As I type this, snow is gracefully covering the landscape, as if the city is covering up with a white blanket. Some 8 degrees below zero, Halifax looks pretty much like any other North American city, with some tiny, negligible differences. But yes, sitting here, sipping Tim Hortons’ coffee on Spring Garden Rd and watching people freeze to death outside as they wait for the bus is both therapeutic and spiritual.
People, under so much clothes, jackets and coats, look the same. I could barely tell the difference between them. Although, I still don’t get the girls who wear earmuffs, scarf, gloves, coat and snow boots, but got a skirt or shorts on. It baffles me.
Still, regardless of the small differences, I can’t tell the Canadian from the immigrant; socio-economic profiling suddenly becomes meaningless. If snow isn’t telling us something here then there’s not much hope for humanity.
I mean, the thing about a place like this where there are many second and third generation immigrants is that it makes it harder for me, someone from a place where ethnic and racial profiling is as normal as burping after a meal (not nice, but normal), to look at an Asian-looking man or woman (for example) and not expect them to have a heavy accent.
On my way to downtown Halifax, I had a nice chat with the bus driver, who looked Asian but spoke with a heavy American accent. Like Owen Wilson. So I was thinking, is it wrong to expect people to talk in a certain way or to dress in a certain fashion just by their looks? If you are not sure whether you are guilty of profiling people, just pay attention to how you decide where to sit the moment you get on a bus.
Snow is painting the city white. Everyone is under layers of clothes. Everyone is holding a cup of coffee. Even people’s physique and structure becomes a little tricky. So the only obvious truth is how tall or short they are. I appreciate snow that way. Reminding me that nothing matters but attitude.
I don’t know these people, and they have no clue who I am or where I come from. When asked, sometimes I say Kuwait, sometimes I say Jamaica, and it wouldn’t make the slightest difference to their attitude towards me.