Friday, December 23, 2011


In a crowded Parisian café, a tourist is sitting alone, enjoying a crème caramel. Another tourist approaches (let's forget for a moment that neither of them speak Englisch very well. To write what they actually said would create reading problems).

Can I sit down here? No problem...Thank you, very kind of you. Are you on vacation? Yes, I arrived yesterday...What country are you from? Norway. I don't know exactly where that is. I'm from Quebec.

Québec? I don't know Québec...

Québec... near the Atlantic, next to Ontario, the Great Lakes...

No, I don't know these places.

Never mind then, I'm from Canada...

Ah Canada, Canada I know. So why did you tell me you come from Québec?

Because, my first country is Québec! Oh, you were born in Québec and emigrated to Canada? No, no, I was born in Québec and I stayed in Québec...Oh, then your father is from Canada? No, no, my father, my mother, my wife, my dog, everybody, they come from Québec....So why did you say Canada? For Christ sake, because you said you don't know where Québec is. OK, but if you said you don't know Norway, I did not say that my country is Japan...

Tabarnaque Canada isn't Japan. Canada, it's my country. Oh, your country is not Québec anymore?...My country is Québec. But my country, it can be Canada too, if the person I speak to does not know where Québec is. Tabernaque

I do not understand...Look, it's simple: I come from the Province of Québec, in the country of Canada.
Ok! But I did not ask you what province you're from, I asked you what country. I come from Lofoten in Norway, but I answered Norway when you asked me what country I come from...I know, I'm not stupid, Câlisse. But me, when they ask me what country I come from, I answer Québec. Even if it's the name of my province. For me, it's my country.

Oh, now I understand. You are a separatist, you want your Quebec province to be your country...
Are you crazy? I don't want anything to do with that crap.
Now I don't understand anything anymore.

I tell you before, it's simple. You ask me what country I come from, I answer Québec because Québec is my country, but I don't really want it to be my country, it would be too much trouble. I just want to say it. So, why don't you just let me say it?

I'm all mixed up. You have a passport from what country: Québec or Canada?

So why did you not tell me Canada right away?
Because it don't feel right. For me, Canada is Anne Murray, the Calgary Stampede, the Mounted Police, SARS... it's not my home all that. Home, it's La Famille Plouffe, Séraphin Poudrier, La P'tite Vie, Félix Leclerc, La Poune, Les Canadiens de Montréal, Les Bougons... Do you understand???
Less and less...

Listen, forget all that shit. Ask me another question.
Ok, what town do you come from?
Mmm..., I don't know anymore...
You not know what town you come from? Yes, yes, I know what town I come from, but my town was merged with another town, but soon it is going to demerge from the town that was supposed to be my town...

Oh, that's very complicated! When you write your address, what do you write?

I don't know anymore. Before, I used to write Hull, but Hull changed to Gatineau, but they tell us to wait 3 years before stopping to write Hull to not mix up the mailman. But now, the Liberals they passed a law that makes it OK for Gatineau to be Hull again, but I don't know if we have to wait 3 years more to be able to write Hull, or when the 3 years are passed, if we have to write Gatineau for 3 years, and after we write Hull. Unless, of course, the PQ come back in power and we remerge with Gatineau, then we'll have to write Gatineau for 3 years.

I have to leave now; I have a headache...
It's so simple, Tabernaque! My town is Hull, my country is Québec. But if you prefer, my town is Gatineau and my country is Canada.
OK, I think I understand. It's about time. Anyway, it was fun talking to you, if you come around where I live; maybe you come and see me...
OK, but where?
Hull in Québec or Gatineau in Canada?

You're a pain in the butt. Forget the whole thing and have a good day.