businessmen in their well-tailored dark suits, younger men dressed down in sports coats and slacks in a variety of colors, and the women, dressed in that style so unique to this city. It was not the cold, sexless high fashion of Fifth Avenue, nor was it a cheap, flashy sexiness. Rather, it combined well-cut clothing and eye-catching accessories worn with an attitude of joie de vivre which made people-watching a delight for men and women alike. Delighted also were retailers, for maintaining this style required constant wardrobe refreshing. Perhaps rooted in some generations-back genes from Paris, but enhanced by an awareness and acceptance of everything new and interesting in the clothing world, the style adopted by the women of Montreal contributed greatly to the city's charm.

Some of the Paris genes must have carried through to influence the driving style, too, although the movement of the vehicles Laura saw below was much more controlled than the craziness of central Paris or Rome. But the speeds were similar. With the excellent public transportation systems, people who were nervous about driving in downtown traffic simply didn't drive. Those who did drive, drove with the intent to get to their destination as quickly as possible. Absent were the blaring horns and yelling drivers of New York, and any screeching of tires was more often due to too-sudden acceleration than to braking. Driving here was a terrifying experience for people who had moved or traveled from some quieter place, but a delight to those who drove well and appreciated being able to get where they needed to be with a minimum of time wasted and frustration endured.

The colorful flow on the streets and sidewalks below was not the view Laura needed this time. She had to rest her eyes and clear her mind by looking up, over the busy scene far below her window. From this lofty viewpoint she could see the business area of the city as it sloped down thorough centuries-old Old Montreal to the river. The mighty St. Lawrence was halfway along its thousand-mile journey from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic at this point, and Laura was much too far away to draw on the soothing effect of moving water. The sight of this great body of water, unchanging through the years, did help her relax as she let her gaze roam from the Champlain Bridge to the south, downstream past Ile Ste.-Helene, and on to the east for as far as the river remained in view. Then she lifted her eyes from the slaty blue-gray ribbon of river and looked due south, over the flat lands of the Eastern Townships below the St. Lawrence. Just a short freeway drive to the south lay the border, where drivers suddenly had to get used to speed limit and distance signs with measurements in miles rather than kilometers. Looking at the distant horizon reminded Laura that it was the USA down there, and that thought jolted her out of her reverie and brought her back to her desk.

Previous Page
Next Page


Rate This Book

Current Rating: 2.6/5 (328 votes cast)



Review This Book or Post a Comment