3.17.2006

faq

I've gotten quite a lot of mail from the Globe And Mail essay. I answer every email, however briefly, but I'm asked the same questions over and over. To that end, an FAQ. New readers may find this educational, veteran wmtc readers may find it amusing.

1. Have I seen Rick Mercer?

This is the most frequently asked question. Sometimes it's phrased in the form of advice and instruction.

I have seen Rick Mercer.

I do not care for him. I just don't find his show funny or compelling in any way. Sorry.

My thoughts on his show are here and here.

2. Will I travel in Canada?

Yes, definitely. I plan on seeing as much of the country as possible, a little at a time. Thank you all for your travel suggestions.

3. Will I move to [your city here]?

Probably not. The GTA is a very good fit for us in many ways: jobs, baseball, proximity to family and friends in the NYC area. We like Toronto, and we love Port Credit.

People on the west coast are particularly adamant, some saying that I can't possibly find what I love about Canada here in Southern Ontario, and should be seeking it in B.C. It's lovely that you feel so strongly about your province. However, I'm not interested in moving to the west coast. Contrary to what you imply, Toronto is part of Canada.

4. Am I disappointed in Canada? Will Canada meet my expectations?

No, and probably. My expectations about Canadian society were realistic, not utopian. I do think it's a better place than the US, a society more in tune with my own values. But I have no illusions of perfection. Canada is a country, made of people. Therefore it will always be flawed. One big difference between Canada and the US is that Canada knows that.

5. Do I find Canadians anti-American?

No more than me.

I understand that disapproval of the policies of the US government is not bigotry against the American people. I do find that many Canadians subscribe to stereotypes about Americans, as many Americans do about Canadians. See #4, above.

6. Do I always pay on the GO train?

Yes. I have been tempted to cop a free ride now and again, as I've always had a bit of a shoplifting and petty-theft streak. Although I've outgrown it, it lives within. And I am still a New Yorker, who would gladly milk the hated MTA for any freebies. However, I keep these anti-social impulses in check, and dutifully pop my ticket.

7. Do I wear shoes in the house?

Just kidding. No one has asked me that. But new readers might enjoy the long discussion that ensued from that observation.

23 comments:

Andrea said...

I was reading giggling at the fact that people sent you those questions then saw number 7 and laughed out loud!! ;lol!!!

andrea said...

You may not yet be officially Canadian (some clause somewhere about minumum number of visits to Timmy's) but your answer to #3 proves that you are a true Torontonian now, just as your British Columbian questioners are true west coasters. We just don't 'get' each other, do we? Don't tell me you haven't already experienced it with the NYC/LA divide.

L-girl said...

Don't tell me you haven't already experienced it with the NYC/LA divide.

Oh no, that's very different. NYers and Angelenos don't tell each other to move out there or brag that their city is better. It's more of a smug superiority, and a committment that they'd never choose the other.

In my experience, people from SoCal like and respect NYC, they just don't want to live there.

These Vancouver folks are saying (to paraphrase) "you haven't seen Canada yet, because where you live isn't truly Canadian". Pretty amusing considering the GTA constitutes nearly 10% of the country's population!

I can't imagine a similar email exchange between NY and L.A.

James said...

Pretty amusing considering the GTA constitutes nearly 10% of the country's population!

As of 2005, 15.9% (via Wikipedia)

The Vancouver metropolitan area has about 40% of the GTA's population, while all of BC's population is about 75% of the GTA.

As an aquaintance of mine from Prince George, BC, has often said, "The fact that Prince George is the third largest city in British Columbia demonstrates that there are only two large cities in British Columbia."

Amateur said...

I lived in Vancouver for four years and I always say that it is the most un-Canadian place I have ever been in Canada (I grew up in the Maritimes). They have much more in common with the US Left Coast than any other part of Canada.

And I don't mean that as an insult, at all. If people want to argue that Vancouver is a better place to live than Toronto, they have some valid points. But Vancouver is in no way "typical" of Canada.

David Cho said...

Since FAQ is an acronym, you should have used all capitalized all three letters. I thought the last letter was a g. My initial response - wtf?

I need more caffeeein

David Cho said...

While I don't have much to contribute to the "the NYC/LA divide," let me tell you about the SF/LA divide.

Down here, SF is just another city. To many of us, it is a nice US city to visit. But every time I go there, I find that people there talk about LA a lot (not in a complimenting way, of course). They talk about LA more than Angelenos talk about LA. Weird.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

"Am I disappointed in Canada? Will Canada meet my expectations?"

The ugly side of Canada is mostly in French-English relations.

For example, there's groups like this one that rail against bilingualism as it "discriminates against English speaking people", despite the fact that the English speaking majority is hardly suffering. Substitute "black", for "french", and its pretty much the same story that you're used to back home.

L-girl said...

Since FAQ is an acronym, you should have used all capitalized all three letters.

I use lower case only for titles.

Try to cope. :)

James said...

For example, there's groups like this one that rail against bilingualism as it "discriminates against English speaking people",

That's a not-uncommon attitude among bigots in a majority -- the belief that failure to do whatever they want constitutes discrimination against them. Consider the "War on Christmas" and other examples of the "persecutiion of Christians" in the US.

Wrye said...

Frequent answers to other viewer questions:

1) Laura does not know that that is really a food eaten in Canada. She thinks you just made it up.

2) Just like you, Laura is also puzzled as to why Albertans do not see (insert proposition X) as a contradiction.

3) It is possible for two things to be true at the same time. For example, It can be true that a)Afghanistan is better off without the Taliban AND b)The longer operations go on there, the liklier that they will drift into murkier and murkier territory. See also, Canadian Politics, Canadian music, etc.

4)Laura normally has been exposed to thing X that she likes or dislikes about Canada and has formed her opinion accordingly. While she has not been to vancouver she does understand the concept of mountains and the appeal they have for some people. Expressing pity on this topic will not be well received. That said,

6)"You haven't seen Canada yet, because where you live isn't truly Canadian" is much better recieved if expressed as "if you haven't yet seen Vancouver, you haven't yet seen all Canada has to offer. Like our fantastic weed, of which I am enclosing a sample fatty blunt."

7) She likes you, she really likes you, but only as a fellow countryperson. (That means you, Gord Downie.)

8) No, you aren't ready for this jelly.

k-clare said...

Looks like your recycling program just got a little bit simpler. I looked up the Peel program to see how bad it could be, and came across this, and thought I would pass it on:

http://www.region.peel.on.ca/pw/waste/garb-recy/single-stream.htm

L-girl said...

Pretty amusing considering the GTA constitutes nearly 10% of the country's population!

As of 2005, 15.9% (via Wikipedia)


Cool :)

Consider the "War on Christmas" and other examples of the "persecutiion of Christians" in the US.

Took the words right outta mah mowf.

I'll never understand why English speakers are bothered by the presence of other languages. My grandfather used to complain about Spanish signs in NYC. My mother would point out that there used to be signs in Yiddish on the Lower East Side. That was different, of course...

L-girl said...

Wrye!! ROFL. Thank you for that.

I definitely have not seen all Canada has to offer, and I look forward to seeing more and more of it. But sheesh, give a girl a break. I don't want to live so far away from my mommy.

Laura does not know that that is really a food eaten in Canada. She thinks you just made it up.

No, you aren't ready for this jelly.


[puzzled look]

L-girl said...

Looks like your recycling program just got a little bit simpler.

Thanks Kimberly! By now I'm wondering what we found so challenging. But hey, there was a lot of change, all at once...

Wrye said...

Do you think they're ready for this jelly?

I don't think they're ready for this jelly.

I don't think they're ready for this jelly.

I don't think they're ready for this jelly.

Your blog is so bloggylicious.

L-girl said...

Oh. Of course. I need to get more sleep. Seriously.

teflonjedi said...

7) She likes you, she really likes you, but only as a fellow countryperson. (That means you, Gord Downie.)

Excuse, I just fell out of my chair laughing!

andrea said...

My experience in company that contains both NYers and LAers is that they DO expend a lot of energy telling each other why their city is better, though they would *never* invite the other to come live there and give it a try. They have some pride after all :).

Ignorant Vancouverites calling TO "not truly Canadian" (what's more Canadian?), but just as suspect: thinking a cold demographic like population density can decide something as ephemeral as identity.

L-girl said...

Down here, SF is just another city. To many of us, it is a nice US city to visit. But every time I go there, I find that people there talk about LA a lot (not in a complimenting way, of course). They talk about LA more than Angelenos talk about LA.

One thing I loved in SF, at a Giants game, fans started cheering "BEAT-L-A! BEAT-L-A!" for no apparent reason. The Dodgers weren't in town or anything. It was great.

It reminded me of being at Fenway. No game is complete without a "Yankees Suck" chant, no matter who the Red Sox's opponent is that day.

L-girl said...

but just as suspect: thinking a cold demographic like population density can decide something as ephemeral as identity.

Oh absolutely. It can't.

After all, New Yorkers aren't quite like the rest of the US either, despite being its largest city.

I was just pointing out the contradiction. There does seem to be one there.

Nerdbeard said...

Sorry for replying to a stale topic, and one I know our host is not particularly fond of. But...

I think Mercer is as popular as he is because there are a lot of frustrated political junkies out there. There isn't much else out there for the Canadian looking for something both witty any political. Which is a shame, because Canadian politics is so darn funny!

Rick isn't ashamed of playing to the house, either. It's all Canada, all the time, in a very overt manner. After being flooded with hours and hours of unselfconsciously American content every day, it's refreshing to see something that is unselfconsciously Canadian.

He's self-deprecating, yet sharp as hell. Sarcastic and dark, but friendly and open. He possess what I'd consider a model Canadian personality. And he's so damn mischievous! He's gets that impish glitter in his eyes, that devilish adorable twist in his smirk, that dreamy ... Hey, why are you looking at me like that?

L-girl said...

Enough already about Mercer, Nerdbeard. OK?