Every Canadian loves to talk weather. We are all experts about the weather we know. West Coasters know about rain, Westerners from the Prairies know about Chinooks and floods, Northern areas know about short/long nights, long/short days and plenty of snow and bugs and the Maritimers know about it all in a way too painful way. Its winters like this past one that has me wondering about my choices. Of course some Canadians are still being bombarded with snow, wind and ice. But I live in Toronto – not as warm as Vancouver but mostly the envy of other Canadians, weather wise. It is a trade-off for the lack of beauty and fresh air. Today I had my 1st lovely walks of the year with my Chihuahua. Not since early December have we been out for more than 15 minutes. Each occasion I had us both so wrapped up it was hardly worth the effort. Most of the winter my dog would head for her bed when the coat and boots came out.
Usually I find myself commiserating with immigrants about our weather. Toronto is full of immigrants and my area is so thick with them I often feel why bother to travel. I’m serious – my son’s grade school offered 70 language translations and support. I didn’t even know there were 70 languages spoken. I grew up in Canada when our winters were often this harsh and since the ’80’s I have felt like I was telling fairy tales to the new immigrants. We had less in common than our accents and clothes sense indicated.
This winter I can’t connect to their looks of astonishment about all the Arctic Freezes or Polar Vortexes. You get kind of racist about it – you look at certain people and you immediately judge how they are relating to the weather. Being a white Anglo-Canadian I am programed to be sensitive; to be respectful to other cultures who foolishly venture into our country. I honestly have begun to judge all people from Indian, Africa, the Caribbean and the Philippians to be ill prepared or just don’t relate. It pains me to see them walking around in the cold. Today I was talking to another small dog owner and we both were on the same page. She was a Russian immigrant. If we have anything in common – it is the weather. We both chose small dogs – we both didn’t brave the cold to take them for walks either.