Thursday, January 27, 2005

You can take the girl out of the North....

I guess that old proverb is something I can't escape.

This morning on the front page of the University of Alberta website, there was an Express article about a study done by an advanced degree nursing student, or whatever, about how women in the North cope with the long winters. I opened the article, eager to see in print what I already knew instinctively, and 3 paragraphs in, I found out the study took place in Northern British Columbia.

No offense to residents of Northern British Columbia, but it ain't exactly the frozen wastelands of the Far North. There are trees, and highways, and the breed of people there are entirely different from the breed you'd run across in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic. This study said one way of coping is that the women of "the north" tend to get involved with outdoor pursuits like skiing and fishing and camping, and when it gets a little too cold, they move on to indoor pursuits like painting and quilting and civic volunteering. I'm sorry lady, but 25 women in B.C. do not a comprehensive study in Northern Coping make.

Women in the far north don't go outside unless they have to (with exceptions like taking part in hunts, etc.) in -30 to -50 degree weather. They watch a lot of TV, and deal with their kids, and talk on the phone. They don't so much "cope" with the North as they do "ignore" it. In the far North the communities are small and isolated, and there tend to be almost no highways which would provide a chance to get away. You want out, you have to pay the price of a small fortune to fly out. Sure, there must be some communities in Northern B.C. that are just as isolated, but hell, I'm not going to feel sorry for them because according to this *huge* study, they've got warmer climates for skiing and mountains and hippie quilting bees. And they've got trees. I had cable and a telephone. And a big, ugly, embarassing parka that went down to my boot tops (hey, you try looking cool and attractive to others wearing a 6-inch thick muumuu).

The weird thing is that I hate the North with such an incredible passion (because I'm from it), and here I am getting my hackles up over a silly little thing as blanket statements about coping in two distinctly different regions. I guess I'm offended by the characterization of being a painting, fishing, quilting hippie-president of a civic group for the preservation of antique moose antlers or something.


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