Good riddance to bad rubbish

By Ruth Davenport

There’s a lot of apprehension in the Gauntlet every April because all the old-timers in the office suddenly realize they’re leaving and engage in all sorts of maudlin, sappy good-bye projects. Editors and readers alike are swamped with tides and puddles of good wishes, nostalgia and reminiscences as the veterans tearfully recollect all the good times and admit they wouldn’t change a thing if they had to do it all over again.

You need never fear such things from me.

The rumours are true: in three months I too will kick up my heels and blow Cowtown for good and like hell I wouldn’t change anything if I had to do it all over again.

There are things, people and places I will miss about Alberta, but the fact that I’ll miss them means that they don’t need to be improved on so I won’t mention them here. For now I’ll just stick to the things that drove me crazier than foot and mouth.

Conservatives. Agh, conservatives.Yes, I know, Alberta is the last bastion of unbridled Canadian capitalism, everyone is entitled to their beliefs and when in Rome I should bloody well do as the gun-totin’, tobacco-chewin’, tractor-drivin’, steer-wrasslin’ Romans do. All that notwithstanding, right-wingers are so loud. I’m sure there’s a few would-be wetsuits grumbling about sweeping generalizations, but seriously. In all my many disagreements I’ve found that leftists will listen with that little scowl of concentration, then respond in their turn, politely and constructively. Reform, Alliance and other right-ists alike talk louder, faster and more aggressively as the disagreement progresses, as though deafness and bewilderment are somehow conducive to conservatism.

Actually, that makes sense.

Nonetheless, I’ve spent five years having pro-life, homophobic, uptight sentiment shouted in my face and given the prevailing political climate in the Maritimes, I’m looking forward to 12 months of peace and quiet and civil discussion.

I’d like to say I won’t miss the western alienation thing, but it’s actually provided me with more than a few moments of comic relief over the years, so I guess I can’t. Watching the richest people in the country tie themselves in knots and claim they’re being marginalized, persecuted and exploited is just plain bizarre and maybe not so much funny as… well… simply put, it’s the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.

So Ontario controls the vote because their population is higher? Do the math, ass-cracks. If there were more people in Alberta than Ontario, things would be different. Maybe if y’all stopped inventing things like cowtipping and made the climate here a bit less self-pitying, more people would want to live here and… see where I’m going with this? Fuckwits.

I will not, without question, miss the lousy drivers. Nah. I’ve driven all across North America and even the crazies in Mexico who really have no regard for life aren’t this bad. When people are allowed to drive at
the age of 14, it affects them all the rest of
their days-particularly in a city with inadequate public transit and a sprawl problem from hell. The salt damage in Halifax may rot my car from under me, but if it means no more schizophrenics behind the wheel, I’ll take it.

So many things I would change, so many things I won’t miss. Living in Alberta gave me healthy cynicism but I seem to be escaping Klein’s gulag with my wits and ideals essentially intact. I’m going to a place where "federal" is not a bad word, where there is no Rob Anders, where the bumper stickers have little lobster claws instead of bull horns, where I can believe the weatherman as he gives the forecast and where yawning doesn’t make one’s throat bleed.

Don’t get me wrong: I could write another whole column on all the things I’ll miss about Alberta but sentimentality just ain’t my bag, baby. On top of that, it’s all the things I won’t miss that provided texture for the last five years. Take away all the things I’ve mentioned and all you’ve got is five years with great people and amazing scenery. Nice, but dull. The things I won’t miss when I leave are all the things I would miss if I stayed. So much as you may hate me dissing them, get over it. It’s what makes Albertans who they are. And if you hate that, then change it.

Oh, and trucks. I won’t miss all the trucks.

Ruth Davenport can be reached at