Any Canadian will tell you that one of the biggest turnoffs for us is people who are boastful. I’m not sure what they call it in other parts of Canada but here on the east coast, we call it bragging. We are a humble country; not given to self-important public displays of preening or bluster. Yes, you will meet the odd Canadian soul who brags about their successes, their fancy car or their impressive social connections, but those types of Canadian are generally in a field such as politics and do not represent the rest of us (yes, that was meant to be ironic).
There is only one exception to the Canadian bragging rule, however, and that is when we discuss the weather: particularly bad winter weather. No matter how terrible the snowstorm; no matter how cold the day; no matter how high the winter’s accumulation of snow; some Canadian somewhere will glance around with a scornful look and say, “You think this is bad? Well obviously, you never lived in (name your location of choice here) back in the winter of (name your year of choice here). Now THAT was a winter to remember!”
Live through a spell of bad winter weather and then make a comment about it in front of any Canadian and they will inform you of a winter that was longer, snowier or colder. And then they will launch into a long description of how old they were at the time; what grade they were in; how old their kids were; how many days they couldn’t leave the house and how long it took to shovel themselves out. Then, for good measure, they will bring out photos of the snow-covered house; the snow-covered garage; the snow-covered patio doors or the buried-under-the-snow car. They might not say too much, but you just know they are thinking, ‘Beat THAT, you inexperienced young pup!’
I didn’t know that I was even given to bragging until I moved ‘south’ from Québec City (where I lived for 35 years) to approximately halfway down into the province of New Brunswick. Compared with the winters we experienced in Québec City, both my husband and I have scornfully glanced around in disbelief after each snowstorm this winter and said to one another in tones of superior disbelief, “They call THIS a snowstorm? They closed school for THIS?”
And of course, like any self-respecting Canadian, I have my own bragging-rights winter to compare this with: the winter of 2008 was like no winter I have ever experienced. Québec City received 5 METRES of snow that winter (that’s almost 16 and a half feet). It snowed every single day. You could drive down a street in the suburbs and not see one house, so high were the snow banks. We watched the snow accumulate and eventually cover a number of our windows that year. It was impossible to keep up with and there was nowhere to put it. The pictures I have included at the top of this post are of my daughter and our dog, scaling and then standing on the snowbank beside our three-storey house and the other is a photo of my daughter and me at the foot of that same snowbank. Every person in the city earned bragging rights that year.
I recently made an attempt to be a bit more discreet when boasting about it, though. The snowfall this past winter has been exceptional for the area of New Brunswick that we now call home: it is an El Niño year and we were warned the winter would be long and the snowfall extensive. As predicted, we have indeed had quite a number of snow storms and school has been closed a whopping 10 days to date. Folks around these parts are discouraged and more than ready for this terrible winter to end.
In the beginning, my husband and I – feeling massively superior and worldly due to our far-greater experience when it comes to ‘real snow’ were wont to cheer up our new friends by telling them how inconsequential the snowfall is here, compared with Québec City. And then at some point, I took a step back and saw myself for what I had become: that dreaded of all things to a modest Canadian: The Great Canadian Braggart. And I decided to firmly shut my mouth – and keep it shut, for the remainder of the winter. I spoke with my Great Canadian Braggart Husband and he, too, agreed that perhaps we had been a little too overzealous in discussing our massive experience with ‘real’ snow.
Because, well, our new friends deserve the right to have a winter to brag about, too.
(Shhh… but don’t tell them I said this: even if this is nothing compared to the winter of 2008 in Québec City. Just sayin’…)
Source of Photos: Patti Moore Wilson (aka Great Canadian Braggart)
Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com