Burning the Bridge.

During all my long and arduous years living in Lethbridge I have always been in denial about what sort of place it really is. There are a couple coffee shops that are really great, little corners of the town that are really wonderful but overall the town is rife with unspoken racism and dominated by fossil fuel addicted drivers. Lethbridge is certainly the least “green” place in all of Canada. Having spent more than 15 years in Lethbridge I am finally willing to pass judgment on this place.

The friends I have made here I will forever love and respect but my day to day experiences of racism and discrimination have reached a critical mass. After my experience today I just cant take it anymore. Today while shopping at Canadian Tire I had my book bag searched at the check out stand. Its apparently store policy to search backpacks. I would have gladly handed it over as I came in but no one let me know and instead the girl searched my bag in front of everyone. I went into buy a screwdriver and came out insulted and publicly humiliated. Lethbridge really does make you suicidal when your down wind of it. I wrote a Yelp review and am never shopping at Canadian Tire again which sucks because up until today I preferred to shop Canadian because I am a bit patriotic.

But even beyond this I have almost no luck with the opposite sex in Lethbridge. I am an average person, average weight, average height, who is mostly healthy so one would think that in such an average town I might have an average amount of luck in dating. This is not the case. I want to stress that I have a fairly low bar. I don’t have unrealistic or unfair expectations of the opposite sex and to be perfectly honest I prefer unshaven BBW’s. But in Lethbridge this preference might well as be a Pi in the sky description of some sort of moon-goddess with beer flowing out of her tits. In some cases I even get rejected when I wasn’t even aware I was hitting on anyone! On some particularly bad days I have even wondered if there is some sort of conspiracy going against me. I am a very down to earth person who is a bit nerdy, so I realize that my interests might be considered narrow and there for try hard to listen more than I talk. I am not rude in my day to day life. I never make rude comments to women under any circumstance yet Lethbridge women avoid me like I’m a leper. “Lethbridge living” makes me look forward to whatever end I might be headed for. My mantra has become: “I will be glad when this is all over…” *Deep Breathe*

Canadian Tire is certainly not an isolated incident. It seems like every day something happens that I have to “let go”… Most of the time I just tell myself that I misunderstood the situation or chock it up to a stranger having a bad day but this is just my way of coping. In reality the problem is perfectly clear; my appearance is undeniably Native and Lethbridge is full of ungrateful racist pigs. I mostly have a calm demeanor, I talk normal with a good vocabulary and always use ‘please and thank you’. I don’t pick my nose or scratch myself in public. I don’t stink. I cover my hair. I hold doors open for people. I say Hi’ to strangers (Or try to at least). I do these things even if I am having a bad day and never take out my negativity on strangers but all of this has seemingly amounted to a lost cause. My question is; how can White people be so bitter when they have received an entire continent for free? Everything that North American Whites own they owe to the Indigenous Holocaust. Yet they have the nerve to treat me like a second class citizen. How can one take an entire continent for granted?!

If I were to list all the things I hate about this town I could write a novel but I suppose the question one should ask is; what is it that makes Lethbridge such an awful place? In my mind the problem definitely starts with the wind. Lethbridge is most certainly the windiest place in Canada and probably could make the top ten list in all the world. When winter comes around the added wind chill makes it seem 10 degrees colder than it actually is. Even when it is “Chinooking” (a sort of weather pattern that melts the snow) it is still cold and blustery and not to mention; shitty. So no one in Lethbridge ‘goes anywhere’ and when they do, they drive, this means that the vast majority of Lethbridgians feel little or no connection to there own neighborhoods.

If the weather weren’t bad enough there is the “bridge” (-Yes, there is actually a very notable ‘Bridge’ in Lethbridge), a massive black iron monster that sprawls across the coulee system which runs through the middle of town. The high level train bridge is actually the largest of its kind in the world. If you live in Lethbridge and have ever battled depression then you have probably thought about jumping off of it. In fact Lethbridge has come to be known in the western Canadian metal scene as “Dethbridge” because of its association as a suicide hotspot. I have come to have a strange fascination with it. I even planned on hanging myself there in the depth of my depression.

The bottom of things…

Another aspect of Lethbridge that makes it such a toxic and alcoholic environment is the oil field. Lethbridge is a undeniably a driver’s town. The fierce winds coupled with the Canadian winters make it a town dominated by lazy, ignorant and privileged drivers who refuse to walk anywhere. I walk almost exclusively and I have been yelled at, honked at and of course “revved” at by the stereotypical honky-tonk in his big, stupid truck all for doing nothing more than walking home. What’s most pathetic about the loud truck problem is these trucks always rev’ up there engine after they are made to stop at a cross walk as if to communicate to the pedestrian just how much of their time is being wasted for giving pedestrians the right of way. If you are a pedestrian loud-trucks can easily ruin your mood especially if you have to listen to more than 10 a day. But what’s perhaps most aggravating about being a pedestrian in slushy weather is the road system with its narrow side walks; if you’re walking in spring time expect to get splashed with icy-cold water by an asshole in a truck.

Lethbridge is a very unfriendly place for pedestrians and I cant imagine its any better for cyclists. I like walking because I like to stay healthy but the past five years spent walking around the Lethbridge area has really made me hate the place. I suppose maybe because I am Native people don’t treat me like one of their towns’ folk even though I pick up needles when ever I see them. I have picked up 66 in the last 3 months. I feel its sort of my duty to look after my tribe and mine has definitely been effected by the Opioid crisis. I don’t mind picking them up because I am out anyhow. I have walked by a handful of needles this winter because of the snow and because I had a minor spinal injury but when its warm enough I will go again. I believe in making the best of a bad situation but I am starting believe that my efforts are for naught.

Lethbridge is a dump.