Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 4:20am

“So, how’s everything at home in Canada?”
“Oh, pretty good.”
“Gettin’ pretty cold there now is it?”
I don’t know why I despise small talk with this man so much, but I do.
“Yeah, it’s starting to snow…” I answer, just dripping with sweat. “Where did you say you were from originally?” 
“Sydney. I moved up here in ’89.”
“Oh, that’s nice. Do you think you’d ever go back there?”
“No, it’s getting a bit too ethnic for me.”

Ding, ding, ding!!! We got it. I knew there was something that put me off. My instinct was pedophile, but no, he’s a blatent rascist. (of course, not to say both can’t be true…)

“Really? Hmm, that’s funny because that’s exactly what I miss about Toronto…you know, all kinds of cultures living together harmoniously. I find it’s a bit too white here.”
“I don’t like it. I find some Middle Eastern cultures move in to a place and they just take over.”

Well, that’s the pot calling the kettle black now isn’t it. Isn’t “taking over” the white man’s middle name? I can’t even believe I’m having this conversation. And it’s that fucked up look in his eye as he searches my face for some sign I want to commisserate. Forget it, buddy.

“It’s really too bad you feel that way. That’s exactly what I miss about home. I don’t share your sentiments at all.” 

What is the appropriate response to this? Especially when it’s the maintenance guy at the resort you’re cleaning rooms at – a job I don’t give two shits about. Do I waste my breath and even bother getting into anything with him? I contemplate tossing the hoover bag at him, but figure that won’t solve a thing. The conversation quickly shifts.

“It’s pretty beautiful in Canada. Not that I’ve ever been there, but the pictures of the Rockies are just amazing.”
“But you’ve got all those bears…”

Oh my dear lord. Was this man educated by donkeys? He sure seems like an ass.
Yeah, you know we’re just dodging the bears left and right in Toronto. It’s a bit dangerous but you get used to it.

“I’d love to go to Canada.”

Really? Please, don’t bother. We definitely don’t want you. Sigh. Double sigh. Dudes like him give Aussies a bad name.

I’ve been feeling very Canadian lately. When I set out on this journey it was with the “We’ll see…maybe I’ll stay here…I hate the snow anyway” attitude. I don’t know. The true north strong and free feels pretty near and dear to me at the moment, snow or no snow. We’ve got loads to be proud of. Sometimes it takes being half a world away to appreciate it.