Sunday, February 15, 2009

Montreal: North American Scum


So I went to Montreal on Sunday, with Hye-Sung, Marie, and Fabian (French interns).  Our purpose in going to Montreal was to visit the Museum of Fine Arts and to spend some time walking around the city.  

It's already awkward enough for me, speaking the same level of French as a twelve-month old, that they mostly converse in French.  But it was even more awkward when I almost punched Fabian in the face.  He totally has one coming: I'm not Canadian, but I'm sick of him hating on my entire continent.

Fortunately I  know enough French to be dangerous - they never know when or how much I'm comprehending, so they have to be careful what they say.

Old Montreal.  Quaint, but potentially quite charming in the summertime.

Fabian found many things on which to comment condescendingly: the window displays at the souvenir shop (did I think these window displays looked good, of course I did because I have bad taste because I'm North American, and because they didn't look good), the collection/building of the Museum of Fine Art (the collection is really small, nothing compared to the museums of Paris, like the Louvre), the French street names (Notre Dame is in Paris, not Canada - inferior Canadians, pretending to be French).

Old Montreal was not old enough.
I responded: This is the New World.  Teepees are not permanent structures.  

Old Montreal was just for tourists.
I responded: We walked along two streets in Old Montreal.  It is a whole neighborhood.

He also laughed every time I said the names of the French streets.  Next time he does that I'm gong to tell him to fuck off.  At least I properly pronounce 'Neil Young'.  I'd be sure to know how to properly pronounce my favorite musician's name.  It took me fifteen minutes to figure out that he what he was saying - it sounded like something crazy, like 'peelin'.

The non-North Americans wanted to get poutine at someplace in Old Montreal.  I was like, "Here!  Montreal Poutine!  Clearly they sell poutine!"

It was very much like the Tastee-Freeze or a similar diner-type place.  I sat down, took the paper menu in my hand, and said, "Awesome!  This is going to be great!"  The place was full of happy college-age people, eating poutine.  It was mostly a take-out place, and I had read/heard that take-out places had the best poutine.  Jackpot!

The others did not even want to touch their menus or the tables!  They kept saying things like, "How clean do you think the kitchen is?" - I was really embarrassed to be sitting with them, attempting to explain about diners and that it doesn't matter how nice the restaurant it, you don't want to see what's going on in the kitchen.

Then Fabian turned to me and said in the most pedagogical manner (I think we all know that this technique has never gone over well with me), as though talking to a three-year old who lives in a house made of filth, eating cockroaches, and thinking dollar-store fashion is haute couture, "Do you actually think this is a nice place?"  Simultaneously insulting Canada, North America, Americans, myself, and my taste in things!  Which is, in fact, impeccable!!!

And that's when I turned to him and said, "Fabian, don't be an ass."  I really wanted to say some other things too, but I was totally embarrassed that they were behaving like that!

"I think we are just used to more culture."

And then I really wanted to tell him that he was actually quite unattractive and that I thought Paris needed a good power washing - so much ingrained grime.

Anyway, there was much smaller and less salty poutine.  I could actually eat it all this time!  And it was good.  And if people visit me and we go to Montreal, I might take you there.  Because it was a fun experience and because I'm North American Scum That Doesn't Know Any Better.


Ynn said...

My dearest girl, I am so proud of you! Even though there were many moments of extreme provocation, you remaind the true lady that we know you are. Fabian is an ass, and he needs to behave in a more gentlemanlike fashion. Rememer that woud can be extremely useful-how does it translate to Franch or is it truly universal? I must tell you though that Tank was appalled-he didn't think his Jessie-Bean knew words like that. I told him I had instructed you in the proper use of them and you were still a great lady!

Mary Ann said...

In retrospect, you should have let Fabian skate on his own two feet last weekend. How ungrateful! ...and what kind of a name is Fabian!

Michael Sung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Sung said...

It sounds like Fabian is a rather poor ambassador of his people.

Maybe next time he mentions how much more cultured Europe is... agree with him - now that he is on this side of the Atlantic; because he certainly doesn't seem like a very personally cultured person.

I mean... being a foreigner - I can definitely think of things I find strange in this country... but oftentimes things are just different ya know? Who hates on a diner anyhow - they have small restaurants, bars, essentially home kitchens on the other side of the Atlantic too...