Thursday, July 20, 2006

I've lost my small town edge

Yesterday, while strolling back to my car from the Rideau Centre... it hit me: I have lost my small town edge.

I was walking to the car in a daze, down Laurier street, when 2 fire trucks went by with their sirens blaring... and I completed the following actions:

Step, step, step, step, step, step

I saw the truck fly by me, but the thought going threw my head at the time was:

'I wonder if P ate dinner before he went golfing... ?'

I couldn't be bothered to turn my head, look up, or wonder 'where the heck are they going?'. After the trucks passed it occured to me that I have become city-ized...bye bye small town wonder (fighting back the tears)!

Growing up in Thessalon, our fire hall used to have only one way to signal a fire or emergency... a large siren on top of the hall that would go off so that the whole town would hear it. There was no mistaking when there was something going down in the streets of Thessalon.

When this use to happen, my sister and I would beg my Dad to take us for a ride so we could see exactly where the fire was.... or the times that I would be at my Grandpa Wilson's there was no begging... we were in the truck and gone faster than you can say Jesery Milk. If we couldn't get a ride to see the action first hand... we would wait 3 minutes and then walk to the corner of our street, and watch the main drag to see which direction the fire truck was headed. Every time the siren went it was big a event for the town... then the rumours would start about where the fire was, how the fire started, who was responsible for it, etc.

I can remember the time the old Davies' building burnt down in Thessalon. My parents and I were in the Soo watching my sister curl, and we got word in the Soo (60 minutes away) that the building was on fire. Ohhhhh... the chatter that went through the club... we didn't even have to be in Thessalon and the fire was causing an uproar.

Every fire that occured in Thessalon was a pretty big deal until about 1998 when the town finally invested in pagers to notify the firefighters and they got rid of the siren... but even then if you saw two firefighters in their cars at the same time, you thought yourself: I wonder if there is a fire?

This being my point... yesterday when the fire trucks went by I felt nothing, if it wasn't for a young tourist (probably from a small town) screaming 'Mommy Mommy.... LOOK... a fire truck' I probably would have been oblivious to the whole event.

The first year that I moved to Ottawa, I can remember being in residence at Ottawa U, which was located right across from the fire hall on Laurier, and every time the sirens would sound, I would run to the window to check it out. But now, as the years have passed, I don't even wonder who might have lost their home or where the fire is, as it could be anywhere or anything in this city.

I've become immuned to the busy streets of the capital and that is scary... I never thought I would see the day when a fire siren didn't at least peak my interest.... Sara Bellerose would have turned her head yesterday, but I guess Sara Coleman lacks curiosity!

What has the world come to?