Thursday, June 7, 2012

Checking Myself Before Wrecking Myself


Hi all! I’m Catherine. I’m an ex-engineer, current student of English, and lover of games, music, and stories. If my posts, which I’ll tag as “CAT,” contain bad puns, you are permitted to give me a stern talking-to. You can also expect gratuitous pop culture references, pictures of cute baby animals, and a reliance on lists of three items.

I suppose I’m what you’d call a “city girl,” so my relationship with rural Saskatchewan is almost entirely abstract. I’ve lived my entire life in cities, with only brief forays into smaller towns for work and the occasional road trip. When I think of rural Saskatchewan, I mostly think about how the people living there would think I’m a completely incompetent fool. You know, I try to avoid hitting gophers with vehicles, have no clue how to milk a cow - much less deliver its babies, and am generally kind of useless. As much as I like to think of myself as the Arya type – cool, tough, and full of sass – when it comes to a Saskatchewan-related Game of Thrones, I’m probably more of a Sansa.

I’ve grown to realize that my conception of rural SK is quite stereotyped, though. Just as I picture the ways in which I’m “inadequate” by an imagined rural standard, I also apply a set of values to the whole concept of the place. Scott’s post on calling people out on their behaviour made me think about how I stereotype rural places in this province, and often I attribute prejudice to the rural areas more so than the urban. This isn’t fair, and ultimately leaves the urban areas less accountable for the ways in which they’re just as set in their prejudices as the rural. I picture a rural SK that thinks I’m awful, meaning that I’m not being fair, too. I’ve met plenty of people from the lesser-populated areas of Saskatchewan who I have more in common with than the people from my high school.

Where does that leave me? Well, I’m certainly no practical genius. Come zombie apocalypse, I’m toast. Or, uh, the zombie equivalent of toast. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if I were in a horror movie, I would die first. But my understanding of rural Saskatchewan has evolved over time. 

4 comments:

  1. I almost hit six gophers on the bike ride to work today. I am not sure whether I can keep biking after hitting a gopher or whether I'd be taken out.

    I have felt the same way that you do that rural SKanites might consider me an incompetent fool because I don't know how to [insert literally anything about cars]. I was in Yorkton last week and was struck at how slow-paced everyone in the town was. I can only imagine how disorienting coming into "the big city" must be to people who are used to it taking 45 minutes to return something in Canadian Tire (seriously... SERIOUSLY).

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    1. I think there was a dead snake on the road on my way to work today. Or just litter, but I'm going to assume snake. Anyway I swerved around it.

      And the slower pace is something I notice even in PA. People there almost invariably drive under the speed limit. (Something I kind of miss, tbh, since it drives me crazy when people speed...)

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  2. So the post I was going to write is some combination of yours and Scott's. Fortunately I didn't have a draft written yet when I read this this morning, so I was able to switch gears.

    Anyway I'm only a first generation city kid, so while I have almost none of the zombie apocalypse survival skills of a farm kid, I like to hope that I'd fare slightly better than, say, your average New Yorker. Also I read Two Against the North in middle school and Robinson Crusoe before that, so I assume that I've internalized all the survival skills I'll ever need from those two books.

    Re: New York, though, I find it kind of funny how I, at least, being from urban SK, feel like a mega-hick when I go to big cities, yet I don't have any real hick cred to speak of.

    Also, I have tremendous (!) respect for farmers and those crazy survivalist types living in the north, but there was a co-op student from a farm in south SK that I shared a cubicle with for four months of my internship and he was a condescending asshole to me about his farming background.

    Thus ends my comment of random anecdotes.

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  3. Pace totally confounds me. I imagine I'd be overwhelmed by New York, but frustrated by Yorkton. Then again, in the biggest cities I've been in, I think I was still one of the faster walkers.

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