Saturday, September 16, 2006

I Am Not Dead!

Oh... don't let the friendly sign fool you

Well, I don’t know what to say. Here I am, in Saskatchewan. Well, I’m actually in the Flin Flon home of a friend for the weekend, and that’s in Manitoba. The irony of my finally having something worthwhile and interesting to post about over the past three-four weeks while not having access to the Internet is not lost on me.

At any rate, here I am, teaching in Sandy Bay. Look it up. The drive there will surely give you an appreciation of the expansiveness of the country. I mean, Christ, it’s fucking huge. Why the fuck does anyone live up here, man? We’d have a sweet kick-ass country if we just grabbed all 30 million people in Canada and stretched them from Windsor to… Quebec City or so. But that’s neither here nor there.

Sandy Bay is an interesting place to live. There are certainly some things they leave out of the brochure. Like… if you’re going to have booze, you’d better not fucking tell a soul unless you want some locals breaking into your house. On that topic, if you think you might want to head into town for the weekend (Flin Flon, Manitoba being “town”), then you need to get the groundskeeper to board up your door while you’re away. God… fun times! So fun, in fact, that I can reduce them to chart form:

Action

Result

Enjoying a beer on your patio/inside your home with the blinds open, or moving beer you have bought in town from your car’s trunk to your home while it is not stealthily wrapped in a blanket

Your house will be broken into, and all your worldly possessions will never be seen again (not by you, at any rate)

Driving down a road

The engine mount, the thing that keeps your car’s fucking engine inside it, will be split in two by a small rock

Walking home from a friend’s place after, say, 8 o’clock, or between the morning hours of 6 and 10

You stand the chance of being assaulted (chances of being assaulted increase if it’s welfare payout day in town), according to somewhat-justifiably paranoid Mounties

Having a few drinks with the locals

You will “most likely” be killed eventually, again according to the Mounties. In the locals’ defense, the Mounties are pretty high-strung and blow crime out of proportion to the point where they consider Toronto to be an unsafe city where drive-by shootings are a commonplace occurrence.

Dating/Fucking a local

100% chance of being killed by jealous ex-boyfriend/current boyfriend/brother/father/person you are fucking. Again, make no mistake of it: that’s one-hundred percent.

Enjoying the local environment

A bear might eat you

Wanting to leave your house unoccupied overnight

A giant plank of wood will be drilled over your door using special bolts that only the groundskeeper (good guy) can screw out

Wanting to eat meat that isn’t elk steaks, like, say… boneless chicken breast. Or cream cheese that doesn’t come in those annoying rectangles covered in tinfoil.

You will drive 2.5 hours across the most treacherous road you can think of, into another fucking province, to get these items

Wanting to talk to friends and loved ones in the privacy of your home rather than, say, the payphone in the front hall at school

You will have to wait 3 weeks for the man from SaskTel to come to SandyBay

So there you have it. In all seriousness, I have enjoyed my time so far, don’t feel too terribly unsafe (maybe just a tad), and think that the Mounties tend to exaggerate the risks associated with some recreational activities. Not to say that the area isn’t without its massive, deep-seated problems that have bored their way through and grown their roots into every level of society here, but… I guess they’re working on it or something? Basically, if you want to piss away all the excitement you had about teaching as a career after graduating Teacher’s College, gang, this is a decent place to start.

You know, come to think of it, everything not associated with teaching during my daily routine is rather fun. Daily fishing trips up the to the dam, catching and eating fresh pickerel, hiking, climbing shit, and… all that sorta business is enjoyable. At least until it gets to be 30 below. And I seem to be making friends with people on staff, though… the average age there is over 50. So… yeah. There are two gents in their early 30s I’ve been hanging around, and I think the three of us make an enjoyable lot. Note that I said they were “gents” rather than “people with vaginas”, because other than the girl my age who is dating a fucking Mountie in town, the next youngest woman is, literally, 20 years older (I’m talking about people on staff – remember what I said about fucking the locals). Not quite the fuckfest I was hoping for.

I’m told Saskatchewan has a population of one million. This amuses me. It also means that, unlike Ontario, the teacher’s union here can hold a yearly convention and most of the teachers in the province will actually be able to go (because there ain’t that many of us here, comparatively). Every year, the whole week after Thanksgiving, all the schools in the province shut down and teachers gather in some godforsaken city (this year it’s Prince Albert) to… I dunno. Look at powerpoints by the union or something? I neither care, nor know. Basically in one month I’ll have the chance to get out of here, go out drinking with the teachers without fear of being knifed, get a haircut (that’s another thing I hadn’t considered before I came here), eat a few lunches and breakfasts covered by the union and, presumably, screw someone? I dunno. Fingers crossed, gang! You could at least set a good movie at one of these conventions. Good human condition stuff, you know? Anyway, just gotta make sure I keep it together until the second week of October.

The school board will pay travel costs to get here. Driving around 3000 Km and staying in 3 hotels cost me $600. However, for reasons well beyond my understanding, they pay you a mileage rate that is well beyond what it actually costs to get here (like, more than four times greater than it needs to be). Thus, I will get a sweet $900 or so just for driving here, after deducting the $600. So I assume someone’s gotta be losing their job over this or something, because that’s fucking retarded. On their end. Works out great for me.

Well, that last paragraph is a good sign I’ve run out of worthwhile things to talk about. Hopefully now that the blog is back in shape, and I have moderately interesting things to discuss (or at least a cool photo or two), this won’t be the last of it. So in the words of the late Hal Johnson, “keep fit, and have fun.”

Mike

3 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

SOOO good to have you back on line Mike - I had no idea Hal Johnson was dead. Anyway sound so very interesting I would LOVE to come for a visit lol (seriously lol) I went to college in rural saskatchewan so I know the routine lol I can handle it lol anyway keep posting I have been checking in every day hugs

2:01 pm  
Blogger sare said...

Hey!! I thought you had died! Ahhhh, but here you are. I am just about to go whale watching and don't have time to properly read your post... but I will soon and then leave a real comment. Glad you've returned.

8:14 am  
Blogger sare said...

My goodness! Sounds pretty bleek... how long do you intend to stay out there - years?? decades?? Hahah, you gotta make some quick cash and get out. That kind of a place will not be good for you Mike. Hahahah. Well take care and keep your chin up (annnnd sleep with one eye open!)

7:50 pm  

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