The mere act of attempting something for a third time has provided us with two enduring, and contradictory figures of speech: three-time loser; third time’s the charm.

Today, for the third time this week, I journeyed into Ottawa’s west end to meet with a veteran local rocker. The idea was/is to chat about his 1980s band, in order to shed some light on a bygone era in Ottawa’s music scene. And this third time was no charm.

In his defense, while late, the man did leave me a message indicating that he had turned up a few minutes late at the restaurant but did not see me there. It’s likely I was still there when he arrived; it’s a busy restaurant. Regardless, we missed each other. Again.

We shall try a fourth time. That should work, since there is no proverb associated with a fourth attempt to suggest otherwise. But while the three strikes this week have been somewhat frustrating, they have not been a total loss. After all, who wouldn’t welcome two daytrips to Barrhaven? I learned Monday that Greenfield’s has a surprisingly good selection of beer on tap, and that the bartender cares not for Justin Trudeau. Wednesday, I encountered the friendliest coffeeshop staff in town, at the Starbucks in, you guessed it, Barrhaven. And today, well, I learned that Chances R has expanded its gastronomic offerings significantly since the days when anything beyond zucchini and beer was not recommended. I didn’t eat there, mind you, but the menu looks impressive.

Which leaves us still at square one, if a little wiser for the experience. Wiser, and curious. Indeed, one theory I’m working on is that when my elusive interview subject’s band called it quits nearly 30 years ago, he withdrew from music and changed his name to Dalton McGuinty. It’s difficult to imagine a better explanation for his apparent efforts to avoid being interviewed. And hey, should he turn up on time for our fourth attempt, it’ll be worth it.

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