Destination: wal-mart, Timmins, Ontario
I slept a solid seven hours at the hotel. I hadn’t slept that well since our trip started. I didn’t even budge, woke up in the same position that I crashed in, which never happens. We took some time to get the room in order so we could leave rather quickly when we were ready.
The free breakfast was actually at a restaurant instead of just a bunch of muffins shoved into a tiny room. I hadn’t had that before! I got egg benedict and my sister got french toast. It was absolutely delicious and the staff were wonderful. It felt like a real treat to be able to sit down for a full breakfast included in our stay.
We packed up the car and got on the road by noon. We drove all day.
Along the way, we stopped at a fish and rock store. I never realized how amazingly those things would go together, but this store made up my mind. The owner was a rock hounder and had countless absolutely beautiful amethyst crystals, of all types, from pale shards to giant geodes. We spent a lot of time talking to the shop owner; she was Finnish, so we had conversations about social services in our respective countries, how education and elder care were free in her home country and Canada should be the same, and we also decided that National and Provincial parks should be free to the public – well, I somewhat agreed to that. I think they should be by donation, with people who have more money donating more. It doesn’t make sense that everyone pays the same amount for goods and services when some people just have so much more money – and most often not as a result of hard work, just a different valuation of skills or simply by dint of heredity.
Driving across the country, this mentality only cemented in me. I absolutely don’t believe we should have some people making 500 times more money than others. It isn’t that CEOs work harder – they don’t. Working a 10-hour shift at Tim Hortons – without overtime – with minimal breaks, on your feet the entire time, smiling nicely and being polite to everyone regardless of how they treat you – that is hard work. And even if a CEO has a bad day, they can go home to a house that cleaned by staff in their absence, to kids who were cared for by someone else, knowing they have a great big vacation coming up, and their healthcare and retirement needs are all met. This is not existential stress the way people struggling to make ends meet suffer from. After your 10+ shift at Tim’s, you come home to a disaster of a house with a frazzled sitter whose presence costs you half of what you brought home that day, wondering how you’re going to tell your kid that she can’t have braces – she’s lucky to get a cleaning – and new glasses will have to wait until the next year.
These people are equal humans – the CEO and the working mom. It’s completely nonsensical that one should have so much more than others. For example, if that CEO gets a speeding ticket, the cost wouldn’t even a dent – it’s couch change. But if that mom gets one, it’s the difference between making rent or not. Therefore, some laws don’t apply to the rich, since there is no actual penalty. And therefore, many laws are nothing more than a method of keeping the poor in poverty. In Finland, fines are meted out according to income. Now, doesn’t that make sense? Not only do you create a legitimate deterrent for the rich to stop committing fined crimes, but that extra money you bring in can go toward, hmm, free elder care and child care! I really get frustrated with these blatant injustices, and I think Canada can do so much better. I love speaking to people from other countries because it highlights just how much better things can be, but we just don’t know it’s possible, or we don’t know how. Well, there’s no excuse for that anymore. The evidence exists and the practicing countries are more than willing to share their knowledge.
From the store, I bought a beautiful rings and some smaller stones, and Christine bought a bracelet. We also bought smoked fish, fish guacamole, and a chunk of sourdough bread. I think we were really hungry!
We also made a stop at McLeod Provincial Park, where we stopped to use our stove in order to boil some eggs for ourselves. It was a little chilly but we walked by the water. There were two women there with a very energetic dog who very much wanted to be our pet, which was hilarious, but eventually we all decided the dog had to go back with her owners.
Christine wasn’t in the greatest mood, which was a challenge for me. I struggle with people who make their bad mood your problem. When I’m in a shitty mood, I try – though I don’t always succeed – to maintain a level of civility so the other person doesn’t take it on themselves. But Christine didn’t learn that, I don’t think. It certainly didn’t come naturally. I think she thinks that I should just know that of course she isn’t mad at me, that it has nothing to do with me. but when you’re confined in such a small space for 11 hours of driving, which we were that day, it is hard not to take it on. But as always, we discussed it and agreed with would both work on our respective parts.
During those 11 hours, we stopped for gas and the bathroom, but most of the day was spent in the car. Once we arrived in Timmins, we found the wal-mart and set up fairly quickly. I think we were both done with the day. I took a bit of time to call a friend and Christine worked on her journaling for the trip before calling it a night.