Tuesday, October 6, 2009

From the East to the West

So I got to thinking the other day about various stuff I have encountered since I've been "Out West," and while there are some things that I have totally appreciated, there are others that I truly just don't get. I decided to short list a few for shits and giggles...

Things I enjoy:

1. The different landscapes. Love 'em. They're beautiful, and I have a bijillion pictures from all over the place to prove it. The mountains have become a part of me, just like the ocean always has been.

2. The fresh mountain air (which does NOT exist everywhere - read: mills galore - and will never replace the salty tang of the air in the North Atlantic). I am not sure how to describe it at the moment, but it is quite refreshing and rejuvenating in a way I've not experienced elsewhere.

3. The attitude that anything is possible (for the most part). There just seems to be a different kind of reality here. Instead of the pervasive, ingrained belief that things are unrealistic and unattainable, people see opportunities and possibilities, grab them and go for it!

4. There are four seasons and they actually occur when they are supposed to. It's a nice change to go through the cycle of winter, spring, summer, fall and experience each during the time frame in which it is supposed to come and go (instead of 3/4 of the year being winter, with a touch of the other three seasons thrown in just for appearances sake).

5. The increased ability to travel. Obviously, being on the Mainland offers advantages in this area...immediately, you eliminate the need to get off an island to go anywhere which makes things infinitely less complicated and more accessibile. You can reach more places by driving, and flights, in general, are cheaper (unless you are flying back east for a visit, that is...)

And now for the things that befuddle me:

1. I do not and will not ever understand what would drive someone to put sliced/chopped up mystery deli sandwich meat on top of Chinese food and serve it. However, I have encountered it in several places in BC and after several disappointing trial and error sessions and having to frown at my food, screw up my face, tutt, sigh, and pick it all off, I decided to boycott Chinese restaurants anywhere north of Vancouver (unless specifically recommended, in which case I may cautiously take a deep breath and give it a go) just in case...

2. I fail to comprehend why so many people feel the need to possess a dually or any other huge truck for that matter. I'm sorry, but there is no way THAT MANY people own and/or help operate a ranch/farm or have some other job-related issue that requires them to drive one of those gas-guzzling, atmosphere polluting beasts (which also apparently entitles the owner to monopolize the road at all times). Why else would you need one? It just irks me.

3. Passing lane etiquette in BC. 'Nough said (...but for the "Easterners" - read: anyone who resides anywhere past Saskatchewan - who may not know what I am talking about, I will briefly explain that when you see a passing lane, no matter how slow you are going beforehand, it means "GIVE 'ER!!!!!" If you see someone who looks like they may be attempting to pass you, stamp down on the gas until the passing lane ends, at which time you can slam on the brakes again and agitate them by forcing them to stay behind and follow you. Do this repeatedly). In Alberta, the issue seems to be an inability to drive below 140 or merge in traffic.

4. Newfoundland = Nova Scotia = New Brunswick. Yep, they're all the same place, and all included in "The Maritimes"...along with PEI of course - didn't you know? Totally interchangeable! The Annapolis Valley? Right next to St. John's, of course! ...and a person who is from Nova Scotia is called a Newfie, just like a Newfoundlander must be from Nova Scotia, right? Unless New Brunswick comes to mind first, that is...

5. The widespread inability to pronounce "Newfoundland" correctly...even when provided with repeated examples from a native Newfoundlander. Rhymes with "understand." Is it really that hard? I mean seriously, do I walk around calling this place "BRIGHT-ish Column-BEE-ah???" Honestly!!!

Now, in all fairness, I know there are things about Eastern Canadians that throw westerners off too (I personally find it makes my life easier to neutralize my accent and delete certain words and phrases from my speech when I am not at home, as a preventative measure, for starters). Hell, there are things that boggle my mind and I am from there!

Yes, there's no doubt those who have ventured east have probably been smacked in the face by our quirks just as much as we are by theirs (although I do think the eastern provinces offer up more fodder as they are more diverse than the western ones in my humble opinion. I can't really speak for central or the territories). However, I am also sure our western visitors have taken away things that have pleasantly surprised and enlightened them, just like I have out here.

Anyway - no matter how you slice it - easterners and westerners are just DIFFERENT. It's important to be aware of those differences (let's face it - some people are just plain oblivious), and celebrate that diversity and uniqueness as much as possible while remembering to afford others our respect...even if we do feel the need to walk away shaking our heads and rolling our eyes sometimes.

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