- Big cities
- Country music
I also completely and utterly, without apology, unrepentantly despise the City of Calgary. So you can imagine how thrilled I am to have absolutely no reason to go to Calgary this week. Beyond my normal desire to escape that urban hellhole every time I have to visit it, Stampede week makes the merely unbearable completely torturous.
We've lived in Alberta for 11 years now and I take it as a point of pride that I've never been to Stampede. There is so much that is great about living in Alberta: The mountain parks, amazing rivers, genuinely nice people and close proximity to BC are among it's salient features. We've made some of our best friends here and, while I still can't consider Alberta "home" it is a damn nice place to live.
But for one week (10 days? How long is this damn thing anyways?) every year, Southern Alberta loses its collective mind. All of a sudden every suburbanite commuter becomes a damn cowboy. Pancakes become a food group and competitive pancake-breakfast rallying seems to become Calgary's semi-official sport. Every damn radio station becomes Stampede-obsessed. I think, that if I printed this diatribe in the Calgary Sun, I might actually have a by-law officer visit my house for a "chat" and demand to know why I wasn't in "Stampede spirit". And I don't even live in Calgary.
This isn't about animal cruelty or the perception thereof. It's not about having to put down horses every year or about cowboys getting stepped on by bulls - although if I was a bull I know what I'd try to do.
I guess I just don't "get it". And I know that there are plenty of people who love the Stampede who would kindly - or not so kindly - tell me that they don't need me down there anyways. And that's fine. Enjoy the Stampede. Enjoy the crowds and the pushing and jostling. Enjoy the parking nightmares. Enjoy cheap pancakes served on non-biodegradable foam plates. Enjoy the sideshow. I'll stick to the places I love. Because of Stampede there are fewer people on the river and fewer in the mountains. I'll stay there.
Besides, there's less chance of being stepped on by a pancake-eating, country-music-singing, crowd-surfing, cowboy-ridden bull.