Canadians Make No Sense

Posted: September 1, 2014 in The World Needs More Canada



I am relaxing with a slurpee and a swimming pool when former Lifeforce gaffer Sarah says she’s ready to go. I have birthday money and Saskatoon is about to get battered. We walk towards the shops as Sarah steps into the road.


“You alright, Sarah?”


A cyclist wheels past.


“Yeah. Why didn’t you step out of the way for that guy?”


“Well, hang on… how did you know he was there?”


“He rang his bell!”


Huh. So that was what that quiet little chirping bird was.


“The guy’d been ringing his bell for like a minute.”


“Why didn’t he just say ‘excuse me?”


“People don’t do that here.”


“What? Make any sense whatsoever?”


Sarah smiles, and ignores me. Canadians. She probably doesn’t know that was even a question. I am telling her about a hilarious Stoughton moment when my friend Amanda asked for a birthday cake at an ice cream van – And got one! – and giggling at the no-sense-ness (or ‘nonsense’) as we arrive at a posh shop and look at shirts that probably look good on blokes. I try one on, and walk over to the counter to buy it. There is a smiley girl behind the counter.


She pipes up.


“Hey there! Are you ready to go?”


I pause.


Am I ready to go? Clearly not! I clearly haven’t bought this shirt yet! I’m obviously not going to leave! That makes no sense! But still, she said it with a smile. Which beats flowers, because that would have made me feel very uncomfortable. I respond politely, for I am English, and therefore make sense.


“Erm… well. If you like, I suppose; but I’d like to buy this shirt first.”


She blushes, and I’m confused, so give a slight sympathy blush. A girl who is embarrassed about selling shirts should definitely not work in a shirt shop. She should work in a chippy, because I’d expect her to be embarrassed about serving me chips wrapped in a shirt. I look over at Sarah, who is standing aside staring with mouth agape. The girl blushfully sells me my shirt, and we head back to the pool, where I am applauded for my comedy brilliance.


“No Canadian would have said that, Dan! That was so funny!”


I smile, and am surprised. That wasn’t funny. That was a communicative crisis! Sarah’s sister Mary arrives and hears what I said. She stands aback. And stares. With mouth agape.


I smile.


And look a little confused.


Mary explains that to ‘go’ means something different in Canada. Something only married couples and insecure people know about.


Oh no!


I jump into the pool and hide.


I realise that water is see-through. And that I can’t breathe underwater.


I resurface, and blush. With mouth agape.



It is a few weeks later, and I am in Regina manning the sound desk at a Street Invaders sports camp. The cheerleaders take the stage, and’ve asked Chelsea to play special music. She takes over, and I sit back and smile. These children have had a great time learning to cheer, and now get to show off their cheery jazz. They burst into a large routine, which states that they’re ‘the cheerleaders’ and ‘really funky’ as well as ‘really awesome’. I smile. They’re not that funky, but I suppose most of them are six.

“We’re the cheerleaders… and we’re really… spastic….”


My mouth drops open.


I splutter, even though I wasn’t drinking anything, and survey with mouth agape the smiling adults happily watching their children flippantly boast about having disabilities. Excuse me?! I look at Chelsea. Who is smiling, and who looks at me. And who smiles even more, before telling me that spastic means excited here. I close my mouth, for this is Canada, and there are mosquitos.


The show finishes, and the Street Invaders find their lunch in the usual place. We sit down, and I sit quietly, pondering the horror I’ve just witnessed, as Renae says something hilarious. That makes no sense. I can’t resist.


“Renae, did you really just ask Kaylee if she was wearing your ponytail?


“Erm. Yeah…?”


“Because you realise that that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.”




“You really think Kaylee’s going to be wearing your hair? I know girls wear each other’s clothes and wee together and all the rest of it but that’s mental.


Renae explains that in Canada a ponytail is a bobble. And asks what it’s called in England. I tell her. She giggles. And Kaylee makes sure I know she’s wearing her own hair. I smile. Canadians make no sense.


“Dan, what’s wee?”


“What, Renae?”


“What’s weeing together?”


“Erm. You know. When you go to the loo.”


“The what?”


“The toilet.”


“You mean the washroom!”


“Erm. I guess….”


“Oh…. so wee is…. pee?


“Erm. I guess.”


Renae smiles.


“I was gonna say, Dan….”


“…You just made absolutely no sense whatsoever.”




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