For a country that’s in one hemisphere, Canada sure seems bipolar sometimes.
We’re the only country in the world proud to be humble. We puff out our chests at our democratic values but sulk like children when it’s time to vote. And here’s the big contradiction this time of year: We embrace the myth of the lone and rugged, snow-loving Canadian outdoorsman, while we actually ache for the sweet kiss of summer.
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If our school books and Roll Up The Rim commercials are to be believed, then we should be out in the wilderness right now, starting fires by knocking caribou antlers together and portaging our pemmican with the other voyageurs. In truth, the only survivor skills most know is that if you’re stuck in a blizzard you should use your lightsaber to cut open your Tauntaun.
We spend the whole winter in shopping malls. We curse every snowfall except the first one and, if we’re feeling the spirit, a light dusting before Christmas.
We can’t handle winter and, in fact, act each year like we’ve never seen it before, rushing headlong into car accidents, heart attacks and that hilarious fall where you do a Russian kick dance before you hit the ground. If you do it right, your briefcase opens and the pages of your annual report go everywhere.
This seasonal amnesia sounds like classic denial to me — perhaps brought on by Post-Traumatic Snow Disorder.
And now comes spring, but not soon enough. Weather patterns differ across the country — Vancouverites will be laughing so hard at Halifax by mid-April that foamed milk will come out their nose — but right now everybody is in the same boat: The temperature dances about in the single digits and everybody stares mournfully at the sky.
The street is filled with season-pushers, dressed in skirts and light jackets, hoping that if we all dress like it’s warm we might actually fool Mother Nature.
We like to criticize young people because, once it’s 5 C, we can find guys outside bars wearing little more than cologne, alongside women in short skirts, whose length of exposed leg provides a quick measurement on The Likelihood Of Bad Life Decisions.
But in truth we’re all in the same boat, dressed suggestively for Mother Nature and hoping she might give us a little somethin’ somethin’ to remember her by.
When it finally warms up, we can then, and only then, embrace our outdoorsman image. Unless there are insects. Then we’ll be inside.