I have been growing more and more discouraged with where I live over the last couple of years. As you may have read in my earlier posts and certainly in my book, “Autobiography of a Stranger” this province is full of ‘nice’ people. It is a most frustrating experience to be a part of and as the days go by I am becoming more and more resolved to put a plan in place to end these days and relocate to a more ‘modern’ place.
Certainly I have had enough of the religious community, already convinced that I have better luck finding the Love of Christ outside of the Church. Stepping inside a church here is a frightening experience, often filled with gasps and frightful ‘ohs’ and tearful ‘oh-no’s’. My heart is heavy thinking about all of the women that are chastised into submission and to all of the minorities who are told to take their place at the end of the table while the rich white man feasts first. I am frustrated by the blatant nepotism within the churches, which I have found so easily spills over into the rest of society.
It is discouraging that the City I live in just brought into law some minor restrictions on smoking in public places whereas anywhere else in this country those same by-laws have been on the books for at least the last decade. Apparently it is some sort of god-given right to stand in front of someone and blow cigarette smoke into the faces of people trying to walk by. It is discouraging that over double the national average of people smoke in this province, which is only going to get worse when Trudeau follows through with legalising pot.
Every single one of my neighbors smokes, their exhales wafting through open doors and windows into my home assaulting me in my privacy. A couple of my neighbors already smoke pot, not caring one bit that the nauseating smells fill up my yard, chasing me into my home in an attempt to minimise my own effects from the THCs. I catch my neighbor’s eyes every once in a while and I see their glares, offended they are at my presence, like I am the problem that needs to go away.
Perhaps they are right.
I have moved beyond being shocked and dismayed whenever I am driving somewhere in this province and I see another motorist throw litter from their vehicle. It is such a regular occurrence that I now recognise this as a systemic issue and not an isolated event. To drive through this province one cannot take time to enjoy the unique scenery that the prairies bring you because you have to examine every inch of the highway before you or you will most likely impale your vehicle with some sort of foreign object.
Apart from the constant appearance of people’s fast food wrappers and drink cups flying out of vehicles like confetti at a parade we need to avoid construction material dropping off of unsecured loads, such as plywood, rough cut lumber, nails, screws, tie-downs, rubber straps and the list goes on. There is an old joke that you can spot an impaired driver in this province because they drive straight on the roads (a jab at just how bad the potholes are here) but the same can be said about avoiding road debris.
I can always tell the moment I leave this province in any direction and enter another part of Canada because the roads are free from potholes, and garbage, and road debris, and road kill. It is like some sort of post-apocalyptic world out here where everyone no longer gives a damn about anything, only attempting to survive in the moment so who cares where the garbage goes and who gives a damn about what I smoke or where I smoke?
It is as if I am living in a place twenty years ago. Maybe longer but the societal attitudes towards these types of things seemed to be more prevalent throughout Canada twenty years ago. There seemed to be this who gives a damn approach back then. Throwing garbage from one’s window wasn’t their problem it was someone else’s problem – someone else’s job. Twenty years ago it seemed like everyone smoked and you enjoyed inhaling the second hand smoke as it carried you through until you could get another cigarette.
But, somewhere over the last twenty years ago the rest of the country stopped being a bunch of asses and took a look around and realised the harm they were doing to themselves and to their environment. Municipalities had no problem implementing restrictions on public smoking and putting in place better infrastructure to encourage drivers and regular citizens to dispose of their waste and garbage in more environmental ways. Twenty years ago the rest of civilisation got it. They understood the message and now for every other part in this country it is a joy to travel and enjoy.
Apparently this province didn’t get the memo. And it is discouraging for sure.
The potential is there to have this place be a great place to live but there is a deep-rooted systemic problem where a person’s selfishness is a right, which only highlights the racism and sexist archaic attitudes that we were supposed to have gotten rid of a generation ago. This place seems to be stuck in the past and I have grown weary by it all. I long to be a part of modern society where I don’t stick out so much by wanting to take care of the environment and wanting to have cleaner air and cleaner roads and clean infrastructure for everyone to enjoy. This seems like it shouldn’t be a battle to have those things – yet for some reason it is. Here.
So, my wife and I have put in place a plan to leave, which is a lot harder to do then one would imagine. Our plan will take us five years. It is ambitious but doable with some hard work and planning it will happen. Five years may sound silly to some readers but when you are my age a lot more planning needs to be involved before one makes a major move like that. I am looking forward to it. I have long had the philosophy to only be where I am wanted and it is becoming clearer to me that I am not wanted in this place.
I don’t mean that on a personal level – although my neighbors would probably absolutely adore having me move away – so I won’t call the police when they are yelling and screaming and threatening violence with each other after yet another drunken night – or because I am not over there enjoying 4/20 with the rest of them – or since I get upset when I see an almost empty Tim Horton’s coffee cup being flung from the driver’s window of a car passing me by.
I am talking more systemically. I am not wanted in the church here because I stand opposed to the absolute garbage I see when I enter. I am some foreign hippy that is interfering with society’s attempt to indulge themselves on the environment, constantly moving their trash to their neighbor’s spot of land and offended when that is pointed out to them. There is no place in the system here for someone like me and so if I am to find enjoyment in life and all that it has to offer it is time to move.
And move I will.
It will be interesting re-entering society twenty years later.