Vancouver I Hardly Knew Ye

by Deanna K. Kreisel (Doctor Waffle Blog)

A couple of years ago I briefly became famous for hating Vancouver. By “famous” I mean that a hundred thousand people or so read an essay I posted on Medium, and for a few weeks it became a part-time job to answer emails from well-wishers, cranks, and haters.[1] (Now, thank God, I am blissfully obscure again and all my emails are from manufacturers of undereye creams and students asking questions that are answered on the syllabus.) By “hating Vancouver” I mean that in the essay I wrote, which was in response to a truly nutso anti-American screed by Wade Davis published in Rolling Stone, I used Vancouver as a test case to refute Davis’s claims of Canadian superiority. It was too easy, in a way: Davis held up my former hometown as an example of income equality and social justice, which is sort of like using the Marquis de Sade’s château as an example of Buddhist lovingkindness. In my response, poor Vancouver—which has many other excellent qualities—was the innocent victim of an essayistic drive-by shooting; my aim was elsewhere, but she got caught in the crossfire.

But lambasting real estate greed and excoriating the hypocrisy of the municipal government are not all I have to say about Vancouver. I would also like to complain about the weather. Just kidding! Well, not kidding: I really do like to complain about the weather, but that is not what this essay is about. This is a love letter to a place I left, a place that I wanted to leave and do not regret leaving and yet miss, deeply and tenderly, every single day. It is also an essay, I suppose, about why my spouse and I decided to leave Canada and relocate to Mississippi, a move that never ceases to amaze anyone who hears about it. I mean, fair enough—without more information, I suppose such a move seems akin to relocating from a Buddhist monastery to the Marquis de Sade’s château. Read more »