Day 84 of 96 – Her boyfriend was also a violist.

16 Dec

This is my first non-Berlin visit into the former DDR. I have one day left on my rail pass so I thought I would use it to check out the “east”. I’m pretty sure Leipzig is going to be like Berlin – I’ve heard it’s got a similar vibe. But I’ve only got a few hours and most of these are going to be spent at the various Weihnachtsmarkts looking at all the neat things. Still, I think a few hours is enough time to claim I’ve visited the city.

So I arrive just after twelve. On the train sitting next to me is a musician. He was impressed that I was able to correctly guess his position in the orchestra from only his case. I told him that my musician girlfriend makes fun of violas all the time and he laughs. He tells me that the violists are considered to be the dumb blonds of the orchestra. I caution him to not say things he can’t take back. Also, the woman sitting across from us is blond and she would probably find it offensive to be compared to a violist. Maybe she doesn’t understand English cause she just keeps reading her newspaper without looking up.

How did the violist hurt her belly button?

Our discussion drifts to world politics (of course). Guy (pronounced “guy”) is from Israel. He hopes that someone can come up with a clever solution to the problems with Iran. I’m with him on that.

I love meeting people from different parts of the world – especially Israel. Fascinating country. I think their requirement for mandatory military service is an excellent idea. I’m not too keen not the military part but I think each country should have some sort of service requirement for each of its citizens.

You too ladies! This is not just for the guys 🙂

This way everyone can have something to talk about at parties.

Party goer: What did you do for your service?

Me: Oh, I stayed in Ottawa and ran the Zamboni in one of the city parks.

Party goer: Is a “Zamboni” what I think it is?

Me: Yes. Yes it is.

Party talk aside, I think Canada could benefit from some sort of common-experience situation for all of our citizens. You see, under my you-have-to-take-a-year-off-and-do-something-for-your-country system everyone would have to serve. Youth would do theirs around the age of eighteen (after high school). New Canadians would be required to do their year before they get their citizenship. There would be a wide range of options but all would involve working in a team.

And I’m not kidding about everyone having to do this. That certificate from your doctor doesn’t mean anything to me. We’ll set you up with a video link and you’re going to read Harry Potter to orphans and old folks in five and a half timezones every day before bedtime.

Canada has a half timezone.

And I would mix up the teams – you’re not allowed to work with your friends (we’ll check Facebook). One of the goals of this exercise is to put you in contact with people you would normally not associate with. One of the theoretical requirements of a functioning democracy is an informed public, yet many of us don’t know a lot about the different types of people in our own country. It’s normal to hang around with people that have the same interests and socioeconomic status – and that’s cool. But many of the polices our politicians promote during election season have the greatest impact on people who are not us. It would be useful if everyone was able to put a hu-mon face to the things our government is going to do.

This is all related to my main issue with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It’s mostly good except I think there should be a section on Responsibilities. If you want to enjoy the wonderfulness that is Canada, you have to chip in your buck-o-five.

You know what, this is all really complicated. It’s probably best if you go watch Starship Troopers.

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