Friday, February 09, 2007

The Dependables

The Valentine's heart is nowt but an upsidedown ASS. Which only means that you cannot shit out of it without getting it all over yourself. This is why I will not be talking about that emotional staplegun here...

Instead, I will return to the ever-topical, er, topic, of deppaneurs. For the uninitiated, the dep is the Queeb version of the corner store. This serves so many more functions that one could ever suppose, so I'll draw up a quick generalization, and then retreat to anecdotal, er, anecdotes. There is nothing more true-Blue than the dep: there's softcore and then there's hardcore and then Quebecor, and this is it! They serve as community centre, immunity centre, bitch-about-your-spouse centre... ok, I just don't have the acumen to properly characterize the dep (especially in the function of Essence, there has yet to be created the quintessential dep)... so here's the sundry forms the dep has taken in my experience of it:
  • The Family Dep: This doesn't necessarily mean that there is a family running it, or even ever frequenting it as patrons. It seems to function most as a "Third Place", a place halfway between the home and the work (only applied loosely here), that maintains a really casual atmosphere (we're talking wifebeaters, boxers and socks [this last depending on the climate] here). Generally, they are run by old men and hung out in by old men (who never seem to pay for anything) and sell candy bars that are melted or reconstituted after spending most of the shelflife as a goo. A few examples follow:

- A dep on Duluth JUST before Parc Lafontaine had a few people milling around outside, one elderly gentleman clutching his eyes. This not being too abnormal, I passed them by and went in. Made it to the juicefridge before having to clutch at my eyes and beat a hasty exit. The old men laughed at me as I fell out of the store, wherein, between dryheaves, I asked: 'Pepper spray?'. 'Yes.' Came the nonchalant reply. 'I was showing P____ how it worked and it sprayed him in the eyes.' 2 years later, the same dep owner(s) kicked me out for having a plastic sword in my hand: 'NO MORE SWORDS ALLOWED'. Only to follow me out and ask if it were real. And then take it back inside and smack each other with it giggling. All other times I've bought things here have been uneventful.

- A dep on Duluth on the corner of St. Andre. A 30 something year old was sitting there once rearranging his massive stack of Magic cards. I don't really know why I thought this was so funny.

- A dep, on Duluth, corner of Clark (?). Sells singles (or 'loosies'). Once got in a frenzied exchange about poonanny juice. They also tried to sell me Goji berry juice for $60. They have a tuna deheading blade built into their cash counter. Everyone tends to hang out outside here. This place gets a big thumbs up from me.

- A dep on the corner of Hotel-de-Ville and Duluth. They'll file your income tax for you.

- A dep on Sherbrooke that proffers microloans. Same owners would call a good friend of a good friend 'The King' whenever he'd enter.

  • The Concept Dep: Sushi/Dep, Pornstore/Dep, Shishtaouk/Dep, Headshop/Dep, Computer parts store/Dep, Barber/Dep, Butcher/Dep. And so on...

Miscellaneous:

  • Once, back when I used to walk Eve's dog, Coco, I misguidedly brought her into a dep with me. Next thing I knew, there she was, up on the counter and I was stuck headfirst in a popsicle freezer. No way else I can really tell this, as I've absolutely no idea how this happened. The owners barely batted an eye though. In fact, they thought it was hilarious.
  • Got kicked out of CoucheTard (a chain, much like a 7/11) once with Steve for being 'altered' and laughing too hard in the mineral water section. That was a rough night. Because it is also accessible from a residential building, it is not uncommon to see people come down mid-shower to buy some Irish Spring.
  • Purportedly, there are deps one can frequent with a 'codeword' to receive goods of a more 'illicit' nature. These items range from afterhours booze, to marijuana, to poached meat, to ??? There's a dep on Napoleon that gives me the feeling that you're not supposed to go in there for any other reason (grim looking butcher section at the back).

I KNOW there are more stories than these, but these are the ones that spring to mind... and keep me customering...

8 comments:

Indiana James said...

I will never forget the night of poonany juice!!! I almost couldn't believe I'd heard what I heard. But hell after seeing the guillotine at the end of the counter, I just let it roll... Only in a dep.

Sparky said...

Love it...but I gotta say, there's lots of experience logged at uptown deps here. Southside (Verdun, PSC, St. Henri) they're even more fundamental to the microclimate and well sometimes, just bizarre...

pagno said...

if you're talking about the couche tard i'm thinking of, i was one of those residents in a robe buying 3 boxes of KD at 4:30 in the morning. the big tall arabic guy who works there once came around the counter and lifted me so high up above his head and wouldn't put me down! thanks for reminding me of that... i'd forgotten.

Eve said...

Aw, Coco...She was not the kind of dog you could bring into any establishment with food in it.

And I remember the Couche Tard experience in the retelling moments afterwards. Was your banishment enforced?

S'Mat said...

indie - too funny that place. kinda institutionalized the word for me really.

sparky - microclimate is exactly that, i've never really belonged (almost wrote bolognaed there) to any community (in the authentic sense of the word)... this is as close as i've ever come to seeing it in action (like visiting an historically recreated medieval village or something).

Paggers - Same dude was the goliath who banished us... I wish he'd given US airplane rides instead!

Eve - Awwwww, Coco...

Lindz said...

Nono...that banishment from Couche Tard...Eve, you weren't there that night. That was the night that I found God in the fridge.
Kim was in Boston, you were maybe in Quebec City with your parents (?) and Tom, Steve, Ali and I spent a large part of the night reading non-existant graffiti on the brick wall outside of our house and staring alternatively at fuzz on the tv and the Uma Thurman/Pulp Fiction poster that had become 3 dimensional in our state of "altered"??-ness??
And Tom...the Dep on Sherbrooke that offers microloans...are you speaking of our dep that gave us that infamous loan?? And if so, who did they call "King"?
And another thing about the deps with code words...you can always pick them out because the only thing they have on their shelves (other than beer) are two packages of digestive cookies from 1965 and a tin of sardines from World War II rations. I'm thinking of the Dep on Pins right around the corner from where J&J used to live.
Awww, Coco....

Jordan said...

Yes, dep stories! There was one strange night when I was at a party at Matt Walker's house on St. Urbain up near St. Joseph. We ran out of booze at midnight (?...yep, a BFS party) so Walker and I decided to try the portugese dep on Rachel and St. Urbain (or Clark?). There were about a half dozen portugeezers (aged 40 to 55ish) who I believe had recently discovered the epithetical "your momma". When we asked if we could purchase some wine, one of the elders responded with a portugese phrase that included the words "your momma", and the whole group (who were sitting on overturned buckets and milk crates, of course) was buckled over laughing hysterically. This happened three or four times during the transaction...

S'Mat said...

lindz - nice to see you back in blog! That was the night exactly.. It was Matt Burns who was called the King by the JVT crew. Yes, they were the micro-loaners. The one on Pins is run by beetlenut (sp?) chewers. I think anything might be possible there.

Jordan - YES. That one was my local last year.. It's on St. Urb and Rach. Many years ago, I bought a 1.5 Oz. there for $110. Yo Mamma, eh? They did have a point...