Posts Tagged ‘jealousy’

After a long travel day yesterday I got to wake up in Texas this morning…..sigh. It’s sure good to see the sun shining again after two weeks of pounding rain and the gray skies of Vancouver. I did what I always do when I come back …and that is to reacquaint myself. Call me crazy but I love driving down the freeways, they’re so big and wide, like driving your couch if it had a steering wheel and gas pedal, and headed into the new sunrise with the sunroof wide , listening to the red dirt poets of Texas on stations like ‘The Range’ 95.9 FM and of course the Texas blues ‘Texas Renegade Radio at 89.3 FM….depending on my lust for inspiration, these are the sounds of Texas that bring me back inside.

Red Dirt music is not country, it’s not western…it’s Texan, raw, poetic, lyrical, personal and somewhat strange until you understand the context, colloquialisms and inferences….it’s quaintly under produced and folksy….eat your heart out Kieth Urban. Texas blues is hard charging guitar and harmonica driven…think Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert King and T-Bone Walker…distinctly different sound from Delta or Chicago styles…..hey….after all, it’s Texas… know you’re in for something good.

So I’m pulling in the driveway, my neighbors cleaning the pool, we talk, not about anything in particular, just the weather and if it’s going to be a good day to grill….that’s BBQ for the rest of you. Texans are like that, they don’t notice your new car or want to know where you’ve been, they’re just happy to see you. This is so refreshing for me after living in Canada where the conversations run like this…”What do you do?”….”How much did you pay for that car?”….”Where do you vacation”……and then they’ll run a litany of comparisons………gag… boring….so covetous, jealous, envious and impersonal…..kind of creepy after you’ve been away from it for a while… good to be in a place where people are more satisfied with their lives.


Do you travel so often and stay away for so long that the people you know with regular jobs and less interesting lives begin to covet what you do? Have people you thought you knew started to show they envy you with changes in your relationship… a cold shoulder here, a missed invitation there….no more phone calls or email returns? Does the content of your communication start looking one directional , answers short and terse, the longer you’re away in some tropical destination? When once they wished you well, do you feel like people don’t like the fact that you’re doing something they envy and are just wishing you away?

I come from Vancouver Canada, probably the most covetous, envious, back biting and least well wishing place I have ever witnessed. People there just hate it when anyone has made a footprint beyond their own. This extends to career, education, lifestyle, housing, cars, clothes…you name it. The first thing people in Vancouver will do is categorize you with questions designed to find out what you have, what you live in, what you drive, what you make, who do you know…and where you’ve been. If you’re at all accomplished or interesting, they’ll shun you like a pariah out of envy and the fear that you’ll show them up.

I conclude this general attitude towards others is what has earned Vancouver as ‘The Loneliest City on Earth”. That moniker was earned when new comers were polled with the question “Is it hard to make new friends or contacts”….the resounding response was “Yes….impossible”. Having lived there I know that Vancouver’s issues are not solely around snobbery that stem from a state of completeness, the issues really come from a virulent jealousy of the outsider. People will literally run up your back to get ahead of you in Vancouver. Maybe this is why it’s also a hot spot for murder and ‘the road rage capital of the world’.

I don’t want to make this issue all about Vancouver, but it holds itself up as an easy target when it comes to spotting petty behavior’s. Case in point…’The Hockey Riot Syndrome’ ….where people occasionally go mad and begin burning, smashing and looting for no apparent reason. I believe this phenomenon is actually the zeitgeist of Vancouver society, where people are livid with their lives to the point where any excuse to burst out and target the innocent is deemed fair play. My thesis is that Vancouver is a case where advertised expectations far exceed the probability of individual success, leading to mass frustration….”The Best Place on Earth”…it is not.

This is why travel is a sore point among Vancouverites in particular. There are no international companies based in Vancouver, and few head offices in Canada, giving no opportunities for Canadians to get out into the world the way Americans, Britain’s or Europeans are able to. This is why you’ll meet precious few Canadian expats living abroad. It makes ‘travel’ a point where Canadians covet their neighbors over pissy little vacations….and the driving need to ‘get away’. If you can actually travel as a lifestyle or business….well, you’re considered an outsider. Given what I have experienced in Canadian society generally, I’d rather be the outsider than play the covetous game of “Where have you been”, and have to show my passport like a trophy that defines me.