Moving to Canada?

“I’m moving to Canada,” the woman behind the counter told me.  “Getting married and moving to Canada.  We’ll be outside Toronto.”

She works at the takeout place, Food, Food, where I spend half my life hanging around, since I hate to cook, but love to eat.  I’m the kind of horrible cook whose family and friends beg her not to do anything in the kitchen, except take orders and clean up.  It’s better that way.  Better for all of us.

When my husband’s out of town, I go to Food, Food almost every night.  It’s mostly run by young guys.  I, personally, think that any young woman who’s looking for a fulfilling relationship should hang around there, too, instead of going to some bar.  These guys can hustle and cook and they’re really cute.  In my dotage, I may become a matchmaker for all the cute guys who work there.  Maybe they’ll give me a discount or something for my services.

But, in the meantime, I’m impressed by my conversation with the one woman behind the counter.  “Everybody I know,” I tell her, “is threatening to move to Canada.  But you’re actually doing it.”

She smiles and agrees.  But she’s moving for love, not politics.  I can see that.  I can also understand.

Right now, though, I’m in the midst of the perennial pre-election threats of migration by almost every liberal I know.  Which is to say, almost everybody I know or spend time with is threatening to move to Canada or Europe or someplace else if the Republicans win and Life As We Know It becomes even more intolerable.  Or maybe they’ll just move to Massachusetts or New York, they say.  That’s almost a foreign country, isn’t it?

Even my husband, who’s usually pretty measured about such things, starts snorting about how he’d opt to move to New Zealand if the storm-troopers take over and start goose-stepping and rounding up anybody who’s ever read a book or seen a foreign movie with subtitles.  You know, people dangerous enough to think the earth is more than six thousand years old.

I kind of understand it (the frustration!  the fury!), but I really don’t get it.  I can’t imagine moving anywhere else.  Maybe you could call this a failure of imagination, but this is where I was born and where I belong and where I want to take my last breath.  I don’t want to move anyplace where it’s cold or where they sneer at me and wreck my self-esteem for carrying worthless dollars in my wallet; if I want my self-esteem lowered, I can do it just fine right here.

Still, last night, I sat with my husband and friends and watched the vice-presidential debate — and felt aghast.  I tried to be as objective as possible, but gave that up after a good 15 seconds.  I can understand people voting for McCain.  I wouldn’t do it, ever, but I can understand it.  Different people have different ideas about where this country should be headed.  In spite of his sleazy and negative campaigning, he’s still a decent man, I like to think.  A capable man, however wrongheaded and bellicose.

But Sarah Palin as his vice-president?  Vote for someone because she’s so “authentic” she mispronounces “nuclear” and talks like she’s auditioning for a role as Annie Oakley?  Sure, she’s cute and spunky and oozes self-confidence like butter on hot popcorn — but she’s not qualified to be in the White House.  We’ve already had George W. Bush, who’s similarly authentic and sure of himself and alarmingly incurious and simpleminded — and his administration’s been the greatest disaster in our country’s history.

No matter what the result in November, I’m not going to Canada or New Zealand or Europe.  And, neither, I suspect, will my friends.  The debacle of the housing market and the economy has made those threats completely empty.

We’ll be staying, whether we like it or not, feeling more and more like visitors in the country we thought we knew.  Sometimes, it seems to me, it’s possible to find yourself in a new and foreign country simply by staying put.

(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)

12 comments… add one
  • I’m outa here if
    McCain pulls this off. Palin
    cannot be VP.

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    I understand.  But where will you go?

    Should have added that I’ve lost enormous respect for McCain for his cynical choice of Palin.  Talk about Country Last.

  • My husband’s British
    so we have a get-out-of-
    jail-free card. Kind of.

  • C.L. Ward Link

    Today I spotted an article on, The Poetry of Sarah Palin.  Author Hart Seely looks at the incoherent interview replies by Palin and presents them as poetry. And read that way, they actually seem to develop more meaning and a kind of weird grandeur!

    I’m actually sad that there wasn’t more “Palin Poetry” out of the debate. I confess, I was hoping for more of a trainwreck experience out of the debate, one of those verbal distasters you can’t look away from, even while you cringe.

    However, I can still take evil glee in thinking of the governor as “Bible Spice” and knowing that despite managing to not trip over her own tongue during the debates, she’s still managed to upset and alienate a lot of people.  Ah, schadenfreude!

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    I seeem to recall something similarly poetic when Rumsfeld was still strutting around and bombing with shock and awe.  Do you realize we now go for weeks and months without thinking of him?  Maybe the same will be true of Palin.  She’ll just be an obscure answer on Trivial Pursuit.  I can always dream.

    I’m envious, Rachel.  We have nothing but Americans at our house, even though I’m a card-carrying member of the Chickasaw Nation.  Don’t know what that will get me beyond a round of bingo, though.


  • Looks like I’ll be taking a trip to the Saxet Gun Show soon to pick up a couple thousand rounds of Rem.223 ammo for my mini14, AK47, and AR15 assault rifles.  I’ll be getting ready for them goose-stepping storm troopers, or the Al-Qaeda and Muslim radical terrorist if God forbid Obama gets the nod!

  • C.L. Ward Link

    So was Fred in your yoga class too, Ruth?

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    No, Fred doesn’t strike me as much of a yoga type.

  • You’re getting pretty controversial over here, Ruth! 😉 Jeez…

    I’m here no matter the outcome, but the Republicans keeping the White House would be a horrible, horrible state of affairs.

    Although watching these loud mouths shout on CNN is a close 2nd.

  • Ruth, I didn’t realize you were a member of a civilized tribe — the Chickasaws. I happen to be descended from a rival tribe, the Choctaws. And hey, we beat your ass a couple of centuries ago before we figured out how to get along. I think our ancestors probably could have given us some ideas about how to deal with Sarah Palin and her moosespeak. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t enjoy hanging out at the Choctaw reservation in Mississippi — it’s one big casino and golf course.   

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    Carol — Did you see this earlier post on the Chickasaws?

    My people have borne so many insults over the years.  They even speak Choctaw.  It’s hard to keep my head up some days.  Thanks for reminding me.

  • The only reason I’m still here in the States is because my Canadian husband has fallen in love with cheap beer, cheap cigarettes and warm weather.  I’ve thoughtfully told him that he can brew his own in the basement and go to the Indian reserves (He’s Metis, btw, so it looks like we have quite the First Nation/Native American gathering going in here) to get loose tobacco to roll his own smokes.

    But I haven’t been able to counter the “warm weather” part.  He can always do like many Canadians do – winter in Cuba.  But I would end up looking at a $250k fine and several years in a Federal prison if I got caught going and, knowing my luck, I’d get caught.  🙁 

    I keep threatening to stick a “For Sale” sign in the front yard if McCain wins.  Maybe I’ll just go to Canada without him.  Hmmm…

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