Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A whopper of an existential crisis.

So I'm visiting my folks on the long weekend, and the topic of conversation turns to the windmills that are going up all over the place in southwestern Ontario.

Me: "I dunno, I kinda like them."

Mom: "Oh no, they're terrible. We don't want 'em."

Me: "Well, nobody really wants them in their back yard, but they've gotta go somewhere."

Mom: "But they wreck the soil. They drive the worms out when they pour the concrete pad, and that makes the farmland less productive."

Me: "It's a small price to pay for totally green electricity. Rather that than have coal spitting out carbon dioxide all over the place."

Mom: "Well, you don't know what it's like, you don't live here anymore."

And it's true, I don't, and I haven't lived in rural southwestern Ontario since 1996. But that's been stuck in my head the past few days, and I can't get it out.

Here's the crisis:

Am I a small-town person or a big-city person?

Naturally, my instinct in states of indecision or confusion is to draw a diagram. So I whipped up a spreadsheet and figured out how long I've been living in each place.

That's the basic idea. ("London," for the record, is the real one: London, Ontario. And I technically lived at RR#1 Deep River, but that's close enough.) There were various places in Waterloo and Kingston and Toronto that I've lived in, and technically I lived in pre-amalgamation North York for four months, but if it's the 416, let's classify it as Toronto.

This is a lot of colours, so we can simplify a bit. I'll consider Inwood and Deep River to be small towns; Waterloo, Kingston and London are small cities; Toronto and Calgary are big cities.

Small town still wins, but we're getting closer to 50-50. Finally, if we consider something to either be "a small town" or "not a small town," I think you know how this is going to go.

And there you have it. But, in my defence, my small-town years were my formative ones, so they probably count more than their 49% suggests. So, if I had to classify myself these days, let's go with...

Small-town roots but with a big-city veneer on top.

Yeah, I think that works alright.

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