Posted by: Chelsea Novak | July 5, 2005

Small town values

This past weekend took me and my men (M and Zeus) back to the K for some boating, shopping and holiday weekend revelry. It was a success on many fronts. M and I returned with a good haul of clothing, Zeus spent hours and hours outside. sleep was caught up on, large amounts of beef were consumed, time was spent on a variety of water crafts and M and I finally got around to seeing Mr. & Mrs. Smith and we are now in the midst of developing a plan to steal the entire wardrobe truck from the film.

Kingston was all good, but small. Beyond the fact that most things in Kingston are smaller when compared to Toronto (unless you look at house size vs. cost and the amount of lawn everyone has) I really knew I was in my hometown on my run this morning. Every person I passed said “Good Morning” to me. Torontoians are friendly enough. I don’t agree with the common perception that they’re grumpy or impolite and I suggest that anyone who thinks that should spend a couple of years in the Czech Republic (aka. Grumpyland) and get a realistic concept of what grumpy really is. People in the big city are nice enough, but in a small town like Kingston there’s a different code of conduct. I like to think that I stick to it wherever I am.

Today’s sing-a-long song: “Hometown Bringdown” by The Tragically Hip

HRH

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Responses

  1. After living in Toronto for just six months, when I returned to Kingston I found myself intensely uncomfortable and nervous as I walked around downtown. I felt like everyone was really angry with me, and two or three times crossed the street because I was almost certain that some dude was about to pick a fight with me.

    It took me two days to realize what was going on: people were looking me in the eye. I had become accustomed to the way that most people in Toronto studiously avoid eye contact (especially on the TTC, which I took daily back then) — which is totally understandable in large cities — and in fact had internalized it to the point where I misinterpreted the friendly gesture as a challenge.

    So no, I don’t think that Toronto’s grumpy and angry. I just don’t think that it’s overly friendly either.

  2. Having grown up in a town that makes Kingston look like Toronto, I have to say that all in all, I’m actually quite happy with the friendliness level of Toronto. Yes, people march around anonymously, for the most part, avoiding eye contact, but if you speak to them, it’s like the invisible shell cracks and they’re happy to talk to you.

    The difference between that and a small town like Woodstock is that there is no invisible shell in Woodstock. When I go home, people must think I’m an escaped convict or something because I walk around with my eyes darting everywhere but at other people. The truth is, I’m terrified someone will recognize me and want to catch up, and I won’t remember who they are.

  3. I miss Kingston terribly. Don’t get me wrong, I love Toronto and I don’t know if I could ever move back home for good, but when I visit, Kingston is so comfortable and perfect. Particularly in the summer… walking around on our little waterfront, seeing that the high school kids have filled the Ontario Park fountain with dish soap and made it all suds again… recognizing at least half a dozen faces in the Kingston newspaper photos… it’s comfortable and it’s my home and I miss it.


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