Upon looking at my then-massive biceps, she asked, "How can someone with such a slum lifestyle as you manage to be as fit as you are?"
"By beatin' up crazy Canucks," I immediately replied. She was from Canada, and that may explain the strange use of the word 'slum' in that question. Then I provided the real answer: "I play the drums, I ride my bike everywhere I go, and I get laid a lot...And I've been lifting heavy things all night long. Any other bright questions?"
Ahh, but the Canucks, I love 'em. One of my favorite blogs on this site is A Snarfblast Full Of Dreams , by a twenty year old girl from Winnipeg who either describes herself as Unity, or that's actually her name. Can't tell. She's what all of us were at twenty (well, not me-I was raisin' a kid), but more eloquent, and that makes all the difference in my world.
Most of my favorite bands are Canadian. Broken Social Scene (who will be coming here, middle of next month) tops the charts for me, while I've recently been extolling the virtues of the many others. Matter of fact, B.S.S. will have one of their own, Leslie Feist, opening for them (as just plain ol' 'Feist'). Christ, that woman can shout, and when she does, the whole world starts to smile).
Finally, MacBeth revealed to me last evening that she's gonna take me away from all this, for my birthday. "Wanna know where?", she asked.
After pointing out that maybe it would be more appropos to let me pick the destination, her choice was Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I agreed: "Gonna be cold as hell, but really pretty."
Last time (only time) I was in B.C., the Reverend O'Hare and I drove there in a shiny, red rental car. When we stopped at the border goin' in, they just asked, "Got any guns?"
We replied that no, we did not, and they said, "Enjoy your stay in Canada." Quite the opposite happened on our way back.
First off, it was pretty clear that they didn't like the look of two scruffy young men in a brand spankin' new car, and seemed to find the fact that I didn't immediately remove my sunglasses to be an issue. They detained us for an hour, in which I sat still on a bench, and he kept on pacing, sweating and panting.
I said, "Remember that we have done nothing wrong, and please, I know this is hard, but could you please stop pacing? It makes you look guilty, or something."
We got back to the car, noticed that it had been ransacked, went on our way.
When I had been contacting U.S Customs a couple weeks before, it was the usual slog through automated phone systems until I finally got an unfriendly piece of shit on the other end of the line to talk to. When I called the border patrol for Canada, someone just answered saying, "Canada."
I had reached Canada on the phone.
We rolled into the city of Vancouver, and quickly remembered that we'd made no plans regarding lodging, nor did we even have a map of the city. Completely clueless. We just drove until we came to what seemed like a friendly part of town, started to notice hotels, parked the car.
I decided that the proper starting destination for any trip of this kind would be a liquor store. I walked on in, purchased some Maker's, and asked the nice lady if there were any cheap motels thereabouts.
Aw yeah," she said, "There's a real nice one 'boot two or so blocks doon from here."
"Aw nice," I said, "Thanks." I felt like I was home. That faint trace of Scandihoovian mixed with Scots accent reminded me of the north coast. I wanted to stand there and trade 'aw nice(-s)' with her all day long.
Apart from the strange Canadian custom of calling apartment buildings 'motels', and calling motels 'apartments', we got it worked out fairly well. Found a place over in English Beach near what seemed like a million good restaurants. Also, there was some sort of gay-themed weekend going on: every flagpole that stood nearby sported a rainbow flag. Wherever we went, as two young men, people would ask, "Y'up here for the weekend ?"
Which yes, yes we were indeed, but not like that.
And everywhere I turned, I heard a crazy-quilt of foreign tongues being spoken. Vanc. B.C. is truly an international city, which seems to be happy with itself, being that way. Whenever I hear some apologist for American hegemony making that whiniest of claims-"The terrorists hate our freedom"-I wanna say, 'If that was really the problem, they'd go after Canada.'
Because they don't have a bunch of religious nuts in most positions of serious power in their government, and they don't have some weird proscription against sex as written in someone else's religious manual...Matter of fact, they have a channel on basic cable up there called "Sex TV". Unlike here, where something like that would be titillation, prurient, taboo-as-masturbation-material, it actually is frank talk about all the issues surrounding this thing that every human does, intermixed with real live footage of actual people (not idealized models or skinny meth-heads) having sex. It's like they're mature, or something, in the real sense of the word, as opposed to here, where mature means dirty.
So all sorts live there in relative harmony, religion doesn't mar each and every public debate, though they seem to have as many believers as anywhere else, the government views itself as having a mandate to take care of its citizens...Again, Islamists should/could/must hate it, but they don't, it would seem. Canada also doesn't spend most of its time engaging in imperial adventures abroad for profit, all the while making happy bullshit talk about how they are making the world better, somehow. For one thing, Canada is too damn humble for that.
For another, they're not a bunch of lying, whining, hypocritical psychopaths on some absurd quest to (I swear) enslave everyone they do not kill.
But y'know, they're easy to make fun of, with that accent.
Labels: my personals