Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Ten Things I Learned About Canada
I hadn't been in Canada for a few years. Here are a few things I learned.
1) They don't like Americans in general, but tend to like me (they have good taste!).
2) Their version of conservative politically is our version of centrist.
3) In general, middlebrow culture is a lot easier to find in Canada.
a) Their radio stations are far and few between, but they tend to have things like great hour long interviews with people like Sonny Rollins and Vera Lynn. Then again maybe nobody is listening.
b) They have official highway signs with an "A" for artist, telling you that an artist lives x km down the road at the next intersection. The first time I saw one I remembered another kind of sign, an official highway exit sign in Las Vegas that said "Hotels 0.1 mi" right in front of all the towers of The Strip.
4) They clip all of their consonants when they speak, something I tend to associate with brains in the US. In Canada, it's just how they speak, smart or not.
5) They must not have many law suits relative to the US because warning signs telling you not to do things that anybody with an IQ over over 20 or with an alcohol blood content of less than 0.30% would never do are rare.
6) They have lots of trout.
7) Their beef is excellent stuff.
8) Their currency has rebounded against the US.
9) They ripped off our Thanksgiving complete with turkey and pumpkin pie and pushed it up to October because it gets so damn cold so early. I think we should rip them off and move our Thanksgiving to October as well. I think we should rip off their health care system too, but that's a whole other story.
10) Their longest car ferry (the longest free one in the world) is wonderful and gives you a long look at some great landscapes, but is completely superfluous and likely is a big waste of money. It's essentially the ferry to nowhere.
Oh, a funny thing happened as I got close to the US border on my way home. Up popped Bruce Cockburn's Coldest Night of the Year on my iPod. I don't have much Canadian stuff on that thing. And it was very cold for that time of year. Coincidence is a wonderful thing. But then just as I approached the US inspection station that tune was followed by Tom Lehrer's The Old Dope Peddler. I rushed to turn off my iPod and then rolled down my window to talk to the US guard.