Volume 94, Issue 82

Tuesday, February 27, 2001


Letters to the Editor

Party politics and drinking presidents

Florida - the land of the free and fat

Florida - the land of the free and fat

By Jessica Leeder
Sports Editor

I went away for slack week.I know that's not a very exciting statement, nor will it surprise many of you considering the rush that usually takes place at Western to get out of the country usually takes place around the end of February each year.

Many of you likely ventured off in search of more tropical weather than what Southwestern Ontario is yielding these days – Dominican, Hawaii, Mexico – I've heard it all, and while I am not one who can claim to have travelled to the utmost Southern of places, I can say that I chose one hoping for a feeling reminiscent of good old Canada, though with a less-than-chilly feel.

Thus, I exposed myself to the tyranny of Walt Disney.

It all started as a dream, you know. Good old Walt had it on the train one day on his way back home to see the Mrs. I like to think of it as more of a nightmare.

But don't get me wrong – the weather was great. The leaves of palm trees were blowing in the soft breeze, the grass was green, the sun was bright, the water warm. I think it might have been the smoke billowing in the distance, the draught, the forest fires, the screaming children, the obnoxious and severely obese women with aggressive accents whom I conveniently stood near in the endless lines for Space Mountain day after day, that clouded my vision. But again, don't get me wrong. I'm extremely grateful.

Grateful for what? Lack of snow?

Day after day, I was shoved out of the way by young kids screaming for ice cream and more Mickey souvenirs. My nose was routinely assaulted with the unfamiliar scent of the roasted turkey legs people took to knawing on as they roamed the parks. I wondered if I had been transported into a bad episode of The Flintstones.

At my hotel, which was, unfortunately, a Disney resort, I was faced with a food court full of fried foods and large, hungry women. Five-year olds reached their wrinkly fingers up into the ice chute of the all-you-can-drink pop fountains and bored parents just turned their heads.

On the bus to the airport at the end of it all, a highschool kid from Rhode Island asked me what it was like living in Canada. I thought carefully about what I would say to him. The voice of an ignorant women I had spoken to on the Disney transit the night before echoed in my head: "Ontario – that's right up near Alaska, right?"

I thought of how genuinely proud I had felt to be Canadian at that moment. I had wanted to stand up and belt out a Molson Canadian rant, corporately created or not.

"Living in Canada is a lot like living here," I said.

"Really? That's hard to believe," she said back to me.

I wanted to comment that I should think it would be hard to believe, Americans not seeming to know much about Canadians and all, but I bit my tongue."Yeah," I said. "But a lot better."

It's good to be home.

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