Note: Ok, I know what’s coming. And perhaps I should hold off until after book group or a planned lunch date to write this, so that I don’t have to see some of you glare at me. You will. You are entitled. Feel free to skip this one if the title and warning are a (very obvious) clue to what is coming. But let me say at the outset, for the record: the following rant does not apply to those of you who I clearly respect enough to count as a friend. It does not apply to those of you who I clearly love. It does not apply to your sisters/brothers/parents or good friends who still live in Canada and aren’t the kind of people I’m about to go off on… unless they were at Costco this week.
It’s only Wednesday and generally that means I’d be writing The Middle. However, as most recent posts have indicated, things are a bit heavy and difficult right now and I’ve been a tad distracted. I didn’t post on Monday, so this may be a little longer; it’s not really a usual “Middle” post. Call it a Blame Canada Post.
This has been coming for a while, but this week, Canadians seemed to be in my way every where I went! The most obtrusive presence was at Costco. The entire parking lot lately seems to be filled with Canadian license plates and I have some big, pissy issues with that. I am really tired of Canadian drivers (and yes, I have consistently looked to see if my growing prejudice is founded) driving down the VERY center of each aisle, as they search for a parking spot. This occurs at the mall, at Costco and now (eek!) at Trader Joe’s. I have spent a fair bit of time in Canada and I believe aisles in parking lots are universal: traffic goes both ways, as you search for a spot to park. I am not aware of a one way rule in Canada, so why do they come here and drive down the center of the aisle as they search for a spot? Why! I have even had several of them turn and give me dirty looks or even a hand flip– not the finger, but that whole hand raised in a “what the hell are you doing” salute, as I come down an aisle, hugging the right side, because they are in the middle and I can barely squeeze by.
Tuesday, driving down the Guide Meridian, which I hate doing anyway (obnoxiousness crosses multiple borders on The Guide) a woman with Canadian plates very suddenly, with no blinker, cut in front of me. There is no room for exaggeration, because she was that close to hitting me. She continued for about 15 feet and then just as suddenly cut over one more lane, with no blinker. The driver she cut off there, hit their horn at the precise moment that I did. As I passed her she turned (not watching the road) and mouthed very clearly to me: “WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM!” Um, well… the fact that you just cut me off; the fact that you don’t use a blinker; the fact that you don’t seem to know where you’re going (which I actually have empathy for, but then pull over and figure it out); and the fact that you are yelling at me, on my turf.
That’s right, this is becoming a turf war. I admit, it is very good for local business that Canadians come to Bellingham to shop. We can use it and I have no issue with that. However, when in Rome… or Bellingham… you know the rest. If I go to Canada, I try very hard to be respectful of the rules that apply. In fact, I love Canada and go as often as possible. We’re neighbors. I like my neighbors. However, if my dog poops in my neighbor’s yard every day, my neighbor’s going to get pissed off. And it seems like I’m stepping in a lot of Canadian poo lately.
When I got to Costco the driving issues only multiplied. Again, the middle of the aisle driver. Then, there are those who see that you’re waiting for a spot (blinker on!) and they pull in in front of you. This in fact happened this week, after the cut off and the middle aisler. Inside, there seems to be more confusion. The same people, no doubt, who drive down the middle of the aisle, seem to leave their carts in the middle of the store aisle as well. They park them and then stroll. They park them and get the free samples. They mill around the free samples. I know, I hear you: how do I know they’re Canadian? Yes, Americans do these things too. However, I listen, I hear the conversations about “coming down,” “before we go back,” “wow, this is much cheaper than at home;” I know they are Canadian. Could you please move your cart, eh?
So I come out of the store, (and who doesn’t leave Costco a tiny bit more frazzled then when they came in ?) and I watch as a group takes a ginormous Costco macaroni salad that they’ve been eating (it amazes me how many people from all over, come to Costco to eat lunch!) and they put the mostly empty container on the curb. Yes, just leave it there! They get into their car, a car with Canadian plates, and as I stand gaping, they drive away. This is pooing in our yard. And this is NOT an isolated thing. I am so tired of people coming here to save money, but emptying all their bags, removing the boxes and labels and leaving them right in the parking lot of the Mall, Costco or the other stores where they shop. Poo! It’s poo’ing in my yard! Don’t explain it to me please. I get it, you don’t want to claim it or be taxed. Hell, I hate paying the taxes on things I buy in Canada. And I’ve surely cheated a few times. But, I have always put my evidence neatly in a waste bin. I have NEVER left my packaging in a Canadian parking lot. Never! I have lived by “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute” since I was a young girl and I do it wherever I am. I find it hard to believe that this is done in their own yard.
All of this is that t much harder to swallow when I can’t get gasoline at Costco because there are already 43 cars in line (yes, I counted) and I refuse to wait outside the cooler to get milk, behind the Canadians who are buying an entire cart load of milk. And is it really that odd that we are all staring at you 2o something gallon milk person? Has it not occurred to you that this does in fact look odd to us? What the hell is all that milk going back to Canada for? I’m sure not going to drink any milk products when I’m in Canada, since all the Canadians seem to be buying ours… there must be a problem with theirs!
As I write this, I admit that I want to deflect all of the counter arguments that are bound to come my way. I have had enough conversations about these types of things with my Canadian friends, or with people I meet when I’m there, to know the counter arguments. A few: Well, when the dollar was reversed and things were half price in Canada, Americans were flocking up there and driving Canadians nuts. I have no way to argue whether Americans drove down the center aisles or left their packaging in the parking lots, but honestly, I’m skeptical. I would believe that we were pushy. I would believe that we were greedy and tried to cheat the Canadian government out of taxes. And yes, the grandaddy of all Canadian insults, even though I’m pissy right now, I can’t name all branches of my own government and I don’t really know how my Congress works. You win that one Canada. You guys know so much more about your government than we stupid Americans, BUT, I have never poo’ed in your yard.
As if all of this was not enough to push me over the edge (and it does sound as if I am, over the edge…) Canada (AKA: Middle Man, our 19 yr old son) resumed limited relations with the UN this weekend, home for “Fall Break.” An aside: for the purposes of all UN posts ( this is the third), Middle Man will be referred to as Canada. That stems from the fact that he attended a private high school in Vancouver, Canada for three years. By the way, that is further testament to my general love of Canada, despite all the pissy comments contained herein. The fact that we were willing to pay that kind of money and trust our boy to the Canadian educational system, says a lot. I will admit, it’s possible that Middle Man may have poo’ed in a few Canadian yards, but he seems to have maintained very good relations up there, so no harm done.
Brief update from the UN:
Canada resumed limited relations with the UN. China and Denmark enjoyed learning a bit about their brother to the south, California for now. Canada, however, demonstrated subdued interactions and neutral reactions. All four countries experienced some trepidation as bedroom boundaries were challenged and use of computers, TVs and sofa space had to be divided by yet another country. There is some concern as to where all nations will sit, to watch Modern Family, hang out with friends, eat at the table (as China and Denmark have usurped the spots previously held by Israel and Canada for ten years)… when Israel and Canada both return in December.
(<– mild hot pot) While the Secretary General was abroad in Port Townsend, Canada, China, Denmark and the US all attended a Hot Pot hosted by local friends, who are also caring for a Chinese exchange student. Denmark and the US found one of the Pots to be too spicy to consume, while Canada and China enj0yed the heat. Ping pong was played by all and the Secretary General was disappointed to miss out. All agreed that future Hot Pots will need to occur. (spicy hot pot ^^)
The Secretary General and Canada experienced conflicted relations despite good intensions, adding to this writer’s issues with Canada overall. Some resolutions were reached before Canada’s departure, but future negotiations will be needed before Canada’s return for winter break.
In an attempt to purchase a dress for Homecoming, an event that is new to both Denmark and China, China caused some International condemnation when he stated in public that Denmark’s shoes “would be forbidden in China” (the country) and that her “shoulders should be covered.” The Secretary General was forced to impose sanctions on China regarding all future commentary on the dress codes of Denmark, or any other females within the United Nations. The elderly Italian woman who was watching this found it all very humorous. Denmark and China resolved all differences, though Denmark may have the final word: as China is totally confused about this Homecoming tradition and had not considered appropriate clothing at all. US and China will figure this out before Saturday’s dance, when they go shopping.
The Secretary General prepared a pasta dish with shrimp for dinner one evening. China approached the pot and performed his customary sniffing of food and wrinkling of nose. China: Ma, what is this? Sec.Gen: This is shrimp. China: Is it American? SG: It’s from the ocean; shrimp is shrimp and the ocean is not American. China: No! Not the shrimp. Is the cooking American. SG: (aware of what China meant, but having fun) Well, um, I’m American; I’m cooking in America; I’m going to call this American too. Do you like shrimp? China: Well, I like shrimp in China, but I’m not sure in America. China enjoyed the “American shrimp.”
So, I will end here. I will not rant any further or dirty the good name of Canada any more (country or UN member), today. It was a challenging week and one must put their frustrations somewhere. This week it was squarely on Canadian shoulders. At the end of my Costco nightmare day, grapefruit cocktail in hand, the sunset was especially beautiful and that, made it all feel better.
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