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Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunglasses at night

Glen's leaving today, so I spent part of yesterday evening at a farewell get-together around the corner from my house. The host is a good friend of his and a former co-worker of mine from my CBC days.

CBC divides its operations into "regions", meaning "not Toronto". CBC North has reporters in six locations across this vast land, and I worked at the station here in town for a short time before heading further north.

Name of Town Withheld is its own little Toronto, by which I mean that everyone who's not from there hates everyone who is from there. I will soon lose my ability to say this, because I've now been living in this town about the same amount of time as I lived Up There. I was never really from anywhere, to be honest; I've moved too often to be able to say I have a real hometown.

It's odd, because I never saw people from the station here in town as "people from Name Of Town Withheld". My former co-worker thought this was funny, but it's actually a compliment, like telling someone he doesn't act like a guy from Toronto. People from Name of Town Withheld would show up in town complaining about the dust, the prices and the state of their hotel rooms. They would always be wearing weird clothes, like shiny shoes. And they would always think they were extremely important and totally understood life Up There.

Folks from the station never acted that way. I was usually happy to see them, because they would show up to fix some technical problem with our station or to wave the MotherCorp flag. They would wear jeans and seemed to have a sense of humour about life Up There. I liked that. They also usually had behind-the-scenes gossip to share, which was always fun.

My first experience with a lot of people from Name of Town Withheld came in 2003, just before I moved here. It actually made me re-think my plans to move. I was in a really pretty town a few hundred miles south of Up There for a meeting. There were a ton of delegates from Name of Town Withheld, and I did not like them at all. I wasn't sure if it was because they were awful as individuals or because there were so many of them that they formed a critical mass of awfulness. They acted like City People roughing it in a Tiny Town.

What I remember most of all was that they wore their sunglasses on their foreheads. Not up on the tops of their heads, but on their foreheads, just above their eyebrows. I thought this was really, really weird. A person who did that would be laughed out of Up There. The sunglasses kept falling down, and they would have to continually re-adjust them to keep looking cool. I felt very out of place.