Odd and Ends from Canada

Don’t ask me to be chronological here. All right, you can ask, but you’re just asking for disappointment.

The sign that read, “Trucks please do not use engine retarding brakes in urban areas.” In this case the urban area was at most ten buildings.

The time I was a capital-F Foreigner. After a little while at Earl’s in Edmonton (“We’re pricey, but we’re trendy!”), I decided that perhaps a quiet brewski or six without the silliness of a manufactured drinking environment was in order. Had there been a real bar within walking distance, that would have been a better choice, but you take what you can get. It was raining and windy and downright nasty, but there was a convenience store nearby so no problem. I dashed through the nasty weather in shorts to the Husky store to grab myself a sixer. There was nothing in the cooler, but I thought I’d better ask. “Do you have beer here?” She looked at me like I’d grown another head. “Beer? No, eh. Beer?” She didn’t have any idea where someone could come up with the notion that one would go to a convenience store to buy beer. She turned to the other guy working and said, “Is the liquor store over there going to be open today?” It was Sunday. In the end, there was no six-pack for Jerry, I just got a funny look and perhaps I provided a story for some Canadians.

A word I made up on the road from Calgary to Edmonton: Constructivitis

In Naksup I stopped by a little record store with a fairly eclectic assortment of used CD’s. What was most impressive was the amount of vinyl for sale. I was hoping to find some good Irish music and one of the first CD’s I picked up was exactly what I was looking for. It was a collection by various artists, but most of the tracks are really good, freighted with sweet sadness. That’s what got me thinking about that Solitude episode back there. (I’m going to go back and redo that one soon; I’m not to happy with how it turned out.) Listening to Irish music alone is much like drinking alone.

10 thoughts on “Odd and Ends from Canada

  1. Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Circa Summer 1990

    We were on our way into the rocky mountains to do some fly fishing, and had decided to pick up some 3.2 beer to help the adventure along. He popped into a convenience store, and found a nice 12 pack of the 3.2 sauce, carried it up to the counter, plopped it down.


    No problem, my friend pulled out his New Mexico license and gave it to the clerk.

    ‘Says here you’re 20.’

    ‘Yup, that’s right, turned 20 a couple of weeks ago,’ replied my pal.

    ‘But you have to be 21 to buy beer.’

    ‘No, no, this is 3.2 beer. And this is Colorado.’

    The clerk gave us a very long and blank stare. About this time I heard the clerk at the fishing counter start to laugh.

    ‘You can buy 3.2 beer when you’re 18, right?’

    The laughing clerk shouted out, ‘Oh, boy, they changed that law 8 years ago!’

    So we left the beer on the counter, and headed out to find a place to fish, sans bierre. I imagine we became a storey for those two blokes as well.

  2. Yergh. That stuff’s nasty. I prefer Unicum Zwack – it’s the bomb! [insert fond memories of a hungarian band covering Eagles songs here].

  3. In lots of towns in the U.S. they are fond of signs that say “Truckers: Don’t use Jake Brake.” Did you ever get an explanation for the juggling unicyclist sign?

    One of my favorite signs is the one on interstates entering North Carolina: “Burn headlights when using wipers”

  4. The current signs in Colorado warn truckers that they must have mufflers on their engine brakes (aka jake brakes), not that they can’t use them.

    (For those not in the know, jake brakes are those things that make a truck make loud BRAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHhhhhh noises when they slow down. They can be especially obnoxious when they are applied on the steep downhill north of Santa Fe during quiet passages in the opera. Truckers have also been known to use them to disconcert motorists who seem to be particularly obstructive.)

  5. As for what beer is legal where, that’s complicated too, especially when you’re on a lake that extends into two states, with two different states’ state park regulations. At Navajo Reservoir, when you’re in Colorado, you’re not allowed anything stronger than 3.2 beer. But in New Mexico, anything’s allowed, so long as it’s not in a glass container. The cove in which the Sailstice party took place was right on the state line — probably some of the boats were in Colorado and some were in New Mexico. And given that the boats were moored to a line so that their position shifted with the wind, how could we tell whether we were in the “no glass containers” zone or the “wimpy beer only” zone?

  6. Now it is time for my rant about the legal drinking age. Different states used to have different drinking ages or different rules (ex Colorado and the 3.2 beer rule). This was because our Constitution/Federal system made that a state responsibility. But some of the legislators in Congress felt that they knew better than our state legislators how the states should regulate liquor sales. Since the Constitution prevented them from directly making the rules, they charged a large gasoline tax that would be returned to the states if the states would pass the laws that the congress wanted but was consitituionaly forbidden to pass. Extortion by Congress made the states pass “national” drinking ages, seatbelt laws, DWI laws, etc.

  7. There is no doubt that the power to tax leads to the power to do anything else. The boys who wrote the constitution did their best to avoid that, but in the end money and power are like bees and honey.

Leave a Reply to Carol Anne Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *