Let me begin by apologizing to my friends who work for the competition. I’m sorry that I’m here and not there. “Here” represents a small chain of donut shop called Tim Horton’s. Tim’s is known for its sensible pastries, bathrooms being called washrooms, and an overall sense of a beige. It is a happy place for me. First, they brew decaf coffee on request. Second, it smells like Canada.
If you’ve not been there, you’re just like me from 12 years ago: taller, more hair, and without any kind of exposure to the great North. Canada is like the United States; The United States are like Canada. Both peoples use fabric softener. Both use electricity to illuminate their homes. Both find it difficult to take the metric system seriously.
But there are differences.
One example is the smell. Canada has a certain smell, kind of like a mix between an older lady’s house and a wet afghan draped on a freshly groomed basset hound. They say that the olfactory sense (olfactory is a word that sociologists use to denote the shuttered manufacturing building on the other side of town) has the strongest tie to memory. When we smell, we remember. As I sit in this Tim Horton’s, going over plans for Christmas 2011 and teaching schedules for the Fall, I can’t help but remember a delightfully Canadian Free Methodist campground nestled between a soybean field and a tributary stream. I want to drink some peach juice, eat a WonderBar, ask for some cutlery and pour some milk from a bag. It’s a delightful trip to be on, all the while a bunch of Michiganders are sitting across the dining room talking about the pros and cons of Sarah Palin and how “dat tea party don’t got nuttin to do wit tea”.
Someday Emily and I will go back to Canada, to breathe her air and eat her All-Dressed potato chips. I can almost taste them now. Something is very wrong with this coffee.