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Monday, October 26, 2009

Canadian Content

I went to the dentist today. It was my first official office visit in Canada, and as with most things in this country it was pleasant. Yes, the dentist visit was pleasant.

Now I know there are parts of the US where people are extremely friendly and actually enjoy striking up a conversation with someone they barely know, but where I come from (the NE) this is just not the case. In fact, we rather LOATHE talking to strangers, as a rule. We'll, do it, sure, but we won't like it, and we won't really try to hide this fact. But that is not "we" or me anymore. I like this whole talk to people thing. It's fun. Besides, no one here knows my stories yet. And since I'm kind of not too young, it will be a while before they do. Besides, I'm so darned practiced at them that everyone will think I'm witty and stuff. And that's cool.

Anyway, the hygienist was quite entertaining and we talked (well, she mostly but sometimes me even with gunk in my mouth) about potty training (she's pregnant with baby number 2 and baby number one is almost three and not interested at all in the whole toilet thing) and I told her my daughter's "No Pants" method of potty training which is, well, exactly as it sounds. You let your child walk around pantless and for some reason it's preferable to said child to use the toilet than to do it without anything to catch it. It worked for my grandson - he was trained in 2 days. But that's a story for another day and perhaps another audience. The point is, people here are chatty and I like that. Back in the US chatty often equals weird. Now, I may actually be weird, but at least here I can talk awhile before being labeled such. Canadians are also very fair.

After the dentist I went to the market to get my daily food. City living is like country living in this respect. Daily shopping, fresh food, exercise without even knowing it. Anyway I bought the Canadian equivalent to the Old Farmers Almanac, which delighted me to no end because I love the whole blatant bragging about something being 100% Canadian and all. It's so folksy and adorable. I also love almanacs, including the writer's almanac which is delivered to my email box every morning at 2:00 am and this event causes me to take extra care to turn my cell phone off before I go to bed because no matter how lovely your email notification is (mine is 2 strikes of a Tibetan bowl) no one wants to enjoy this kind of thing at 2:00 am. Not even a monk I suspect.

Anyway, almanacs rule and this one is, again, 100% Canadian, which is a really really big deal in these parts. Even the checkout man had to comment on the whole entirely Canadian thing, explaining how he hates when something claims to be all Canadian when in fact it is not - it is filled with stuff from "that other country he won't name," he said which of course is the country I was born in - (I don't know why but now I feel I can't name it either.)

I never realized before living here how much some Canadians seem to resent their neighbor. I suspect it's because it tends to overshadow them, or something. Maybe they are just sick of hearing about the US the same way you get sick of hearing about some popular kid in school, or the head of whatever at the office. I can understand that. What I can't understand, however, is why so many people who live in this country care about such things. Why do they want to keep up with the Joneses? I mean, it's great here. It's a big beautiful country without a lot of people. Even the cities are civilized by US standards. There is a small-town friendliness and a humanity that has been lost in most parts of the US except in smaller, more remote sections, (where unfortunately, the trade off is high pressure fundamentalist Christianity.)

Here, people apologize. They wait for the walk light. They don't yell and throw things when they have to wait in lines. They don't have Black Friday. Thanksgiving is held at a time of year when it would have actually been conceivable to have a harvest feast outside with the natives, if one was so inclined, and it's a holiday unto itself - not a kickoff to Christmas. Even the homeless are friendly.

So, even though I am not an official citizen yet, even though I wasn't born here, I too am happy about all things 100% Canadian which is why I bought the Almanac, where after reading it for less than an hour planned our next summer vacation - in the land of towns named Head Bash and Medicine Hat. I know Dave had dreams of beaches and rum punches and foods that are spicy and "pulled," but what about the Badlands and the remains of T-Rex?

C'mon
. Imagine the stories....

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