I spent the afternoon in Windsor, Canada, on Sunday and looked around for several hours. It’s certainly in wonderful condition compared to Detroit – and people are quite friendly and helpful, as one would hope and expect from Canadians. It is striking how similar Canadian and U.S. English are, at least the standard varieties. And yet there are all kinds of small differences in usage. The public restrooms are referred to as “washrooms,” a word my father used to use, but which I doubt a single U.S. American under about age 65 uses today. Convenience stores are labeled “Convenience.”
A nice town – but not at all free of the sense of degeneration found in U.S. cities. It has a very extensive Arab section which reminded me of Dearborn in Michigan. According to Wikipedia the town is over 20% foreign born. There are also obviously large Chinese and Vietnamese populations. I am almost to the point of wanting to eat at a “native” place despite my fondness for Asian and other foreign foods, but I did break down and have Vietnamese food at a very lively place after being unable to find something other than not-very-appealing pizza and hamburger.
A somewhat sad phenomenon was numerous elderly people eating at places like McDonald’s and Tim Hortons on Sunday. Presumably they live alone and don’t cook for themselves. Some were in groups, seemingly enjoying themselves; others were quite alone. One old woman ordered, for herself, enough food for several people. You see this in the States, too.
Going in, I had a thoroughly pleasant conversation with a female Canadian border officer, who passed me through easily. Returning to the U.S. was much less enjoyable. The male officer never cracked a smile and asked me all sorts of gruff questions about what I was doing in Windsor for six hours. He checked my bags, trunk, and glove compartment. I try not to blame these officers for their deportment, since I know they’re forced to treat heritage Americans strictly in order to have cover to check the truly suspicious characters – and so it will continue until some force or event, as yet impossible to foretell, puts an end to the practice of (pretended) non-discrimination in security matters.
Our societies bumble on, and I often do not know what to do but pray that the punishment needed to shock us from our deluded way of living will not be as great as I fear it could be.