Thursday, February 26, 2009

French Panic speaks out and Pamplemousse agrees with her

Living in Canada is a good thing... mostly.

All the medicare and democracy in the world doesn't quite make up for the months of January, February and March. It is usually cold and miserable. When it isn't quite as cold, it tends to be melty, which leads to slush, which is cold anyway. So unless you get a sunny day and a dry spot, you are pretty much certain to be uncomfortable to some degree outside. There is no christmas like holiday in the lot of those 3 months. Just some lame runners up created not to celebrate the joy of life, but instead to prop up the greeting card industry and the makers of green beer.

Having been born and raised here, I fully expect winter. The snow and ice come every year, and unless you live on the west coast, there is no exception to this.

However, Canadians also love to bitch and whine. And what do they whine about? The one thing none of us can do anything about: the weather.

I have never once heard a farmer in Canada happy with the weather. It's either 'too wet' or 'too dry' or 'too hot' or 'too cold' and then when it does get wet they manage to complain about the timing of it all... as if it's the government's fault.

That seems to be a key element to the Canadian lifestyle; No matter what the issue is, you can be sure that us Canadians are blaming the government of the land for it.

It isn't just farmers that whinge, mind you. Having recently been out to Vancouver, a spot in Canada mostly seeing winter as one long rain shower where the grass stays green all year, I can tell you that even those in Lotus land still manage to complain about the winter.

'It's real cold out today, don't yah think?'

Well no, 5 degrees above (Celsius America... 41 Farenheit) in February is actual quite warm. Does Vancouver honestly expect that the temperature should always be 22 degrees C?

'But it's a wet cold, you see. And there is a small pile of snow over there. Please don't step in it. We're trying to perserve it for as long as we can.'

Yeah, so put on a sweater and down vest and try walking a little faster. Problem solved.

Every province and territory has the same lame ass joke, and each region thinks it is their Dad's wisdom, exclusive to that area. The joke invariably goes 'Don't like the weather? Wait 5 minutes!" This is followed by laughing on the part of the supposed comedian which is never a good sign humour.

I thought that maybe in my move to the land of the French I would avoid such pointless weather talk and we could talk instead about minority rights and how hard done by everyone here is. I am sad to say that the Québecois also talk about the weather. And when they find out that you are from somewhere else, they like to ask how cold a winter you've dealt with.

Being from a prairie town means that both French Panic and I have both muddled through temperatures as cold as -50 on the occasional winter. It is rare that things dip so low in Edmonton, but it has happened. Usually the schools would close, but not always. I still remember going out the door at -40. Honestly, for those who haven't had the pleasure, it feels exactly like going outside in -20 weather, but it all happens faster. Also, in either case, it feels like someone has punched you in the lungs. I'm not meaning to join in the bitch session. I accept that every year it will get cold out... until it doesn't and then watch out.

When I've informed a happy Québecer that I have seen -50, they quickly tell me how 'around here, it is 'a wet cold, tu vois? It feel much colder.'

Sound familiar? That's because that is exactly what West Coast folk say, which is exactly what the east coast folk will say. It comes from being located next to a large body of water. Idiots. Why not just mention over and over again how the sky is blue, each time being more surprised than the last?

It's a stupid conversation/competition. No one's winter is easy. Though I would suggest that Vancouver and Victoria folk have quite a bit less to whine about. We all get cranky and stay inside more and put on a few extra pounds. But we all want to have had the worst winter.

Part of the problem, I suspect, is that we humans are collectively stupid. It's sort of scary. Winter happens every year, yet that first snow day brings endless lists of fender benders. Does the suddenly whitish road not clue drivers into the fact that it is now slippery? Apparently not.

While I've heard many jokes at the expense of westerners in my stay out here in Montréal, (who knew that an Alberta joke would be the new newfie joke of our day) the one thing that happens in winter in the west is that we help each other out. You see someone stuck in a snow bank, you stop and if you have time, help push them out.

This is the benefit of misery; if others are suffering they will be more likely to help out those suffering more. Out west I've seen the most unlikely people helping each other out. Hippy helping redneck. Racist helping out a Pakistani person. Misery brings us closer together. No one wants a medal. Just a smile and a thanks.

Apparently not in Montréal. I have helped drivers out and at first it was just because that is how I grew up. Here they don't want the help. I have pushed without asking, knowing there was no other way out of the situation, only to be glared at. Granted, many more people have been very thankful and surprised.

Now I push people out of snow banks because I cannot stand the sound of a car engine in obvious distress. I hate the stench of rubber burning, of transmission fluid burning. It isn't healthy for anyone, and it won't get you out of the snow and ice any faster. At that point, only someone pushing, or some traction under your tires, will do anything at all for you.

Winter happens every fucking year. It really should not be a surprise anymore. And by now, Montréal, you should have figured out that gunning your engine until the snow under your tires is actually ice, will not get you any further ahead in life. I have heard people hit the gas pedal for over 45 minutes. I believe that is the definition of insanity... doing the same action repeatedly hoping for a different result.

Being far more to the point than me, as usual, here is French Panic in her online video debut.


french panic said...

damn, that french panic girl is hot!

My dad laughed at the video and your blog is now bookmarked on his laptop. I suppose it's just a matter of time before he finds out I have a blog too.

Wilma said...

Ah, nothing like a good rant at the stupidity of others.

So satisfying, n'est-ce pas?

coggonite said...

That was just a delight! :)

Matchstick said...

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