In my post modern suspicion of truth, I have been proud to withhold judgment on every rumor I have heard pertaining to Canadians on the grounds that I have no experience by which to measure the integrity of such rumors. Well, now I do. And the rumors are all true. I know this does not speak for all Canadians, and before you go throwing hockey pucks and busts of her majesty Queen Regina Elizabeth II, I want you to know that I highly appreciate Canadians in more respects than I appreciate many Americans, but that could be due to the fact that America is and has always been the land of the boring as seen in exhibit "A"-My Life. But all past resentment aside, my story begins last week in Whistler B.C.
In spite of the ice, wind, and blizzard conditions, the first day of skiing with my benevolent Canadian friends was normal. That night however, I witnessed something foreigners rarely see. Two old friends from the North met after a year of separation: one who, up to this point I considered a platinum member of the status quo, and the other, an old friend who came down to visit. We, or rather, they sat at the table for hours reminiscing about their home town-population 1,000. It was interesting to see these two Canadians vocabulary go beyond my level of understanding into a new language which consisted of extraordinary words like "skidoo's" and "silviculture" upon inquiring as to the meaning of this mysterious word, in what became the first and last time I would disrupt their conversation, I discovered that "silviculture" meant "the study of trees" in Latin. I say this became the last time I would interrupt their conversation because, as my new northern friends career is forestry, the next 1.5 hours were spent imparting every detail involved in the science of silviculture--which can basically be summed up in "I measure how many trees grow in a 100m radius for a living". After my new northern friend felt he had explained his job sufficiently, he turned back to reminiscing. Apparently he had killed 4 moose the other day and was transporting the raw meat on the roof rack of his "vehicle" for 9 hours in order to keep the meat frozen. Another thing I have noticed about Canadians is the use of the word "vehicle". Why not just call it a truck or car? Where I'm from "vehicle" is an essay word fit only for English class and equal in frequency of use to "compact disc" or "cellular phoning device".
After hours of reminiscence, my northern friends ask where I'm from. When I tell them that where I come from it reaches +40c with 100% humidity in the summer-I am met with the same blank look they must have seen when they talked about ice fishing in -40c weather. All I can do is chuckle at my futile attempt to explain my city of 38 million people to two northerners from a town of 1,000 who have never gone overseas, never experienced weather exceeding 15c, who are deathly phobic of nakedness (a cultural difference I didn't realize until it was too late. Lets just say Japan is a very open country) and whose yearly highlight is hunting season. But much to most Canadians disbelief, as I have never experienced weather below -7c, never hunted, never lived in a small town, or heard of silviculture, I determined that there was only one thing we had in common--which could only be done in a pub, over a pint of cypress honey lager, while watching skidoo's on a big screen TV.