Let’s be frank—Vancouver is not really Canada. Vancouverites are not really Canadians. Ask anybody east of the Fraser Valley. There are shared experiences that make one Canadian, and this winter has been jammed with those national bonding moments. Blizzards, ice, soul-crushing cold spells, dead car batteries, vinyl upholstery cold enough to make your skin crack on contact, snow drifts large enough to contain entire subway systems—Winter 2014/2015 has had all these things in rare abundance. Cold weather troubles have afflicted this country from coast-to-almost-coast. Almost. Somewhere in the vicinity of the Cascades such near-universal Canadian experiences evaporate like the fog over Burrard Inlet, replaced by different problems—problems like a lousy ski season, flowers blooming too soon for the usual spring festivals, and sometimes, a slight chill on the cafe patio that takes the steam off one’s cappuccino a little too quickly.
Don’t try complaining about these woes, unless you are prepared for violence. No one cares. We are not sharing in the collective Canadian misery. Like draft dodgers who fled north during the Vietnam War, Vancouver residents have foresworn the fight. Perhaps a better comparison would be tax evaders who still demand their quota of social services. We want to share the proud identity of hardy, weather-beaten Canucks, all while basking in balmy temperatures and brushing cherry blossoms from our relatively lightweight clothing. This is the real Two Solitudes—terrible vs. temperate. Out here, Frozen is just some Disney thing.
I feel I can speak for my fellow citizens when I say we feel awful about this. The rest of Canada has really been getting kicked in the teeth—we see it on TV all the time when we’re not out golfing and such. But here’s the thing: nobody wants our sympathy anyway. Like rich, good-looking, athletic high school students, we will be hated by haters no matter how sweetly we smile down at them as we breeze past in the halls. We’re the beautiful people. You’re not. There’s no point even trying to be nice.
But please, do continue to make those crude humanoid snow shapes you seem to enjoy so much. One must find fun where one can. Don’t waste too much coal.