A lot of my recent video posts on YouTube have been getting kind of vlog’ish… After all, they can’t all be squirrels stealing GoPros, drones pulling teeth, drones catching fish, fireworks and dry ice bottle bombs! And what I have been noticing from some of the comments is something that I probably too often take for granted: The amazing and unique linguistic reality of Quebec.
Not trying to put Vaseline on the lens through which I view our province. It’s not all rainbows and roses. Construction has turned the city into a veritable M.C. Escher, rage-inducing maze. Our roads are filled with tire-popping, hub-cap breaking potholes. Our Christmas tree looks anemic. The Olympic Stadium is still crumbling. And let’s not forget about the sewage and condoms that our mayor recently flushed directly into the Saint-Lawrence River.
Nor am I trying to ignore the other not-so-rainbow-and-roses realities of Quebec. A bureaucracy that would make France envious. What are, at times, utterly divisive, language-based politics. Proposed laws that would be comical if only they weren’t real. And the periodic referendum scares that cause the ever-predictable knee-jerk exodus of Anglophones and allophones to “English” Canada or America.
That said, we live in a place where, for the most part, two linguistic groups peacefully coexist. We live in a place where people literally speak to each other in two different languages, yet understand each other perfectly. We have even managed to create a new language – “Franglais”. We broke barriers by marrying cheese with fries and gravy. And, well, Celine. We can’t possibly forget Celine.
Quebec is a unique place. For the good and for the not-so-good. But that is what love and beauty is. It doesn’t exist despite one’s flaws – it exists because of them. And anyone who says that something is not great because it can be better will always be bitter, unhappy, and, worse still, ungrateful for what they have. So while my teeth chatter from the potholes, and while the salt rusts through my car, I remember the words of Desiderata: “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it’s still a beautiful world”.