Guest writer, Kirk Mc-Duggan, expatriated Albertan, returns to research ‘diverse interests’ growing in Alberta outside of ‘economy’.
With newfound confusion, Alberta is indeed in a time of transition. Unemployment has sky rocketed and EI claims rises near ten fold since the down turn in oil. A sad state of affairs for many a household these past few years. “Children will have to share x-box systems this Christmas” says a disappointed Gayle Forsyth, Marketing Specialist, “and many people are even having a hard time filling the gas tanks in the families vehicles.
With the down turn in employment, many have had what can be called “free-time” in other provinces. Free time described by John Fanthosa ,a neighbor in Manitoba, is “You know when you sit around and maybe look at porn and stuff, eat pizza pops or whatever.” With said free time, thousands of Albertans have taken up other interests, like one man Brad Walkin of St. Albert. Brad has recently been laid off from oil work and had to sell the very truck he used to get to jobs out in the field. He’s replaced it with what he calls “a ballin’ Sunfire with a spoiler on the back.”
“But it’s not all bad,” says Brad. He claims he’s been spending time with his children of which he mentions “its crazy you know, your kids are learning stuff every day and with me around now, its like I seem to be having an impact on what they do and even what they eat and stuff.” Brad also has taken up what is known as ‘drifting’ in Walmart parking lots and remarked “ it’s crazy how many friends from different countries he has made”. And that, “they’re actually really nice people if you get to know them.”
Some have folks have been less appreciative and have been having trouble with the extra time on their hands. A nervous Betty Aldern from Calgary mentions, “She’s not used to not working.” Not being able to pay her mortgage she has ‘downsized’ and now lives with her grandmother in Red Deer, Alberta.
“I’m confused” she says “Although I no longer have all the debts I used to, I am having a hard time adjusting to the lifestyle change. My grandmother tried to teach me to knit and whatever, but that was insanely slow and boring, she just keeps talking about the World War and some shitty suffragette movement.”
She also remarked, “At first I though it was cool, like you know, learning from your elders and whatever, and that old people had a hard life and stuff, but like, I want to be back working and providing a real important life for myself.”
Some have gone to an extreme and the extra time has started some real lifestyle changes. Gary Hutchins and his roommates all used to work in the industry, and in losing their jobs have returned to communal renting. “We couldn’t each afford rent and each have a car and each have individual debts any more, so we were all like, lets move in together like glory days, start a band, maybe get some kegs on the weekend.”
Gary Hutchins remarks that since he’s planted the garden in his back yard his neighbors have made off-color remarks about the house becoming quote un-quote ‘cultish’. Regardless of such, his plans for a nano-scale Kombucha business is still under way.
A roommate Mitch Stranchuk mentions his actual appreciation for the lifestyle change. “My life before was great, good work, good money, but it was missing a certain something. Yea sure I don’t have as much privacy and it may be hard entertaining the idea of a romantic relationship, but truth be told I’m terribly afraid of long term committed relationships; and the band is really taking off, we’re even making t-shirts!”
Most recently there has been an interest in time itself. Albertan politicians now contemplating changing Alberta truly progressively and abolishing the twice yearly Daylights Savings Time. We asked a passerby down town Edmonton what they thought.
45 year old Joyce Brujek says “I think it’s a good idea, I hate it when I have to change the clocks and end up late for work if I forget. Mind you, now that I’m working part time it seems less important. It may now affect my Yoga Flow class however, so I guess I’m torn on the idea.”
We asked New Brunswicker Greg Patterson from Miramachi, happening to be visiting a sister in Edmonton , what exactly he thought of all the change in the West.
“Yea, its too bad people don’t have good paying jobs, and people futures are insecure, I mean with less oil and factories moving to Asia and robots, eh? But but I guess if I have anything to say to Albertans is I guess “Welcome to Canada!”
Edmonton Weststar December 12th, 2016