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I hear you knocking but you can't come in.

You Americans are a funny bunch...you really are. And I totally dig some of you, but there are other days when I just can't stop shaking my head.

My current job is administering a survey for the company I work for. It's kinda cool sometimes, hearing about how nice our employees have been, how we've helped a customer, etc, etc. But then there are a different type of "message" that I hear a lot lately, which on one hand amuses the hell out of me, and on the other, irritates me to no end.

"I am american and I do not want to have to CHOOSE english. It should be automatic, with spanish as the option."

That's the tame version.

Now, to clarify, I live in Canada. Land of the free, true north, toque and maple syrup wearing peaceniks. We have this thing called "Two Official Languages".

That's right. Two groups of people who speak two languages, coexist relatively peacefully. Hell, there's a whole province full of them, 2 if you count half of New Brunswick...actually, that's not real french, as discussed previously.

But as a country, we get along quite fine with two languages. I'll admit, it can be irritating at times, but all and all, it makes for a richer culture and country. Many things that I love are french, many places are french, many people I like, are french. They aren't that different from me, other than the fact that they didn't win a few hundred years ago, and they keep threatening to separate. (To which most of Canada generally responds, "Jesus, just DO it already and shut up about it.")

So when I hear, repeatedly over the course of a week older southern sounding men, (which it inevitably always seems to be) whining about having to push "1" for English, I get annoyed. Why is he so special? Why does he have some god given right to have his language handed to him on a silver platter? Why does he not realize that the face of his country is changing, and he cannot control it.

A few years back, if people would have stood up against NAFTA as I believed they should have, maybe he would have stood a chance. But you have a group of people staring at what looks like paradise, a paradise created moreso because you stole their jobs with 'free trade". Said people want a piece of the action, they want what anyone wants. A future for their children. And really, if Canada suddenly started paying you 3 times what you make for the same job, you wouldn't haul ass across the border? Especially if all your jobs started to disappear up here? Please....

These men, and seemingly a few others seem to labour under this delusion that the world does not change, that society should remain stagnant and never change. That he can cherry pick from the culture-I'm sure he has no issue with running to a mexican resturant and having his favorite lunch. Just don't try to get him to order in Spanish. Both our countries have been created and built by outsiders. We aren't a land of native english speakers, we've become this. (or in our case, native bilingualism). We live in countries that grow by change, that shift and alter on a daily basis, dependant on the new people coming to our borders, wanting a piece. Without them, our countries would begin to disappear-we don't have enough babies.

And I don't have a real answer to the border issue. Both sides are shitty, and this problem began years ago, not just yesterday. People on both sides of the fence are hurting on this. You live in the states, in a border state, you don't want your resources tapped, you don't want the also inevitable wave of crime and poverty to come with the good people. You want to retain "the good life".

But those people are there, have been there for awhile. They pick your fruit, clean your schools, waash your cars, and even sometimes maybe answer your phones if you press 2 for spanish. If you really didn't want this to happen, you would have said NO to dirt cheap labour and goods. You would force your corporations to pay a living wage to the people legally on your soil. YOU would pay more for the goods and services you take for granted.

But that wouldn't be very much fun would it? Then where would you get the money to put gas in your H2?

And you wouldn't want to come to Canada either. We ALWAYS have to press "1" for English.

We press uno for Spanish. Unless we hear the message in both languages which happens from time to time.

The loathsome toad (our fearless leader) ran on immigration reform in 2000 and again in 2004. He did nothing. Now, as his ratings are in the toilet, he's dragging it out again just in time for 11-06 (mid-terms elections).

He's trying to appease his fundamentalist, racist, following with one face while courting the large Hispanic voting bloc with the other.

Hence the English as our official language one the one hand and an amnesty program on the other. I hope he pisses them both off and we can get down to the serious business of trying to fix what's broken and leaving along that which isn't.

I have ideas but much too complex for a comment box.

HA HA HA HA.....when I worked for an answering service in Winnipeg, I'd get doozies from our southern neighbors. They were calling a fly in fishing lodge in Manitoba.

Just a few ticklers:

DO I need to bring my own utensils?
Does your husband have to hunt for your food?
Can I take the subway from Toronto?
Is a parka going to be warm enough (keep in mind, this was june/july)
Do I need a license to drive a dog sled...

I could go on.

I once had a person from Seattle ask: I bet you have really cold winters up here? (we're a 2 hour drive from Seattle)

Anyway... nicely put Thor.

That's just stunning. I'm in Alberta, and we kind of giggle when we come across Federal things in both official languages because really, you're almost as likely to encounter Swahili (sp?) over here as french, but hey, it's Canada, eh? French comes with the health care! The temerity of someone being indignant about encountering another country's bilingualism - wow.

It's getting very confusing down here. I dropped a letter off at the p.o. today and an elderly Hispanic man pushing a walker was making his way in - slowly.

I held the door for him. He said "thank you, senora". I replied "de nada".

He and I just turned my country bi-lingual.

Funny. I go through the same thing all the time. Not only just with U.S. clients, but with friends I've kept up with growing up in the US. I am now a Canadian citizen. But my old friends still think we live in igloos, speak a different language and we are up to our noses in snow.

Go figure.

I don't know why Americans seem to think we're like bloody Norway or something....it was worse when I lived in Southern Ontario, and someone from say, North Dakota would call, and ask how cold it was. Generally speaking, it was colder there.....Drives me insane. I might not know everything there is to know about the US, but I'm pretty damn sure you don't dress up in the flag everynight and go shooting pigeons....although.....

can I take the subway to toronto.......fuctards...

and I'm STILL trying to get over the "loathsome toad"...that has cracked me up all weekend. I don't have the answer, but I KNOW being a bunch of pricks about it is NOT the answer, never was, and never will be.

Hey! Very Nice! Check out this website I found where you can make extra cash.
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well said!
i think it just comes with anachronism...don't ya think?

HA!!!!! You are doing the surveys now! For Leon? I heard a good joke/sloution for the Texas border issue.

Process to resolve 3 issues...
1) Dig a mote along the Mexico border.

2) USe the dirt to raise New Orleans!

3)Relocate the over population of aligators from Florida to the mote.

TaDA....3 Problems fixed!

Can I put the frenchmen there as well? :P

Actually, we have a huge survey thing now that's all customer dat, and it's my baby. It's pretty damn cool actually...

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