It’s more of a hypothesis, really. Anyway, the theory was developed after several drinks at a divey bar in Mile End sometime around 2am last night by three Americans and a guy from all over. It goes like this:
Canadians, in general, will ask incredibly personal questions in a matter-of-fact way that will cause one to spill one’s deepest, most personal stories. For Americans, this will seem like self-disclosure, confession, or expression of a deep confidence. For the Canadian in question, this will seem like idle conversation. Possible explanations:
1) Americans hold onto stuff emotionally in a way Canadians do not.
2) Americans have a stronger sense of entitlement to happiness, and so are less matter-of-fact about unhappy events in their lives.
3) Americans have more ressentiment.
4) Canadians generally don’t have the same Protestant ethic regarding material, interpersonal or professional success.
5) Canadians are more rooted and therefore more emotionally stable.
6) Our sample is screwed up somehow.
That’s incredibly general for someone who just showed up two months ago, but it was a collaborative work (the exact nature of my contribution is unclear, other than writing it down and prompting the discussion) and it’s interesting enough to go with for awhile.
In other news, I appear to have a social life. Three nights in a row, I actually stopped working after dinner (or right before) and went out for edification, rock, and socializing in various combinations.
I was going to do a whole separate entry about the …and you will know us by the trail of dead show, and the title was going to be:
In the Name of All That Has Rocked or Ever Will Rock
but the show did have a disappointing side. They didn’t play much from Carrie’s two favorite albums, Source Tags & Codes, and Secrets of Elena’s Tomb. Nevertheless, the live show ranged from fierce to savage, and they do the two-drummers thing very well (avoiding the too-many-drummers effect I like to call “shoes in the laundromat”). We both liked the guy that sang more than the guy that screamed a lot, but they were all awesome performers and the show was well worth the price of admission. Highly recommended if they come to your town, and you seriously enjoy rocking. The show was bookended by awesome Jamaican food (cheap! The Corridor) and a surprisingly good raspberry beer at a microbrewish bar, and good company.
The other major event of the weekend was the [CTRL] conference, which was entirely organized and put on by Communication grad students at McGill, Concordia, and probably U of Montreal and UQAM as well. Rather than doing a grad conference, they just did a full-on conference and got people to come in from all over. I didn’t attend much (too much other stuff to do) but I enjoyed moderating my panel, and hanging out with people at the after-party. This was also bookended, with bars on both ends. Luba Lounge was cool with its posh chairs and froofy martinis, but there was something about the tough-guy rap playing that was disjunctive with the otherwise chilled out atmosphere. It’s like I needed some gold jewelry and then could spout stupid-sounding lines (at least when they come out of my mouth) like “we’re kickin’ it gangsta style.”
I’m hopelessly behind in my work, but since that would have also been the case had I stayed in, I’ll take the mental health that comes with a social life.
At some point in graduate school, I realized that I could be happy living almost anywhere as long as I had good friends and a good work situation. What I have discovered since moving here — and three nights out this weekend really brought it home — is that while that statement is true, there is something very special about living in a world class city for the places that you can go and the things you can do, all other things being equal.
(1) title edited from “a theory of Canadian interpersonal communication” to more accurately reflect what I’m talking about.