Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Oh Canada!

I’ve been up in Canada for the last few days, and I must say, it’s like a different country up there or something.


1) People are more relaxed and they look better than we do.
I think this has something to do with having more money. Now hear me out—yes, they pay over $4.00 per gallon for gas, and their dollar is (very slightly) still worth less than ours, and their groceries are freakishly expensive; but, they pay, like, nothing for all their insurance needs. In comparison, I have a friend here in Seattle who just injured himself and we had a conversation about whether or not he could afford to go to the hospital for x-rays. I mean, really. In Canada no one gives the slightest thought to whether or not they will receive health care. Of course they will, damn it! Imagine the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you can go to the doctor, and then imagine all that extra cash in your pocket. Which leads me to….

2) How can they afford to drink? Our first night there, I went into a liquor store to get a bottle of wine. In British Columbia at least, wine and beer is not available in grocery stores, you have to haul your sorry ass into the liquor store to get your drunk on. After looking at the prices, I had to think twice; I just couldn’t feature paying eleven dollars for crap wine that costs $4.99 at Fred Meyer here in Seattle. Hard liquor was out of the stratosphere expensive. But here’s something I’ve never seen before—a cute girl in a tropically-themed tank top was giving out free samples of rum! Free samples! To people who were obviously going to get into their cars and drive home! I could not get over this. Free samples in the liquor store, now I’ve seen everything.

3) Even the bums are well dressed. Outside the grocery store there was a pack of homeless people, who obviously could afford the expensive hooch, because they were all clearly three sheets to the wind. So why did they all look like Euro-trash models in the latest American Apparel catalogue? I know this was Victoria and not Vancouver, but damn, the homeless are hot up there.

4) American television is made by puritans. On day two, we saw this amazing Canadian television show called Sons of Butcher. Oh. My. God. It’s basically about three brothers who are bums or at least unemployed. Three real actors are filmed, and then their faces are posterized with Photoshop, a-la the technique used in Waking Life, and then that is attached to some of the worst animation ever for the rest of their bodies, etc. Let me just say that this show was rude, crude, profane, and filled with the lowest form of potty and booby humor imaginable. Girl Kid loved it. There is no way on earth this show would be allowed on American television, it would never get on the air, no way, now how. But get this, Sons of Butcher is on the air compliments of a grant from the Canadian government! The Canadian government is paying for a show that includes a joke where a guy wraps his head in toilet paper to wipe the ass of an enormous circus freak just so she’ll show him her boobies. I have no words. Canada rules.

5) Canadians drive hamsters. The Smart Car is very popular up there. You will soon see this car in the upcoming movie version of The Da Vinci Code, and of course, here in the supposedly environmentally conscious Seattle, everyone will want one. After The Italian Job remake, suddenly one in five cars on the road was a Mini Cooper, so you just know that the Smart Car will go over like a house on fire down here. How could you not want a car that looks like cuddly amusement park ride and has “smart” written on its backside? And it comes in crazy neon colors and apparently gets 200 miles to the gallon, or something like that. I want one now, but they are not available here yet. Guess why.

6) No one cares about the cops. People drive around like maniacs, nuff said. Even with all the warnings about cameras and automatic ticketing, not a single car on the road was going anywhere near the speed limit. I did though. I was sure my Washington plates would get me hauled to the curb faster than shit if I broke the speed limit. So, if 100 kilometers equals 60 miles then 40Kph is…what?

7) They speak French up there. All the signs and packaging come in French and English. I don’t have anything funny to say about this, other than it is hella cute.

8) Cigarettes can kill you. I don’t smoke, but I got a gander at a pack of cigs up there, and hot damn in hell, the cigarette packaging in Canada is covered in pictures of diseased lungs. I mean, every surface is dedicated to these warnings, to the point where there's almost no room for the brand logo. And there are scary words in large type about how smoking will totally make you die. This is so cool it almost makes me want to start smoking. Our little Surgeon General’s warning is for wimps. In Canada, smoking is for stupendous bad-asses.

9) Canadians have droopy drawers. Instead of one and two dollar bills, Canadians have these big heavy coins with pictures of loons and bears on them. Damn, even their money is hard-core! Literally. They must use extra-tough elastic in their pants, because just a bit of change in your pocket is enough to make you walk in circles, if you know what I mean.

10) Curling is not a joke. I still remember fondly when Girl Kid came running in last year and asked me, “Mom, is curling for real?”. She thought it was a joke someone had made up about how whacky Canadians are. If you don’t know what curling is, well, it basically involves sliding a big stone across a sheet of advertisement-strewn ice, with two dorks with brooms madly sweeping the ice in front to keep the chunks away. I cannot adequately express how funny this looks. Curling is taken very seriously in Canada, and apparently it will be at the 2010 Olympics. We watched a bout called “Ferby vs. Morris”, and based on the comments of the breathless trio of announcers Ferby and Morris are the direct descendants of the gods. They looked like regular beer drinking yahoos to me, but apparently they represent the Great Blue Hope for Canada. And a $50,000 purse is apparently a lot of money in Canadian sports. Ah, they are so cute!

So, that’s about it. We got back across the border with little stress, other than the hour it took to inch our way up to the little customs hut. After all the hoopla about increased border security I was fully expecting to be strip searched, but we didn’t even get asked if we had any fruit or weapons. Or weaponized fruit. Go figure.

Tomorrow I’ll have some movie reviews for you, but right now Boy Kid is drooling for the computer, so I guess I’ll let him have it. In the meantime, I love you best, don’t tell the others.


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