Hi! I’m Marcy and I like the prairies.
I’ve lived in the Canadian prairies always. I grew up in the farmland area south of Winnipeg. I made the geographically small transition to living in Winnipeg several years ago. The other aspects of transitioning were surprisingly bigger.
There will come a day when I will have lived in the city longer than I have lived in the country. Perhaps on that day I will be very city-ish and able to throw my country cautions to the wind. Until then I will most likely continue to tilt my head, slack-jawed, and be in wonder at city ways.
For all our differences, one thing prairie country folk and prairie city folk do share is our two-faced relationship with the rest of the world. On the one hand we are an apologetic people to the rest of the world, apologetic for things that are ridiculously out of our control like the flat topography and extreme climate. On the other hand we do live here, we work here and raise families here and put down roots here, so we do love it and will thank you to keep your prairie jokes to yourself. I didn’t mean you, of course. You’re great. I meant stand-up comedians whose bit begins and ends with this one sentence: “I drove across the prairies last summer and…man!” The End. That is his entire joke. Sure he includes an I’m-sleeping facial expression, but that’s the extent of the joke, and the audience laughs. If the comedian is in a prairie city the audience will titter or even give a full-on pity laugh, but secretly it’s not that funny to us.
You know what can be funny when driving across the prairies? Being on a ten-hour drive in the dark between Manitoba and Saskatchewan and thinking your eyes played tricks on you because you almost think the headlights shone on a cow on the shoulder of the road. You blink and there definitely is another cow, right there. And another. You wake up your car mate so she can look at the cattle on the shoulder and in the ditch, and also so that you can have another eye-witness to vouch for the story later on. I’m not saying this is stand-up-comic-gold, I’m just saying when spun right my friends laugh more when I tell them that story versus when I say, “How ’bout that flat land we drove on today?” even with accompanying I’m-sleeping facial expression.
I do like the prairies. My apologetic side is getting smaller, and my proud like of the prairies is getting larger. I hope you like where you live, too.
Prairie Likey Reason #1:
In a place that presents itself as predictable and honest as the landscape, it is possible to be surprised by a misplaced herd of cattle.