I've harbored a secret my whole life. I know when people look at me they make assumptions about who I am. But they can't see the inner turmoil churning inside me. I'm not who I appear to be. Only my best friends know, but we don't talk about it. I always thought there was too much of a stigma to out myself publicly. Until now. You see, I'm bi. Bi-national. It's true. I have dual citizenship in America and Canada.
My parents defected from their igloo in Canada to live the American dream of becoming loud and obnoxious while overspending living the American dream in debt in the late-sixties. Of course, that would never happen, since we lived right on the other side of the border near Niagara Falls, we had the best of both worlds.
Back in the 70's and 80's crossing the bridge back and forth between the countries didn't require a passport. So we travelled there frequently. We could hit the sales at Zellers on the way to grandma's house where we'd buy raisin pie. Unless that was Dominion. No, I didn't like it either. And I was always perplexed why in Canada people don't refrigerate their butter. Seriously, how disgusting is that? But it does make for very easy spreading. When I was in college we would cross the border because the drinking age in Canada was only 19. Score. But, then the bars closed at like midnight and the only thing still open was the cheesy wax museum on the strip that only the Japanese tourists went to.
I was embarrassed to have friends over to my house growing up, because my dad listened to Canadian news radio 24/7. He still does. And the only thing worse than American news radio is Canadian news radio where they spend most of their time talking about American politics. Although, back in the day, they chattered on and on, endlessly about Pierre Trudeau. To this day, the mere mention of that name lulls me to sleep. And if you're American you're probably wondering who the hell I'm talking about. He's neither a porn actor nor a Tony Robbins type motivational speaker. And he's dead.
My mom dispensed with Canadian colloquialisms early. She didn't say "eh?" and she thought she could fly under the radar and pass herself off as American. Until she uttered the word "sorry" which she always pronounced "sore-y" just like Michael J. Fox. A dead giveaway that she was an impostor. Plus, she was way too soft-spoken and polite to fit into American society. It was so embarrassing. She still pulled the car over for funeral processions to pass for god's sake. I mean whoever's in the hearse has no rush to get where they're going, right? This is America, we rush everywhere and we don't even pull over for fire trucks! Common courtesy isn't all that common here.
Then there's me. Completely tarnished by my upbringing. I was forced to listen to hours upon hours of Royal Canadian Air Farce on the radio while eating raisin pie people! You can't even imagine my pain. And the constant questioning of where I truly belong. I don't feel American. But yet, I don't feel Canadian either. Even though I'm way, way too polite for my own good. And I think it can all be summed up this way. If I'm buying coffee do I choose the American Dunkin' Donuts or the Canadian Tim Horton's? I'm so conflicted. Who am I? Oh the humanity!
My name is Marie. And I'm bi.