Tuesday, 20 November 2007


I hear honking every so often around Calgary, and I look up.
Canadian geese are flying in huge, dark V-formations. The first few times I heard them, they were going south. Well, that makes sense. It's getting into winter. But then I saw a gaggle of geese honking west, towards the snow-capped peaks of Banff. Then a flock heading west, then one group heading NORTH. Maybe some geese were mucking around in the back and the lead goose decided to turn the V around. Perhaps they've been watching too much Al Gore and have become brazen concerning Arctic temperatures. Who knows. But that whole thing about geese flying south for the winter is shot to hell.
The last direction I would look if I heard honking is the road, for Canadians do not honk. At all. For any reason. The typical Canadian, upon being cut off in traffic by a crass foreigner, might consider nervously nibbling his lower lip and glancing away. For this reason I have become the worst pedestrian in the world. I cross when and where I feel the urge, knowing that motorists will treat me as gingerly as they would a row of baby ducklings. This is bizarre when you consider that most cars in this part Calgary are looming, ancient rusty American pickups driven by moose-jawed mouth-breathers. Their 1983 Lincoln Continental would go through me like Boss Hogg through a bowl o' grits, but they're more chicken than a turkey round'bout Thanksgiving.

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