Thursday, February 11, 2010

You say "tomato", I say "I'm sorry."

Well, my secret’s out. I see that the Trib has published my blog address in their story, "Yo, Canada!" Thankyouverymuch! (Oh, wait, a minute - is this my fifteen minutes of fame? Um, can I put in for a different one?)

Getting a call from the Chicago Tribune (Holy sh!t! The Chicago Tribune?) to ask me about being a Canuck was a nice change from all of my Canadian friends asking me what it’s like to live in the U.S of A. But it’s no easier to put my finger on. And I do think about this All. The. Time.

And I still had to come up with some concrete stuff for them. What could a Chicagoan do to live as a Canadian for a day? I don't know! What could a Chicagoan do to live as a Canadian for a day. Tough one! I seriously don’t know.

I mean, I don’t really think that my way of life is any different from my American friends’ lives. I put maple syrup on my bacon. I eat All-Dressed chips. I order rye-and-ginger at Schubas and then have to specify Canadian Club lest I get that "Rock-and-Rye" junk (What is that!?) And I obsess over whether or not I made the wrong impression by being impolite to a total stranger who was rude to me first. Don’t YOU?

But then I really started thinking about it. Apart from the obvious, which is the need to embrace snow sports (unless, that is, you're in Vancouver for the winter Olympics where it won't snow at all this year. Oh, the snow is a fickle friend!) and the apologies (I do hear myself saying “Sore-ee” on the El a lot more than my fellow passengers – even when they step on MY toes), there are the subtler differences. Canadians, it seems, consider most things as a shade of grey. Is this from living with February? I don’t know. But I can tell you that every time I came up with something that was “Canadian” to me, I would hear from a friend that this wasn’t true and why...

Still, I was having a really tough time referring the writer to “typically” Canadian activities or food in Chicago. Not just because Canadian companies keep selling their products to American firms (MAC, Imax, Molson) but because being Canadian is not about what you do or eat or wear.
I think that being Canadian is a state of mind. And that mind is warmed by a toque. And powered by poutine!

By the way, Trib: don’t think I didn’t notice that you swiped my logo! Yeah, that's okay, I guess. But for the record - Adam August was the designer. Thanks, Adam. “It’s beautiful. I love it!”

p.s. You forgot the U in "honour" and "neighbour"!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, Chris! I was inspired to go out and buy poutine for lunch! So cold here today...glad I remembered to wear my toque!
    Go Canada!