Stranger in a Strange Land, Day 4.

Dear Canada.

Please stop being so nice.

A co-worker actually showed up today with milk. Not because there was any need whatsoever for milk in the office, but to demonstrate to me the superior Canadian way of using milk, which is namely to sell it in bags. For those not familiar with the Eastern Ontario dairy system, apparently you need to buy a special extruded plastic container into which the bag is placed, and then in a manner resembling a bris one snips a corner off the bag, so that you can then pour the milk out from thereof. Because apparently there is no direr need within the confines of cultural exchange than to demonstrate how your corner of the world handles the ever-important question of how to buy and sell milk.

To his insane disappointment I did not marvel at this, take any kind of remote interest in it, or take immediate shots of it to be placed on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter to explain about "these whacky Canadians and their whacky nutty customs." I was already aware of this, and informed him that the practice was confined to parts of Ontario and that other parts of the country were blissfully unaware of the practice - this was new to him. I tried to very politely and patiently and politically explain that he was basically showing me how to pour milk, and that it would be gauche and rather provincial for me to make a big deal out of it.

Also, I have credit cards, yes. They do not have "Intrak", or "tap", or any of the novel space age or peculiar-to-Canada gewgaws you people have. Telling me that I don't have to swipe them, I can "just tap, eh?" - no, I DO have to swipe them, because they don't have "the chip" or "the Intrak" or whatever. That leads them to look at me piteously as if I'd just offered to pay them by handing them a stack of flensed beaver pelts that reach as high as my gun is long, in exchange for kibble for the sled dogs and enough firewater and bullets to last me through the next trapping season. Or writing a check with a dip pen on the back of a sea-farer's playing card informing them that my credit was good with the Hudson's Bay Trading Post and they should take this note to their banker in order to be recompensed with three dollars' worth of silver.

Also, please stop feeding me things. 

Yes, your Lebanese Gyro type "shwarma" things are delightful, and your cheese curds and gravy and fries thing is lovely, but I'm here on business, I'm not some kind of British governor in the colonies being plied with native dances and cultural displays for my edification. I do appreciate it on some level, absolutely. But this constant stream of ever so slightly passive-aggressive "check out the BETTER way in which we do things" coupled with the whole "do you really bleed to death in an alley because you don't have free health care or any sane gun control like we do and why on earth do you backwards people not vote to do things like us" is getting uncomfortable. I don't discuss sex, politics or religion in the workplace. And if I'm buying a cigar for a nice evening out strolling through admittedly safer streets, I'm not really in the mood to turn it into a panel discussion on NPR, I'd just like to effect the translation with the minimum of sympathy for the fact that my credit card is 20th century technology, thanks.

I hope this doesn't come across as douchey. Ottawa is a really nice place. The people are warm and charming, clean limbed and good looking. They exercise on a regular basis, and even the shithole areas are good ol' Trailer Park Boys run-down as opposed to Straight Outta Compton in 1991 shithole. 

But now I know, kinda - how girls feel when they've decided they like the guy and are out on the date with him, but with every further impress to seal the deal and get something going attempt, she's still liking him, kinda - but there's an aspect of "please shut up, because I'd like to get laid, and the more you talk, the more you're talking me out of it being with you."




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