My son called me from Israel yesterday. He was pretty excited. He was on his way home from volunteering and he decided to walk along the ocean instead of taking another bus. He was wearing his Toronto Blue Jays World Series sweatshirt, obviously a vintage store find, when a couple passing by remarked on the sweatshirt. The man told him that he has the exact same sweatshirt but he got his when he was at the actual game.
My son said how nice it was to bump into some Canadians. There aren’t any Canadians in his programme. Everyone is either from South America or the United States of America. He’s missing the Canadian vibe.
You see there really is a difference. We are kind of, but not American, kind of, but not British and a teeny weeny bit but definitely not French. We are Canadian, whatever that means. I’m not talking about the way we pronounce the word ‘about’ or that we use that ‘u’ in words such as colour and flavour. I don’t mean the use of the expression “eh”. Yes, we will take our shoes off when we come into your house to sit on your chesterfield and eat a chocolate bar. We will also rhyme the last letter of the alphabet with bed, not with tree. It’s more than that.
We love our country, but we won’t wave our flag. Flag waving is kinda rude in our collective national opinion. The only reason our travellers have flags sewn onto their backpacks is so they will not be mistaken for our southern neighbours and will be treated better for it. Sorry, but it’s the sad truth.
Ultimately though, we know that we are different. Americans certainly don’t see the difference and we probably don’t matter enough to the rest of the world for them to be aware of who we are. But, we know it. It’s as though we are the quiet, cute, geeky girl in the teen movie who will get the makeover and then be noticed by the handsome hero who falls in love with her because he suddenly realizes that she’s beautiful and that which makes her different makes her special. Except that we never do get that makeover so we remain unnoticed.
Canadians never feel so Canadian as when we are travelling out of country or discussing gun control and health care with Americans.