Confessions of a Vancouverite
There is no doubt in my mind that I live in the most beautiful part of the best country in the world. Based on what? Gut feelings, I suppose, as I’ve not seen the rest of the world, or even the rest of the country! Or maybe it’s what the media tells me, as Vancouver is consistently ranked among the best places to live. Perhaps it’s what’s expected of Vancouverites, to constantly brag about their city and take part in some or all of the things Vancouverites are supposed to love. Well, I’m here to shout loud and proud: I AM NOT YOUR TYPICAL VANCOUVERITE!!!
I have lived in Vancouver for 27 of my 48 years, so I feel like I’m as much a Vancouverite as everyone else. Sure, those born here will scoff – they were here first and somehow that makes them more entitled to the Vancouverite designation – but we are not responsible for our birthplace. However, as adults, we ARE responsible for where we end up – and I argue that we are MORE Vancouverite simply because we CHOSE to move here!
That said, I must confess: there are so many things that Vancouverites are supposed to love but I barely like any of them.
1) Yoga – hate it. Don’t get it. I don’t have time for it, I don’t have the patience for it, and I just don’t bend that way. Yes, I’ve tried. Yes, I’ve failed. Don’t care. In fact, the whole thing creeps me out. It’s too meditative and relaxing and fluffy for my nature. I’m not saying it’s not good exercise – undoubtedly it IS – it’s just not my thing. No biggie.
2) Coffee – I need coffee. Without it, I get a massive caffeine headache and I am unbearable. But I’m no connosseur. In fact, quite the opposite – I’m a coffee heathen! I will drink any coffee – good, crappy, or crapped by a monkey – as long as it has some delicious flavoured coffee “creamer” in it. I say “creamer” because the International Delight flavourers have no actual cream or any kind of dairy in them. I can’t afford Starbucks or Blenz or any other $3 per cup coffees, and I can’t tell the difference between a Timmies and a McDonald’s coffee. *shame*
3) Biking – nope. Can’t pay me enough. I rode bikes lots as a kid in a small northern town, but since moving to the city at 15, I won’t touch one. It’s dangerous, as much for others as for me! Best that I stick to the sidewalks and busses when I’m not driving…
4) Drugs – if you want to smoke pot, have at ‘er! Enjoy! But I gave that up in my early 20s and never looked back. I prefer the hazy reality afforded by my daily rations of alcohol, rather than the sleepy dullness that pot gives me. Drugs are not my thing either – hell, I don’t even take vitamins! It’s not like I have so much respect for my body, it’s just that I’ve been there, done that, enjoyed it, but moved on. Honestly, I just can’t handle the paranoia that goes along with it all.
5) Sushi – yes. All day long. Every day. Sign me up! I love sushi, I just can’t afford to eat it more than once every few months! This is the one area where I am truly Vancouverite, I’m just financially incapable of taking part.
6) Beach – ick. Not a fan. I love the IDEA of the beach, but I hate actually sitting on a beach. Sand gets in my food, my shoes, my cracks (ALL of them!), and I end up cleaning sand out of my car and my home for months afterwards. Give me a grassy area or a treed park and I’m in my happy place.
7) Rain – meh. I can take it or leave it. It neither bothers me nor delights me. I’m indifferent. I don’t carry an umbrella because I’m lazy like that (rarely even carry a purse), I’d rather wear a water resistant coat. Do Vancouverite’s like the rain? Tolerate it? Complain about it?? I have no idea – my small talk almost never involves the weather!
8) Outdoors – I love the outdoors! Love, love, LOVE! I would rather be outdoors than anywhere else! And by “outdoors” I mean “outside of my door”. In my 20’s and even 30’s I used to seek it out – go hiking, camping, fishing, festivals, etc. But the older I get, the more I realize that I can commune with nature right here in my own back yard! I only need to walk out my door to see the mountains, breathe fresh air, watch the critters (racoons, squirrels, owls, coyotes, etc). I have long since lost the desire to be in the wild, tromping through a bear’s territory, always worrying about accidentally stumbling across a bear eating or having a cougar stalk me. And god forbid I end up on the news because I fell off a cliff or got lost! I would be mortified!!
9) Organics – orshmanics. I buy what’s cheap because that’s all I can afford because my rent is too high and the price of gas is too high and the price of everything is too high and I don’t have money left over to buy anything non-GMO or organic. And you know what? Even if I DID, I’m not sure I would. Because no matter much money I have, I just don’t buy into all the hype. If I’m worried about pesticides and whatnot, I’ll just grow my own. Right or wrong, I don’t give a crap if it’s organic or not. Aaaaahahahaha! Crap is organic! *irony*
10) Allergies and sensitivites – it seems that every person you talk to these days has something that they can’t eat/wear/use/be near/have in the house. From lactose to dogs to trees, everyone needs something to avoid. When people ask me if I have any sensitivites, I just shrug and say “nope.” It’s possible that drinking milk gives me the squirts, and it’s possible that I’m allergic to a certain ground-dwelling hornet, and it’s even possible that as I type I am suffering from my very first seasonal pollen allergies. But I’ll never tell anyone or complain about it or even admit it if they ask me, simply because I don’t want to be one of THOSE people!
11) Ecocentric – most people love their village/town/country. Where they are from is the best place in the world! Logically I know that people value different things, and paradise for one is hell for another. Someone in a snowy northern town might hate our lack of seasons, and someone from the south might abhor the chilly snow. Neither is wrong, it’s just what they are used to, have grown to love. But must they ridicule and make fun of the other? Nope. So even though I feel that Vancouver is far superior to, say, Toronto, I would never send them pictures of people playing volleyball on the beach while they are in the midst of the worst snow storm in decades. That’s just mean. Be ecocentric, but don’t be arrogant about it…
12) Exercise – yes! I applaud all the folks who partake in all the events and activities available! Surfing, rollerblading, marathoning, etc etc etc. Wahoooo!! You GO!! But I won’t be going. I might watch. On my tv. But probably not. I get exhausted just watching it, and I even get tired just thinking about watching it. And the parking and the crowds – no thanks! Again, I’ve been there, done that too, and now I find true happiness and deep meaning in stillness. Unmoving moves me. I see moms in the neighbourhood meeting at the corner in their spandex and spritely walking for the sake of fitness (or to get away from their families, and I envy that just a little), but it doesn’t inspire me to put my shoes on. Their tight glutes and muscular calves look great in those Lululemon capris, and I admire them.
And as I sit in my porch swing with my evening beer, I smile happily while I watch my husband taking the kids for a bike ride, knowing that I’ve put in my time and energy and now is my time to really, truly enjoy Vancouver… in my own way.
This post was written somewhat tongue-in-cheek. If you take offense to it, you are truly a Vancouverite! Congrats!