A while ago friend asked me if I’d heard what CBC was saying in regard to the federal election and our local riding. I confessed, after considering the easy white lie, that I didn’t listen to the CBC. Well his jaw dropped and I suddenly felt like a brainless dimwit. It appears that all considerable intellects listen to the CBC. I hastily explained I could only pick it up in the car and on long trips I did make a point of listening.
Not a complete fabrication because on a road trip to Manitoba 4 years ago, it was the only station you could pick up in northern Ontario.
With his censure ringing in my mind I programmed CBC as a button in my van and tried to listen when I could.
I did find the morning shows a bit of a strain if the topic was irrelevant to me. I’d also get frustrated when I tried to call in to sound off on my opinion and would only hear the busy signal on my cell phone. What was the point of having a Talkback line when I can’t get through to soapbox?
It truly was the afternoon programs that I enjoyed with its stories and humour. My daughter accompanied me on the previously mentioned road trip and she also liked the stories. That is until, in one story, a husband and wife reconciled a conflict, in a cornfield, which involved sweat, cold water, buttons, breasts…click…off went the radio for 10 minutes until the story moved beyond the reconciliation. Three o’clock in the afternoon is not my time frame for detailed romantic stories, especially with a ten year old in the car.
The style of the CBC has been parodied a lot in the Canadian media and I as look at all my career options I wanted to see if I had what it took to write for the CBC.
If I wrote for the CBC…
The wind was lazy, lazy like Cousin François who disappeared at chore time, pretencing his absence with an excuse of incontinence and too much tea. The wind, you see, didn’t go around you it went straight through. The wind was also cold; cold like my sister’s feet when she climbed into bed with you; fearful of the storm that raged outside the window of the bedroom we shared.
I would hitch the blankets higher, only to find them snagged on the roughly hewn footboard. Snagged like the fluffy lining of fleece pants on unshaven winter legs, eventually letting go, but always leaving threads of evidence behind.
I would lie awake and wonder what my place in history would be in this wilderness that my hardworking lonely immigrant family had the misfortune of landing in. My father had the ill fortune of dealing with a unique immigration officer. A former mayor in his birth city of Profen, my father replied ‘minor’, when asked what role he would play in the development of Canada. You see he was tired of politics and just wanted to farm. But the misunderstanding landed us in Ibup Labrador, home to the Gotlost Mining Corporation.
Making the most of the situation my mother decided her role was to ensure the local manager of the liquor store always had a customer. Being a lady, she refused to concede to her role as company cook, offering only canned beans with rum, to the workers. So at the age of 18 I became the Martha Stewart of Ibup.
My younger brother Daniel, it was decided, would be sent to St. John’s to finish his schooling. To save money on the telegram, we sent him instead to New Brunswick. Saving 35 cents by eliminating the apostrophe and letter ‘s’ was worth it to my mom. The bush pilot did look at us strange when we loaded Dan on to the plane and gave the directions. It wasn’t until the first letter arrived did we find out he went 1600 kilometre’s too far and in New Brunswick.
I continued to cook and managed to catch the eye of the officer manager who while considerably obnoxious, dangled the carrot of office work under by onioned reddened nose. Once I was lodged into the steno chair I repelled his advance by writing a manual on sexual harassment in the workplace.
So here I sit in Ibup Labrador slowly awaiting the mental deterioration that will allow me to write a novel of such Canadian angst that I will be able to stymie all book tour requests, keep a dozen cats and move to suburban St. John’s, wearing muumuus of vicious colours.