Saturday, December 11, 2010

# 10 Clean Floors

Remember the white socks? Here's where you can learn more about their second use.

If you ever visit a Red person's house chances are there is a mop pail full of clean water with some highly fragrant pine scented cleaner right beside the door. This serves one clean the floor (duh! you thought it was something amazingly brilliant right?)

Picture this; You're getting ready for an important event, you've even planned your wardrobe, whether that be your best sweats or something that requires ironing, it's up to you how you define important attire. Anyway, you put on a pair of fresh clean white socks (chances are you're going to a social) and walk to the kitchen for a cup of Rez coffee when...

You step in big ole wet spot staining your perfect white sock. "%&#($*@!" Yup. We've all been there. You tear off your sock and chuck it across that floor, grab that mop sitting right there by the front door and angrily and hurriedly clean up that mess following it down the hall to the living room, where you find your kid (or man) standing in a puddle. Maybe they wet themselves or maybe they brought it on their shoes, details aren't important here. What is important is that your perfectly clean white sock is now a sopping mess that's going to require some Javex and now you have to forget the coffee and run around looking for another sock. To your dismay all you can find is a black pair, and you'll be the laughing stock at The Stock. People will be thinking about how dirty your floors must be why you have to wear black socks - seriously...that's how we judge if you're a good housekeeper or not.

With kids running around, people dropping in, men (not being sexist, just being truthful) walking across the floor with their muddy/snowy boots, and people trekking things up and down the house; our floors are bound to get messy. But all of that doesn't matter, because it is up to you to keep that floor clean. As a Red person, you will have visitors popping in and if they're Red people they WILL be wearing white socks. When they leave they will get home and look at the bottom of their feet. If their white socks are no longer white they will tell their friends about how to they had to wash their socks - twice before they got clean again...meaning your floor must never have been cleaned a day in its life!

It's true, they will talk about it. Because that's what we do, we gossip.

# 9 Visiting

Visiting is when Red people consume the most Rez coffee. If visiting was an Olympic sport it would be dominated by the Red people of the world but it would be an event in the summer games. Here's why I figure that...Historically, most Red people were semi-nomadic peoples, in the winter we broke up into our smaller family groups, but come summer we we're all together at our summer camps. That's why summer is prime time for visiting. And that's why we can visit all day, for days on end and never get sick of all our relations stopping in unannounced.

Why it works for us:
1. Our kids have someone to play with. They're out of our hair and not fighting each other all because our visitor brought their kids along.
2. You have someone who will share the load. Visitors will help you fold laundry while chit chatting, they'll appropriately discipline all the kids when they're being crazy and they'll catch you up on gossip, (or they'll make you feel important because you have all the gossip.)
3. They'll get their oldest to watch all the younger ones so you can go out for a couple hours.
4. They bring random people with them, which means you can get your nosey on! That's exciting! You get to meet people who you've either only heard about or seen at the Northern Store - and you can totally ask them all about their lives because they're in your house.

But visiting is not all fun and games, there is a certain etiquette.

Here's some guidelines:
1. Always have a pot of coffee ready to go - even if it's 40 above and the big plastic spoon on the wall is melting.
2. Have some food. At the very least have something for a sandwich like bologna and bannock. Hey! You've got a houseful of kids to feed.
3. Give the visitor's kids some sugar. Be warned, this means your kids will whine 'till you give them something sugary too. But now you have the perfect excuse to send them all outside until one of them cries.
4. Go tie up your dogs, you don't want to have to shoot one if it bites some kid.
5. Keep a mop pail full of clean water by the door just in case you hear someone getting out of their car. You can pretend you were just washing the floors....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

# 8 Coffee

Yup, coffee. But not in the way other people like coffee.

First, Red people are not allowed to drink coffee until we're 18. You can't tell me that I'm the only who got a smack upside the head for sneaking a sip from my mom's cup "It'll stunt your growth, don't cha know!"

Second, we liked it the minute we tried it. The smell is what got us first THEN the taste. Third you may not want to see us before we've had our first cup of morning coffee, or our second, or our 10 am coffee, or our noon coffee, our afternoon break coffee our after work coffee, our 8 pm tv watching time coffee, the 10 pm (sometimes with a smoke) coffee and if it's the weekend our midnight and later coffee.

And finally, we don't care if it's from Starbucks, Second Cup, Tim Horton's, or heck even Chicken Chef...we'll drink it if it's coffee. And although fair trade, organic coffee is great, as is the expensive, frothy kind; we really just want some, so we'll take what we can get.

Basically coffee is like oxygen to us. We need it to live and because of that, we are immune to the caffeine (for the most part) and that's probably because Red people brew our coffee with more water than grounds, at home, on a $6.00 coffee machine from Walmart. Watered down coffee serves two purposes, 1. It's not as strong = less caffeine and 2. It lasts longer. And when you make it with 2% milk from a 4 gallon jug and white sugar from a soup bowl stirring with a big ass spoon, you have at cup of Rez coffee perfect for visiting...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

# 7 White Socks

To be precise; crisp and bleached, white sweat sock. With black jeans and black shoes. I think it's because we jig and you can see our fast moving feet a whole heck of a lot better. Michael Jackson ain't got nothing on us, we knew what was up long before he came along.

You can see this fashion trend at a Manitoba social. At first you can't tell because everyone is sitting down and they all kinda look the same.
But, here's how to spot a Red person who particularly likes this kind of thing:
They are decked to the nines.
Hair did, tucked in dress shirt (in any colour,) black leather jacket, black jeans or dress pants with matching black leather shoes and belt.
The men will also be wearing their shiniest watch.
The ladies will have their faces done up, be wearing ALL their rings that will match the metal hardware on their purses and belts (haha that's right ladies, we know what you're up to, see: Matching.)

OH BOY! And when the Red River Jig starts up you better back up! Because soon all you'll see is a blur of white near the floor in a sea of black (and Red :P)

My friend MJ, (not to be confused with Michael Jackson, because 1. she's a chick and B. insert obvious joke here.) Tells me that the best place to see this fashion phenomenon is in Norway House (HOLLA!) Finest white sock jiggers this side of...well...Sagkeeng anyway.
Ah, but you thought white socks served us with only one purpose did you not? Wrong. More about that later.

Friday, December 3, 2010

# 6 Pronouncing things as they are spelled.

Examples: Bombardiere - BOMB-a-DEER.

We know that's not how it's pronounced and we know their snowmobiles are not actually deer bombs (but that would make our stereotyped hunter/gatherer existences interesting wouldn't it?) We say it that way because it pisses you off (see: Sarcasm.)

True Story:
"Hey, Space Cowgirl, there is a cool exhibition that I want to check out. They have a fair, a midway, a rodeo, entertainment and shows and all this different food. We should do a road trip! It looks like fun." (This is state side, not York Boat Days. Norway House HOLLA!)
"Sounds cool, where'd you hear 'bout this Dad?"
"Read it in a newspaper at work."
"Alright then, let's go. Where is it?"
"Oh, it's in Tuck-son, Arizona."
*stifled laugh* "Where Dad?"
"Ooooooh. Do you mean TOO-sahn?"
"No. I mean Tuck-son."

To this day he says Tuckson, even though he knows a little part of me dies every time he says it that way.

What I'm trying to say is that we are socialized to this from a very young age. Not only are we socialized to the literal pronunciation part, but also to the continuous mispronunciation part. Saying words incorrectly when you're around is done because we're actually putting your uppity, pious, snooty ass into place, by using both pronunciation and sarcasm to double burn you. This also goes for singing the wrong song lyrics, and calling bands, books or restaurants by the wrong, yet similar sounding name. That's right. So, the next time you point it out to a Red person, be prepared to be annoyed. Because your attempt to make things better, will actually make things worse - for you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

# 5 Bologna

I don't know if I'm hunger or disgusted.
Speaking of whiny people who are full of crap...

Bologna. We like it. In the way of Bubba Gump:
"Anyway like I was sayin' bologna is the fruit of the Rez. You can barbecue it, broil it, boil it, saute it. Dey's uh, bologna kabobs, bologna creole, bologna casserole, fried, deep-fried, stir fried. There's mac and cheese and bologna, tomato soup bologna, bologna pizza, bologna and eggs, bologna soup, bologna stew with bannock, bologna and potatoes, bologna sandwich. That - that's about it."

We do enjoy that Rez Steak (oh for those of you less PC, Indian Steak.) We love it because it's salty, it's cheap and it's versatile! It's soul food, it's a treat and it's not even meat!! WHOA! That totally rhymed! Cool. Anyway, bologna...

We're really picky about it, Winnipeg Old Country Bologna is how we roll, none of that reduced fat, low salt, artificial sugar, mild arsenic bologna for us.

And a true Red person would never buy that Americanized pre-packaged BALONEY! What's up with that spelling? Yeah, that's how it's pronounced, but if you're straight up Red, you'll pronounce it Bo-LOG-na!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

# 4 Teasing

Oh how we love the teasing!!!

If a Red person likes you, she will tease you. If you cry about it, she will never tease you (to your face) again...which basically means she doesn't like you anymore. Generally here's how it works;

1. We lightly tease you and then assess. Do you take it like a [Red] man? Do you spit one back at us? Do you shrivel up and die? We're watching for your reactions.

2. a) You rolled with it. So, we bring some well-timed one-liners. Anything you do is up fo teasing. Thinking of wearing that same shirt this Monday that you did last Monday? Think again because you better believe we have a secret mental list of all you weird habits.
b) You teased us back. You're cool. We're now a team. Sitting in the lunchroom with the newbie? We tease each other as a way to test the newbie.
c) You cried harassment to the head honcho. We told all our friends how bad you suck and now we tease you behind your back, exclude you from all our super awesome activities and tease you even more then use sarcasm, "ONLY KIDDING! Don't forget to tell on me now! [roll eyes]"

3. a) You lose some. You win some. But mostly you lose some and we're so proud of you because you're the guy who can take it. We like you even more if you're the white guy who can take it AND if you have to explain it to your friends (ya know, the ones that cry...)
b) We're now besties. We have nicknames, inside jokes and share! as if...share clothes! But yeah, we tight! We engage in witty banter and repartee. We still like to tease other people, but mostly we like to tease each other.
c) You quit coming around and we now call all cry babies who come after you by your name, "Pffft, you're such a Priscilla!"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

# 3 Sarcasm

Some of our sarcasm operating levels are higher than others, but generally we all enjoy it. I think it is rooted in our culture. We use sarcasm and guilt to educate and guide our children.

Here's a scenario:
Little Space Cowgirl won't eat her peas, so Granny says, "Oh, well little Space Cowgirl must be saving those peas for other little Space Cowgirls in the world who don't have fresh peas that their Granny grew, picked and cooked just for her." (never happened!)

We do it to get a point across without straight up saying it, we do it to put people in their place and "help" them see the error of their ways and we do it for shits and giggles, because DAMN! sarcasm is funny.

Those whose sarcasm MO's are not as high, will not "get it" and they will have to be teased...

Monday, November 29, 2010

# 2 Nicknames

Tommy Six Toes is an actual guy I know from my Rez. He went to jr. high with us and would show us his 6th toe for a dollar (and his 12th for another dollar.) Today he's 27 and now shows his extra toes to his nieces and nephews instead of buying them birthday presents.

My cousin's name is Ojibway Prophecy Bartholomew Nicholas Morrison Abernaki. In kindergarten we learn to write our names - poor kid couldn't spell one of those names to save his life. He's 21 and now goes by Bear.

My family calls me Dawnkey - for 2 very lame reasons:
1. My middle name is Dawn.
2. My laugh once sounded like a donkey when I was 10 months old.
I'm 29 now and every card I ever get from my Mooshum is addressed to "Dawnkey."

My point? Nicknames are usually grounded in something legit- whether it be your 6th toe or beak like nose (Beaker Manigotaggon, grade 5.)

Nicknames also help make life easier for all involved - how many Tittas or Sissies do you know? Probably tons, all because a baby brother couldn't say sister.

And sometimes nicknames are made (and kept) just to embarrass the hell out of people who do, like, say or think dumb shit - ever want to put me in my place? There's lots of ways to do that, but calling me Dawnkey isn't one of them unless you want to get knocked on your ass! Just kidding! Which brings me to...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

# 1 Being related to people

Here's a random conversation between two Red people who just met,

"Hey, yuh. I'm from Sap." (Holla!)
"Me too yuh, 'fore I moved here. Ya know my dad, Tommy Six Toes?"
"Hey yeah I know Tommy Six Toes. He's my dad's uncles' 2nd cousin's real dad!! Heckin' how's he doing? I never'd saw ole uncle Tommy Six Toes for a long time!"
"He's good. Coffee?"

Finding out we're related to a fellow Red person makes feel connected to that person on a deeper level. Like sharing 1/16 of blood some how makes it possible for that person to understand you and impossible for them to ever hate you, all because... now you're family.

Also, we love to say "heeeeey cuzzin!" and then laugh but really we're just so damn happy to have that phrase to break the ice and stop feeling so awkward. Then we can cut through the small talk and move right along to the joking, teasing and inventing a nickname for our long lost relations.

And on that note...