Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – March 19, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – March 19, 2004 – If you think hockey is the national pass time of Canadians, you have been misled. It is complaining. We have a litany of ills as long as a hockey stick, and male or female it’s our duty and obligation to explain these, at every opportunity, to friends, family, business associates and total strangers – especially strangers.
I’m convinced this is a flaw in our otherwise sterling national character. How else can one explain our obsession with the weather. We have four seasons just like the rest of the world – but we feel compelled to discuss every season and then relate it back to the same season a year ago, five years ago or even to a childhood memory.
Canadians tend to be a reserved (our British heritage), polite and perhaps even shy bunch, so what could be easier to complain about than the weather? I’ve heard these comments about the weather this year.
Sure is cold out there. (yes, it’s winter).
Why is it cold out? (same answer as above)
I’m not going outside again until the snow is gone (said in January therefore, this woman is going to live at the library).
My feet are wet. (this man wore his slippers to the corner store).
Do you think the army will come again? A former mayor of Toronto – Mel Lastman – once called in the army after a really bad storm, Toronto was laughed at mercilessly – as we should have been. It was “snow”.
My sister is allergic to snow.
We not only whine about the weather, we curse our work environment, losing sports teams and politicians on all levels. We want to make more money and when we do we bitch because we have to pay more taxes. We’re unhappy because we’re too fat or thin, too short or tall, too old or young. We think our best friend has the best husband in the world and all the good guys are taken. Then why do 50% of marriages fail? We want to be married and single at the same time.
We want a summer cottage and then complain because we have to drive to it. We want a holiday and are annoyed because the plane is fifteen minutes late taking off. We blubber because we never go out and then want to stay home the night of the symphony. We’re too tired. Our houses are too big or too small. We’re hopelessly lonely or smothered by a lover, childless or over-whelmed with parental responsibilities. The commute is too long or the city is too crowded. It’s raining the day of the parade or too hot to be outside. There is no satisfying us. This behaviour certainly isn’t peculiar to Canadians – yet for most of us who complain – we haven’t known a real day of hardship in our lives. Stress – yes! Deprivation – no!
I sometimes pride myself on being above such behaviour, but of course I’m in denial (and as the old joke goes – this is not a river in Egypt). I’m very conscious of complaining when I’m surrounded by others who are engaged in it. It sounds dreadful. Yet I fall into the same trap in a heartbeat. Ranting on and on about “he said – she said, didn’t they know, how could he behave that way, the nerve of that person, I’m not appreciated” ad nauseam.
So why do we do it? Perhaps it’s simply part of the human condition. Somehow I can’t imagine Augie and Ziggy sitting around saying, “Gosh I wish my fur wasn’t so long or I only have old toys to play with or did you see what she gave us for lunch today?” Augie and Ziggy are thankful that they have fur, toys and bickies. I’m a big believer that my generation and those following me have been given too much. Not that most of us haven’t worked hard for the things we have – but we have “never” been challenged.
We, thankfully have never lived through a great depression, gone to war, lost our loved ones in a foreign country or had our cities and homes invaded. For the most part, we’re well educated, well fed (perhaps too much so if you look at obesity statistics), living in homes that are decent and have some savings in our bank accounts. Not to say that some Canadians aren’t going through difficult times because they are, but we have social assistance programs and health care and access to job training. If you want to work in this country – you probably can!
The next time I hear myself contributing to the ‘bitch session’ at the water cooler, I’m going to try to extricate myself from same – think about all I have to be thankful – for and re-direct all that negative energy into a walk around the block!
I’ll be a better person for it.