How to live in Vancouver (and the surrounding area)

There are newcomers to the lower mainland who are culture-shocked, weather-shocked, and shocked by the fact that some Canadians can be so fucking rude. Don’t panic, for the list you are about to read will help you adapt to living in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). Read it, take it all in, and print out a copy to have with you while you’re in the area! These important tidbits of information will help you adapt and blend in to the masses that crowd this wonderful, smoggy, southwestern B.C. paradise.

– If you own a car, you’re in for a few surprises! Your car MUST be “Air-cared.” You see, when millions of people decide to operate pollution-spewing vehicles in the same relatively small geographical area for a period of about 80 years, something happens to the atmosphere: it deteriorates. It helps you tan faster, sure, but vehicle pollution is destroying the ozone above these great cities in the GVRD. The process of air-caring your car may be an expensive one (depending on how much money the company air-caring your car may need to pay in property taxes that month), and that usually depends on the age of your vehicle. Fear not, for you’re doing a great thing for both the community and atmosphere. Although buying a bike or taking transit would help just as well, remember this: you live in the land of the FREE and you have the GOD-GIVEN RIGHT to own and drive your own vehicle WHEREVER you want! But please, take the time to have it air-cared…or you will be hunted down and fined for not doing it…maybe even have your insurance taken away until you do so!

– Make sure that when you get your car air-cared you also have the horn tuned up; you’ll be using it constantly; in fact, you’ll use it more frequently than the toilet on an all-fiber diet. It is your duty as a motorist in Vancouver to honk at anyone who isn’t going as fast as you think they should be, any pedestrian who may be physically attractive, or any driver who’s made a move on the road that you don’t agree with. Stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks is a no-no as well, and you should lay on the horn like you’re an opera singer holding the final note in the final act of the last show of the season. As well, your horn should definitely be used if someone is sitting at a green light for more than one second; or, in that case, you could simply step out of your vehicle, walk ahead to theirs, and pound your fist on the glass until it cracks to get their attention. You never know what these people are doing to distract them from the one thing that they SHOULD be doing (driving): talking and/or texting on a cellphone, talking to passengers, drinking/eating, preparing food, shaving, brushing their teeth, singing along to music, watching T.V., looking at the landscape…any number of things that SHOULDN’T be done while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Keep in mind that the majority of people that you’ll encounter doing these things will be adults. Buckle up and have fun!

– If you’re an elderly Asian woman (or you live in Richmond), you must practice ‘horking’: the act of snorting all the mucus in your entire body into the back of your throat, gobbing it up into a somewhat solid ball in your mouth, and projectile-vomiting the yellow mass onto the ground directly in front of your feet. You must do this constantly. This is especially effective at bus stops and in crowded shopping malls. For elderly Asian men, this can be a great way of retracing your steps if you get lost. The sounds produced can also be used to find your friends/relatives when you’re lost!

– All Asians (especially young Asian women) are to wave to each other when parting company – no matter the distance between them. You could be so close you’d be playing patty-cake, but you must still wave. You must make your exit with as frantic a wave as possible; this must be done at least four times. A good rule of thumb is to wave once when you’re two feet away, again when you’re four feet away, yet again when you’re six feet away, and finally once more when you’re eight feet away. Your desire to exit should be clearly established at this point. If not, wave once more (just for good measure).

– Having a door opened for you is a grand gesture, but you don’t always have to thank the person who’s doing it; in fact, it’s common for many people in the GVRD to not even acknowledge the person opening the door for them. Simply walk through and go about your day as if the door was on an automatic sensor. Who thanks machines anyway?

– If you’ve just arrived in this country, there’s a great job waiting for you as a taxi driver! You will know that this is a great career choice once you’ve been a passenger in taxis at least three times from each of the major taxi firms in the city and taken note of the drivers. Things like turn signals, the right of way, or stop signs are for regular drivers, NOT cabbies; those things are mere inconveniences meant to test you. Remember your objective: to get your passenger to their destination as quickly as possible. Darting through traffic at high speeds, cutting other drivers off and engaging in reckless driving is absolutely acceptable because you’re providing a service.

– When the hot weather comes out, the clothes come off – this is a rule for ALL women living in the lower mainland. The closer the temperature is to 30 degrees Celsius, the less you must wear. Your body type does not matter; you could be 100 pounds overweight, but the rules STATE VERY CLEARLY that you must be showing at least four inches of busty cleavage (women who have boyfriends, fiancees, or husbands are not exempt from this rule). Women who have supermodel-type bodies must show even more. This rule is highly opposed by the GVPA (the Greater Vancouver Prostitutes Association), as it makes employees of that group almost completely unrecognizable and distinguishable from the rest of the general public by a horny motorist speeding by (thus slowing down revenue for the GVPA and giving cops and politicians a bad name when they pull up to a woman they THINK is a prostitute and asking, “How much for a good time?” only to be slapped with a lawsuit).

– On the topic of prostitution, a note to aspiring prostitutes: if engaging in the act of prostitution on or around Powell Street in the city of Vancouver, you must adhere to these rules:
1. You must be as ugly as sin permits,
2. You must be stumbling around and talking to yourself,
3. You must be wearing revealing clothing that reveals a body that NO ONE (not even men of science) wants to see revealed,
4. You must be carrying a purse….and have your three rotting suitcases hidden in a nearby bush,
5. You must appear to be merely ‘thumbing a ride.’

– The nicer the car you have, the more obscenely horrible a driver you must be. If your car is without a roof, your goal is to make everyone else around you hear the music that you’re listening to, as this projects exactly how cool you are. As the owner of a car that’s nicer than most, you are entitled to speed through red lights, make crazy lane changes without signaling, talk as loudly as possible on your cellphone when stuck in traffic (because you never know if someone can lend an answer to a question you may have even if you’re not asking anyone else), and honk your horn at anything and everything you see, thus drawing the most possible attention to your kickass car. Think of yourself as your own personal taxi driver, or the George W. Bush of the road, for you are above the traffic laws.

– Pay NO ATTENTION WHATSOEVER to the garbage cans and bins that just happen to be…..everywhere, for the street is a perfectly acceptable place to leave your trash. It will be run over by so many cars that it will eventually morph with the pavement. Also, we have the greatest recycling program ever: the homeless. You can leave your plastic bottles or pop cans wherever you want because they WILL be scooped up by a guy pushing a grocery cart full of the stuff sooner or later; you may even see two or three of them fighting over your previously discarded possessions…and THAT, my friends, is a dedication to saving the environment that I cannot fathom.

– The comedian Lewis Black once said that the end of the universe is in Houston, Texas where two Starbucks are located directly across from each other. I think Mr. Black would be horrified to discover that humankind’s impending doom has manifested itself here in Canada’s west coast as well: there are two Starbucks coffee shops locations at the intersection of West Broadway and Granville in the city of Vancouver, as well as two directly across from each other in the downtown core at Granville and West Georgia streets. Currently, I’m twiddling my thumbs waiting for the giant tsunami to drown all of us west coasters. However, a similar (yet slower) plan is already in effect: the almost monsoon-like amount of rain that we get every fall/winter.

And that’s about it from this timid observer. If you happen to notice anything else that’s worthy of this list, please feel free to add it through the comments section. We must all do our part to welcome walks of life from all over the world, especially by 2010, because by then fears for security will be so high that a giant iron wall will have been built all around Vancouver to ensure that no ‘terrorists’ get in to disrupt the Olympic games…just the illegal immigrants floating in from China in shipping containers so they can wash our dishes, mop our floors, and answer the phones when we dial 411 (even with no formal English training).

Thank you and welcome to Vancouver!

  1. #1 by Penny on June 4, 2006 - 3:04 pm

    Alex this is perfect, I think I just might have to do a Banff one now.
    Talk to you soon and hope all is well

  2. #2 by Sarah on June 8, 2006 - 2:03 pm

    hahhah that\’s great! Way to make me change my mind about living in Vancouver one of these days!! hahaha it was funny anyways.

  3. #3 by Trevor on June 13, 2006 - 9:10 pm

    Alex once again you surprise me with your great wit! This is amazingly funny!

  4. #4 by Vic on June 17, 2006 - 10:02 pm

    I thought you had finished bloging , as your Space went un-updated for so long.
    If you want me to re-post  a link to here on my page again. let me know.
    Thanks for the comment . Actually my take on some of the Terrorist Scare Tactics is our governments have found a new way to filter money.  By scarenig the hell out of its citizens. Sure , we will fight and harp to them about slowly taking away our rights. Thats a small price for them to have to pay, as the amount they can claim to spend on "KEEPING ITS PEOPLE SAFE " can then be easier divided up among their cronies and supporters. They think we should even be grateful for the opportunity to be screwed up the rear, yet again. The only thing messing up their plan is Mother Nature  shows us how unprepared they really are, every once in a while.
    Don\’t get me wrong. I do believe there are people who want to hurt innocent people to get back at a governments policies. But Bush and his friends know a good thing when they stumble over it.
    I will keep on writing.

  5. #5 by Dan on June 21, 2006 - 6:32 pm

    Hey Alex thanks for the comment.. i\’ve added a couple more blahgs you\’ll probably be interested in yourself – keep blahging and perhaps one day the intelligent/satirical blahgs will equal the sparkling hello kitty blahgs – a man can dream can\’t he?

  6. #6 by Mel on July 15, 2006 - 1:09 am

    ok i could have sworn you were talking about edmonton until you mentioned the rain.

  7. #7 by Naphtha on February 20, 2007 - 4:42 am

    Funny! Alex, you\’ve about convinced me nowhere in the world is perfect….although there is always Paradise. How much horking can one person take?
    kusjes xo Cat

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