Saturday, March 24, 2007

Who knew buying ginger ale could be so complicated?

Bones and I live in central Calgary, in a neighbourhood in transition. Houses are being bought up to renovate or tear-down and rebuild. There are high-end million dollar executive homes, run down crack houses and everything in between. It isn’t a bad neighbourhood but it is interesting and because we live across from a 7-11 we get front row seats to the more colourful aspects of the neighbourhood.

Today I went to the 7-11 to get some ginger ale, (these days I can’t get enough ginger ale, never been a pop drinker and now I am like a strung out junkie for ginger ale, I limit myself because of the sugar), and a drunk native offered to buy it for me and once I declined he insisted, then he started to get belligerent with the staff. Once he paid I high-tailed it out of there and ran into my house and hid hoping that he didn’t see where I lived.

It kinda made me feel like shit to be so worried. This person does something generous and in return he gets a quick thank-you as I am running out the door to hide in my house.
While living in Halifax and Ottawa I didn’t really see the ‘drunk native’ stereotype that much. In fact I was more used to seeing the opposite having worked alongside many natives. Calgary is a bit different. Walk the paths along the river and the ‘drunk native’ stereotype is everywhere. Today was the first time I can say that I reacted to my fear of that stereotype as opposed to the individual. A lot of people are belligerent when they are drunk and I wouldn’t run and hide from them.

I am not friends with a lot of the people I first got to know when I moved to Calgary, there was an assumption that if we found enough common ground to be friends that we would have similar attitudes. Slowly I would begin to notice negative comments on different cultures and alternate lifestyles that I found offensive. And I am one of those people who believe that if someone makes a prejudice comment that I am just at fault if I don’t speak up. Obviously not every Albertan has these attitudes; it is just more predominant in comparison to where I have previously lived.

One of the things that scares me about raising a child in Alberta is the ‘conservative’ attitudes of most of the population. Sure they will be raised by Bones and I, will be part our friends lives who not all white or heterosexual and hopefully that will be their predominant influence. But they will go to school within a province that is not as accepting of diversity.

It is difficult to not be affected by their surrounding environment and today I proved that.


No comments: