It was a typical Deerfoot encounter. He cut me off. I honked my horn. He gave me the finger and sped away, weaving in and out of traffic.
It made me think fondly of the recently wrapped up WordFest. It’s not that WordFest was somehow rude or aggressive but rather that it brings perceptive thinkers to town—or, in the case of Martin Amis, to just outside of town.
The British author was at the Banff Centre on Saturday night to read from his latest novel, Lionel Asbo: State of England. At the outset of the evening he mentioned that he was glad to be in Canada, “the second happiest place on Earth.”
He left it at that, which naturally meant that the first question from the audience after the reading was, “what is the happiest place on Earth?” Turns out it’s Denmark, not Disneyland. But Amis added that in both Canada and Denmark we seem to save our aggression for when we are driving.
My fellow motorist gave me the ol’ Deerfoot Handshake (as I have chosen to think of it) less than 24 hours after Amis shared this insight with the full house at the Margaret Greenham Theatre. I always knew that satirists were perceptive, but this was positively freakish.
I take some comfort in knowing that Speedy Gonzales and I were just acting out the roles allotted to us by the national character, but I still feel it wouldn’t hurt if there were a general increase in our civility. I’ll even start: congratulations to WordFest on another great festival. —Bruce Weir