Swapping things is a kind of national pastime here in Canada. Tired of your old cell phone? No problem, contracts are month by month so it’s easy to swap and get that shiny new model. Don’t like your old stuff? Easy, just list it on Craig’s List and it’s gone – and you can always buy someone else’s discards while you’re browsing.
David has to work today. I volunteer to drop him to the sky train, with the obligatory stop at Tim Horton’s to collect the morning coffees of course. I try to sound like a local as I order two double doubles and two French vanilla caps. Then, the lady pops the question. “Do you want to add one of these apple jam donuts for only sixty five cents? It’s the special.” As you may know, I’m a sucker for upsell. “Sure.” Then, like a true Canadian, she casually suggests “or you can swap it out for any other donut if you like eh?” I look at the cabinet arrayed with about five hundred different varieties of calorific delight. I look at the line of people behind me patiently waiting to get their daily launch fix. “Er, no thanks.”
We jump back in the Dodge and switch on the news. There’s been some sort of terrorist plot uncovered, the heat wave has broken all sorts of records, but first, the really BIG story. Lou is still a Canuck. Huh? David rolls his eyes when he realises that I don’t seem to understand the import of those five little words. “It’s draft time.” Ah, I thought I had heard that there’s a sea breeze expected to bring cooler weather today. “No – the hockey draft!”
Here’s the explanation for our Aussie friends. The Vancouver Canucks have never won the Stanley Cup, the Holy Grail of hockey. It’s now time for teams to try to snare (draft) the best of the up and coming young stars. Simple eh? Well, not really. This is also the time to offload your old players. Craig’s List won’t take hockey players so a complicated system has evolved where teams try to trade their unwanted bits and pieces with each other. David explains further. “The Canucks traded their head coach for a new iPhone, their backup goal tender for a set of steak knives, and then traded all of this for a young player who is rumoured to be able to spell his own name. Simple!”
I start to think about the advantages of this system, and some of the things I might “trade” when we get home. There’s that dinner set we never seem to use, some of Nanette’s shoes …. Obviously the list doesn’t include any of my man-stuff, because it’s all essential to the effective running of our household, but I reckon this could just work. I’m just getting into the swing of it when I encounter the ultimate test. Nanette and I are “oat and aboat” around lunch time and it’s time to eat. I’ve just started to dip the second half of my bread roll into my steaming hot bowl of chilli when she smiles ever so sweetly. “How would you like to trade some of your chilli for half of my Panini?” Panini? That’s healthy stuff isn’t it? We may be in Canada, but some things just aren’t up for sale eh? No deal!