So far, my Canadian readers are polling 3 – to – 1 in favor of me not being such a connarde after all. Thank you, Commentors Michelle, Risa, and Monique, who wrote in about last week’s post about my landing on the wrong side of the Great Quebec Accent Issue.
For the record, it wasn’t me who compared the Quebec accent to the quacking of a duck (on page 96 of Le Road Trip). I was merely reporting what a cranky Malouin shopkeeper had said about the thousands of French Canadian tourists who flock to his beautiful walled city of Saint Malo on the Brittany coast. Oh sure, yes, I laughed at the whole “quacking like a duck” thing, but I also put myself on the record as finding the Quebec accent enjoyable (right there on page 96) which does not preclude it from being somewhat like the quacking of a duck — a freaking gorgeous Mandarin duck:
And, there is a long historical precedent of crankiness against foreigners in Saint Malo as I report on page 93 (for those reading along) the observation of a British traveller of 1834 about the people of Saint Malo:
The Malouin spirit of independence makes the people the most disagreeable shopkeepers in Europe.
So far, this crack has not got me in hot water with my Malouin readers, but they are so devious (according to Leitch Ritchie, above) that I’m sleeping with one eye open just in case they are plotting a midnight raid against me. Also, with a name like Leitch Ritchie, he’s probably Scottish, as are the people on my mother’s side of the family, so if you have something amusing to say about Scottish people let rip. But you’ll have to come up with something better than my own seven word description of my people as foul-mouthed, pessimistic, alcoholic, and out of shape.
O, Canada, what would we Americans do without you to give us cover as we travel through this American-hating world? One last Canada story:
I wrote (on page 90 of Le Road Trip) that my husband and I did not travel through France pretending to be Canadians, as was the fashion of Americans abroad in the fall of 2005…remember? 2005 was the thick of that kerfuffle in Iraq that Bush and Company started when they lied to the United Nations about those Weapons of Mass Destruction and all? Brought about a decade of death and disaster to innocent Iraqis and brave men and women in uniform? And Americans could barely show their faces in public without claiming to be Canadian (or crying for permission to emigrate to The Great North)?
My husband and I could not besmirch the glory that is Canada with a lie, so we fessed up about being American…Gore/Kerry-voting Americans, I might add, nothing personal against Republicans. And you’re welcome, Canada.
This, however, is the original sketch I made of my husband, Top Cat, thumbing us a lift to Mont St-Michel in Brittany:
As you can see, there was a problem with that weird right hand there:
Luckily, I am left handed. Which means that I can fix this simply by re-drawing my own right hand (a really tiny drawing of my right hand) and then putting it on a copier to ensmallen (that’s the technical term) it even more:
And then I re-drew the teeny tiny right hand along with the whole arm, and I glued it on top of the weird right hand and arm on Top Cat. Voila:
Problem is, now he has two thumbs. I have to get rid of the old thumb from the old weird old right hand. Which I do with a few dabs of paint and Voila:
If I hadn’t told you, you’d never know.
Speaking of Canadians who don’t hate me, take a look at Canadian (Newfoundler) Bobbi French’s Friday blog at www.findingmeinfrance.com. Yeah, that’s me, standing in Times Square traffic for the sake of Canadian literature. Again: You’re welcome, Canada.
And I’m sure there are more than a few Canadians who are reading Carol Gillott’s wonderful blog Paris Breakfasts today (it’s about me!)
So, Quebec. Are we good now?