Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Perspective From The USA

      A few decades ago when traveling overseas, I discovered that Canadians were held in high regard most everywhere. A Canadian flag lapel pin assured one of a pleasant smile and a friendly everywhere because Canadians had a reputation of being quiet, friendly cooperative and accepting of the differences between cultures. Americans, by comparison, seemed to be loud, pushy and wanting things the way they were at home.
      On my vacation last week to California, I discovered that Americans seem to have mellowed with age (or maybe it is I who has mellowed).. Americans seem to have become more Canadian in deportment and manner.(or is it just that I have found that out current  government embodies much of what used to be annoying about Americans). And, by the way, our Federal Government is OUR government and not Harper’s Government to use as his personal chess game. The Canadian parliament is made up of the elected representatives of the people and IT (not Harper) should be making the rules as the governing body of Canada. But I digress.
       For example, I was in a hardware store in Redwood City and a sales person asked if I needed help.(apparently I have a perpetual look of confusion). I explained that I was looking for some kind of wax product to lightly wax a table. He suggested I could rub the table with a large brown paper bag instead of buying a commercial product. It was a marvelously helpful idea (and it actually works, although it will never replace Pledge). I never get that kind of useful assistance (without a sales pitch) in Canadian stores.
      It seems “My Canada” has gone south in more ways than one. I found everyone in California (and in Denver where I had a stopover) to be pleasant and friendly – well, maybe not as much when they are driving, but still much more polite, considerate and respectful than in Winnipeg. They even take a turn signal light as a suggestion for them to make room for the signaling car. In Winnipeg it is usually taken as a challenge to close the gap.
      Maybe I don’t really want my Canada back. Maybe I should just let it run merrily along on its present self-destructive course and move south. But I would miss our winters . . . less than you might imagine.

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