Thursday, February 14, 2013

Things I Don't Know

I know.  You could probably fill a book with the things I don’t know, but there are some things that I don’t understand no matter how they’re explained to me or how often.  I must have a mental block somewhere.

One of them is the rules of Rook.  I have to have the rules to this card game explained to me every single time I play.  I absolutely cannot remember them, and Rook isn’t the only game I can’t remember the rules to.  If I didn’t learn the rules before I was 8 years old, it’s all over.  So, yes, I still remember how to play Monopoly and Scrabble (I love Scrabble), but I need a refresher course for pretty much everything else.  It’s a good thing I married a man who likes to read the rule books.

I also don’t understand why anyone buys canned pineapple.  If you compare the price of a real pineapple from the produce department with a big old can of pineapple, the prices are almost the same.  The difference is that one of them tastes like heaven and the other one tastes like it’s been soaked in syrup indefinitely.  I’m told people buy the canned stuff because they’re too lazy or don’t understand how to cut up a real pineapple.  But it still doesn’t make sense to me. 

And women who buy their jewelry from the same store they bought their sweater from.  That doesn’t make sense.  When I’m in a woman’s clothing store, yes, I do see the racks of accessories.  Yes, they are there, but the necklaces and earrings are made of plastic and stainless steel.  They’re also ridiculously overpriced.  And did I mention that they are made of plastic?  Plastic.  Why would a grown woman go out in public with plastic beads around her neck unless it was a necklace made by her daughter?  It’s not that I’m necessarily very hoity-toity about the value of the jewelry I wear; I would just rather go out wearing no jewelry at all than wear plastic.  Plastic!

People who sew their own clothes confuse me, too.  Unless you’re making something extraordinarily unique, then I don’t get it.  I understand making your own prom dress, or your own wedding dress, and a few other kinds of dresses (dresses are kind of a hard number to hit), but other stuff?  Pants?  Shirts?  Vests?  When I go to the fabric store, I am shocked and slightly embarrassed by how much they are charging for fabric.  I bet the price of the fabric plus the price of the notions will be higher than what you’d pay for whatever it is from a shop down the street.  Not to mention that sewing seems to take a lifetime and has a very strong possibility of never getting done at all.

So, yeah, there’s some stuff I don’t get.  Maybe someday.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Town Rat, Country Rat

I grew up in a small town.  I moved to the city when I became an adult and I have pretty much been a city dweller ever since, but occasionally, I find myself back in small towns from time to time and the culture shock is really … intense.

For one thing, I do not find that country people have better manners than city people.  I also don’t find that city people have better fashion sense than country people.  Bear in mind – this is Canada. 

The thing that shocks me is what they seem to think of each other.  For one thing, city people who have escaped their hometown seem to be endlessly congratulating themselves on the achievement.  Is it really that amazing that you rented out an apartment in the city, then rented out a house in the city, and finally bought a house in the city?  Likewise, people who have not left the small town are also endlessly congratulating themselves on that.  Is it really that impressive that you never moved out?

For my own part, I can see the advantages of both and the disadvantages of both.  I always feel claustrophobic in the city.  I live on a fairly open street where people have backyards, front yards and sometimes even … dare I say it?  Side yards.  And I’m still deprived of sky.  I am hardly acquainted with any of my neighbours and have to drive for at least 15 minutes to get to a friend’s house.  When I lived in a small town, I could tell you who lived in almost every house.  It was easy to remember since you canvased for the Heart and Stroke Foundation regularly.  In the city, I still do volunteer work, but I hardly ever meet anyone.  And people move all the time.

In a small town, yeah – gardening is the limit.  I love gardening and there are huge lots to tend (maybe almost too big).  But nothing ever happens there.  The cultural happenings like theatre productions and festivals are downright laughable.  No opera in Italian there.  No international celebrations of anything.  No pizza delivery.  And sadly, no money.  The economy doesn’t exactly rock in those little places.  But it’s a five minute walk to the grocery store instead of a five minute drive and all your favourite stores are beside each other because it’s a small place.

Occasionally, I hear of people who were from a small town and never got over wanting it (forced into the city for university).  They’ve been plotting and planning for years to get back to that big sky and those enormous yards.  It’s the money problem that holds them back.  It holds me back too, but I think I finally might have switched over to the dark side – the city side.  Except it’s curious because I can’t explain why.  It’s a coin toss.