Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More trouble across the border

or, riffs on a theme:

From The Canadian Courier, online.

The seamless fabric of Canadian society has begun to affect the outlook of the liberal Americans fleeing the spectre of a McCain Stalin Palin election, in their recent and ongoing influx into Canada.

Unused to a public transport system whose methods of conveyance arrive and depart on schedule, incredulous American guests of the Canadian government, shuttling between their Rehabilitation and Assimilation (RASS) camps spread all over Canada and Elk-sponsored socials in their host towns, have found that, increasingly, they have less and less angst. Similarly, ex-New York liberals, waiting for the subway on Montreal platforms find, in fact, that no waiting is necessary. Consequently they are beginning to forget how to bitch. Last week, when asked by her bus driver how she was feeling that day, an accountant from LA started to cry. "I feel like I'm in the twilight zone," she sobbed. "Everybody cares!"

In fact a common trend amongst writers, artists and bloggers has been that their output has slowed to a trickle. Interviewed in a coffee shop recently, a screenwriter staring at a blank laptop screen sighed, "There's just no tension anymore, no stress. Everything here works. I have health care, rights, confidence in the future, and rent I can afford. All I need is an organic chicken under $20," he added, as an idea slowly dawned on him and he began to type.

An informal poll amongst the homeless on the streets of BC revealed that 70% of them are Americans. A former interior decorator holding out an empty coffee cup for change, said that she left her comfortable Shelter and took the streets in order rekindle some of the buzz that working for hard-nosed and nose-diving Wall Street executives provided. "In the States I felt like I was living on the edge. Life was unpredictable. I came to the sidewalk to rekindle some feelings of uncertainty."

Some Canadian cities are finding their coffers full in an unexpected twist: in Vancouver, jaywalking Americans, disregarding pedestrian and traffic lights, and walking at will, have quintupled the city's intake of revenue as they continue to be ticketed for this offence. The attitude of the Americans on this point is intransigent, "Why shouldn't we walk if nothing is coming?" fumed a former copy editor, just as she stepped into the street in front of an oncoming car which slowed down for her and smiled and waved as she stalked across.

RASS camps all over the country continue to report widespread discontent among American guests as a result of the all-but-dried-up supply of organic broccoli. "Who knew you could eat so much greenstuff a day, eh?" commented an incredulous cafeteria cook as she dished out rutabaga soup to a baleful throng. "Yesterday I had someone questioning the content of the stock cubes I use!" she said indignantly. "I told her what's in them is stock! But the young woman wouldn't leave me alone, and said that stock cubes might contain hydrolysed vegetable oil and MSG. I told her there was no need to use language like that in my canteen!"

Several camps have begun to spawn vegetable gardens to stem the shortage of broccoli and wild arugula, another in-demand item, and some enterprising guests have started to raise chickens. "They claim", said an Administrator of a camp near the town of Beloeil to which especially demanding and difficult guests are shuttled, and which consequently supports the largest vegetable garden, "that our chickens are full of hormones and antibiotics. As if that were a bad thing, now! How else do you expect us to feed our hockey players, eh?!" he spluttered.

Recently at this camp a black market scheme was uncovered in which fresh broccoli was being shipped to the much larger camp outside Montreal, populated mainly by Harvard and other East Coast Ivy League alumni who claim it as brain food. The alumni are docile enough but become unruly near dinner time. Five days ago a riot was circumvented by a narrow margin after the black market broccoli, having been smuggled successfully into the kitchens was boiled too long by the Quebecois cook, losing not only its colour but its crunch. Disaster and some ugly scratches were averted when a bale of arugula, being kept back as a surprise, was hurled into the melee.

Canadians are cautioned that the current state of affairs is febrile. "The Americans will elect their new president in November," said the PM, on his new Nightly Broadcast, "and anything could happen. If McCain wins, then what we see now is a drop in the maple bucket. On the other hand, if he loses, I'm moving Stateside. I hear Obama has broccoli."


  1. Way to go! :-) As long as we keep our sense of humour, there is hope. The dark side of the Force cannot prevail forever. The broccoli wars are raging. Who will win?

    But honestly, I think you might have underestimated the tendency of Montrealers to jay walk. Don't assume that all of Canada is as civilized as Vancouver. We are a pocket of highly advanced beings, that's all. ;-)

  2. Too funny! "I came to the sidewalk to rekindle some feelings of uncertainty." ;-)

  3. Marie,

    Very funny stuff! And the jaywalking thread got me thinking of an incident that happened many years ago when I was attending college in Seattle. My ex-husband -- my then boyfriend -- and I had taken a weekend trip to Vancouver. He had a 1963 Chevy Malibu. We were driving through downtown Vancouver and stopped to wait for a little old lady, who just happened to be jaywalking, to get across the street. When she got in front of our car, she stopped and looked at the California license plate, looked at us through the windshield and took her closed umbrella and started banging it on the hood of the car. After about five good wallops, she continued on her way across the street. We were stunned at first, and then just burst into laughter! I still don't know quite what to make of that incident!


  4. Centvingt - Sidewalks are good for restoring you to the human condition.Whatever that is.

    Kelii - that is classic. A movie scene.


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