Only in Canada? Pity.

It’s not just Eila’s first day of course. It’s the official First Day of School, and this applies even at Pomona, where classes start the week before Labour Day. My colleagues who aren’t on leave are getting into the term’s stride, and those who are (like me, hooray!) are suddenly getting a thousand irrelevant emails from the administration, each of which makes us feel a littler smugger until maximum smugness is achieved.

Here are the top five reasons Ontario, Canada is better than California, USA:

5. Our sinks have scrap-catchers instead of garberators. (Yes, it is possible to scrape the plates into the trash, catch the small bits in that thing in the drain, and shoosh them into the compost.)

4. We have brooms instead of leaf-blowers. (Yes, we sweep, which gives us exercise, is picturesque, and works a hell of a lot better to remove leaves from the front walk.)

3. Normal people in Canada do not have gardeners. (Yes, we wield the brooms ourselves. And the hoses and the sprinklers, because most of us don’t have built in watering systems. And lots of people let their lawns go brown in summer too, and aren’t frowned on by their neighbours, because there’s only so much clean water out there people! Okay, wait, I’m overloading number three.)

2. People occasionally walk.

1. We return our beer bottles to The Beer Store instead of pitching them into the recycling. And The Beer Store makes sure they get refilled with good Canadian beer.

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13 thoughts on “Only in Canada? Pity.

  1. The Beer Store!!!!!!!!!

    I am so freaking homesick.

    I’m not going to start adding to your list or I’ll never stop. I do have a very short list about why California, USA is better. But it’s very short.

  2. 1. Mail on Saturday
    2. Civil servants are more civil in the U.S. than they are in Canada where they are just plain burned out and rude. (On the other hand they’re also more likely to be dumb in the US.)
    3. Better food scene, year-round
    4. Better, cheaper, wine
    5. Mail on Saturday

    But that’s it. Oh except for Southern food. Southern food rules.

  3. in favour of Canada:
    1.lawn-watering is restricted, not enforced
    2. people ride their bikes without wearing bike-riding clothes
    3. smart and other small cars are prevalent
    4, people don’t generally drive two blocks, and don’t generally yell (or throw eggs) at people walking or biking, just because they are doing so
    5. public transport is a concept
    6. politicians still think (to some extent)
    7. the police shoot fewer people
    8. education is publicly funded (though this is constantly under threat)
    9. Marxism and anarchism are not dirty words

    in favour of California:
    7. constant sunshine and the beach

  4. You mad, mad optimist! You’re right on #9. The rest are matters of degree. I see hummers parked at the local milk store–not all the time, granted, but not too rarely either.

    Btw, I just read an interesting piece condemning nostalgia’s place in political conceptions…

  5. Come to think of it I really do love mail; I guess I keep hoping for that one piece that will transform everything. Same with email. What would that be: Publisher’s Sweepstakes? Whatever. In the UK you get mail *twice* a day.

    Anyway another point in California’s favor:

    8. You can eat local pretty much all year round.

    Amen to #9. Who can forget those jolly chaps, the International Socialists, piggybacking on everyone else’s issues at everyone else’s rallies. But truly, I miss that about York, most of all.

    Here’s another one, Toronto-centered: compulsory composting. Also I really miss the CBC. This Hour Has 22 Minutes! Also TVO (but not French day on TVO which is super boring.)

  6. I’m listening to the good old CBC right now. It’s gone downhill. And, just at the moment, the topic is this week’s three attacks on women on Ontario campuses. Looks like we’re catching up in the quantity-of-violent-sickos race, and, at the same time, our radio’s getting stupider. Coincidence?

    Can one really eat local in California all year round? I see that theoretically it ought to be possible, but is it? And how much gas done one use tootling round to all those farmer’s markets?

  7. Much less than it takes to transport kiwis to Loblaws in February, that’s for sure. More than necessary with my honking car though.

    Of course it’s easier in Northern California where I’m about 37 miles to three amazing markets, or I can get a CSA from the coastal farms (8 miles) or seafood from the coast than it is in the Inland Vampire. But whatevs you can’t get to crazy with the locavore thing or you turn into one of those food crazies.

    That said, in favour of Canada

    10. Self-deprecation is understood as good manners not spinelessness
    11. The general Canadian sense of humour is awesome as opposed to the AND THEN I SHOT HIM IN THE ASS!, knee-slapping, gun-toting bombastic second amendment violent grotesquery of the U.S. right. Gah.

  8. 10. Yeah, which makes it hard for a Canadian to get a job in the US, except at enlightened places like Pomona, because they think that when you say your competence in a certain area is dubious you actually mean it.

  9. Which leads to the US corollary: bragadoccio (sp?) and pushiness. I’m always stunned to silence by it. (Although my aunt came to visit me a few months ago and saw me get mad at another driver. And she said, Kyla you shouldn’t say anything she might get mad back and I said, oh yeah, BRING IT. And she said, you have got to come home.)

    On another note, did you know that you can’t get rye in the US? This came up during the planning of my (ahem, princess-y) wedding. We were presented with the standard list of liquors to stock a wedding bar and the Americans said, huh, rye?

    Thus, 12. rye and ginger.

  10. Amen v’amen to rye, rye whiskey, a.k.a. whiskey, the whiskey of the gods. Is it only because I’m Canadian that while most hard drinks give me a headache (and an ounce of scotch renders me blind for two days), I can drink rye, wonderful rye, by the mickey, with no adverse effects?

    And while I’m saying nice things about my Kyla, let me thank you for the even-handedness you’ve lent the discussion. I keep thinking of my mother reading this, shaking her head, and thinking for the bazillionth time that the worst thing about Canadians is their knee-jerk and rather rude anti-Americanism. And while my mother, you’all must know, leans a wee, wee bit to the right, I do try to consider carefully the things she says.

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