Monday, October 26, 2009

Things I've Learned

I've been on this journey to the centre of Ontario for over a year now, and I've learned some stuff:

1. Polite is different from nice. How I didn't know this after living in Nashville for 12 years (where "ma'am"= "f*** off" in some circles), I'm not sure, but something about the fabled politeness of Canadians has brought this point home. Polite means acting appropriately in social situations and saying "thank you" and "pardon me." Nice is meaning it and not adding "f*** off" in your head at the end of it.

2. Public transit is for judging people. Sally and I listened to a conversation on the bus last week that was better than TV.

3. A "double double" is a coffee at Tim Horton's with 2 creams and 2 sugars. I don't care for sugared coffee, and I don't really care for the coffee at Tim's. (Please don't mention this to immigration. They might not let me back in the country next time I leave.)

4. Oprah is obnoxious no matter where you live. I mean, really.

5. Where punctuation goes in relation to quotation marks has nothing to do with the odd and obtuse differences between U.S. English, British English, and Canadian English. It is an issue of which style manual one uses.

6. A "puffio" is: a.) nothing like a panzerotti and b.) a deep-fried calzone. (This may be a Sarnia thing, though)

7. If you give a 17 year old an inch, you lose a mile. If you attempt to treat them like adults, they will fail to live up to expectations. If you treat them like the petulant children they are, they'll whine about that, too.

8. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It also leads to undone household chores that require a tall person to accomplish. (Maybe this one is just me.)

9. Half-marathons are freakin' hard, but completely worth it.

10. Canada is, like, a completely different country. I'm getting used to it, though.

11. Never wear pretty shoes to walk the roughly 3km home, no matter how nice the day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jess Ran to Canada

Wow. On Sunday, I managed my first half-marathon. I'm sure running purists would point out that at my pace, the term "run" might be an overstatement for what could best be described as a drunken-appearing lurch towards the finish line, but I traveled 13.1 miles on my own 2 feet, with nothing more than a handful of Cliff Shot blox and the knowledge that Sally had already travelled by the places I passed to keep me moving forward.

I ran the Detroit Free Press/ Flagstar bank half marathon, as did my bestest girlfriend, Sally. We both had great races, although hers was substantially faster than mine.

I did learn that those of us at the back of the pack are happy to laugh at ourselves. Somewhere between the 4th and 5th miles of the race, I stopped to use the washroom (it was on on the Canadian side of the river, totally correct term), and was waiting in the line for the ladies, making snarky little comments about how the men's line was shorter than the women's, when the husband of the woman in line behind me said that it was a single stall, no urinal, and we should go get in the men's line, so we did. In that line, some of the guys gave us a hard time, but it was faster. (And surprisingly tidy, all things considered.)

I did the work of training, and it paid off. I finished, although I was a bit crazy at the finish line: I might have accidentally proposed marriage to the volunteer who handed me a banana. But then Sally and I were reunited, had our picture taken, showered, and enjoyed some yummy pumpkin spice smoothies.