Monday, April 16, 2007

Passive Aggression, thy name is Ottawa

Well, here’s the honest to goodness introduction from my point of view. Jan got his up already and you’ll probably soon find out, he’s the brains of the operation here and I’m sort of the internet version of a little kid at a wedding – off in all directions, over stimulated and pretty unfocussed. It could also be that I just didn’t have my coffee yet and there’s another ten centimeters of snow on the ground (grrrr).

The whole idea for this place started as all good ideas do, in a pub over one too many pints of Wellington County Ale. Actually, good idea isn’t always right because I think it was over many pints of beer that I thought trying to become a 3D animator was a good idea. I got the certificate but never managed to get a job doing that although I still think it would be a great job, I just ran out of money while improving my skills and portfolio and ended up working for the Green Party of Canada about three years ago. There I met a good friend who first introduced me to the term Ottawa Beige. No, it’s not for the Italian Sports sandals although that is a deftly brilliant description of the perfect footwear for this city. Nope I was just, once again, talking about how frustrated I was by the passive aggressive attitude that seems to permeate this city. He mentioned how during one of the rumblings about the Ottawa Lynx moving he suggested we just get a new team and call them the Ottawa Beige. And like London Fog, Ottawa Beige struck me as the perfect description of my perception of this city.

Now, there are a lot of parts I love – most of it embodied in the form of the Ottawa Senators, although they pushed it on Saturday, and The Manx Pub – but from the day I arrived I felt like there was just something off. I’m still not one hundred percent certain what it is but I’ve come to think of the underlying uneasiness I have is that there is just entirely too much passive aggressive behavior here. The morning commute is an absolute nightmare – thankfully I don’t drive, because I’ve never seen a bigger collection of passive aggressive arseholes in my entire life as on the roads of Ottawa. I’m sorry but nobody in Ottawa needs to ever run a red light. Nobody here is THAT important. Sure there’s ambulances, fire trucks and the various police forces but they have sirens and flashing lights. The rest of you need to chill the fuck out and accept that being five minutes late will not result in the world crumbling around you.

I kind of think it stems from being caught between Toronto and Montreal. If you’ve ever been to a Senators' game when either original-6 team is visiting you’d understand. Playoff games against those teams suck because they essentially get 7 home games – an unfortunate effect of having a newer team with established fans for other teams, but understandable as well. Regardless, I was at Saturday’s game and too many of the Ottawa "cheers" were boos directed at either Fleury or Crosby. Me and my wife didn’t boo Crosby because it just doesn’t seem classy or relevant – and I’m the guy who suggested Ottawa fans adopt the song “Tie Domi’s got a fucking monkey’s head” sung to the tune of Yellow Submarine*. But now he's retired and I'm thinking it can be adapted to Paul Maurice.

I guess that’s what it all boils down to, with the general state of passive aggression and middle-class angst that permeates Ottawa from the self-righteous bicyclists dodging traffic all winter, to the addicts jogging on the frozen canal, to the passive aggressive motorists and hockey fans that spend entire too much time hating the Maple Leafs (although I can see why and do encourage that) I needed an outlet to explore things I love here and anywhere else as well as seeing if someday I can find that something rotten in the state of Ottawa.

*Yes, it was over pints of beer and I am a member of the Toon Army**
** Newcastle United fans – they come from “the toon” or go downtoon.

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