Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A Tourist In My Own City

This evening, while driving, I noticed a stop sign that said STOP. Not Arret. It said STOP. Now while I am totally for bilingualism, and believe that stop signs should say both Stop and Arret, you have to appreciate my shock, in that moment. I had come face to face with an endangered species. I stared at the STOP sign for a brief moment longer, and began to daydream of a life in Quebec without language laws. Without language police. A Quebec of Freedom, if you will. What a happy, albeit bittersweet moment. For daydreams are no more that what they are, and I was thrown back into reality all too quickly later on, when at a store, I spoke English to an employee, who gladly spoke English back to me, saying it gave him an excuse to 'practice'. When he went to ring up my order at the cash, he said, "So where are you from? Are you vacationing?"
I said, " No, I'm from here."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm from Saint-Constant." I explained.
"Oh, what made you want to move up here?"
"Up here?" I repeated.
"Yes, are you from America?"
"No, I'm actually born, raised, and currently here."
"Oh. I just thought..."
"Yes, I know what you thought."
He then proceeded to apologize and explain himself further. He was perfectly nice and it was an honest mistake...but wow. Really makes you think, doesn't it? English is the language that is spoken almost anywhere in the world, and more importantly spoken throughout Canada...and because I spoke it today, in my own province, in my hometown, where I have always been...It was assumed I was a tourist...or couldn't possibly be a local. Usually I prefer reality to I'm not so sure.

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