By Popular Request: A Ranty Story About Whistler

On Monday Bonnie stayed home with her mom because she was sick. Kale and I decided to take advantage of the “day off” and we decided to join Ross at work, as his work that day was a trip to Whistler for one of his job sites.

I should stop here and remind everyone that I have ZERO interest in any sort of a downhill activity especially one that involves things like ice  and planks of fibreglass, and Whistler has NEVER interested me as a destination. I think it’s overpriced, clique-y, and overrated. BUT, Ross has been spending at least one day every few weeks – and as frequently as twice a week – for the past two years driving to and from Whistler. I have had a love / hate relationship with Whistler during this time – trips to Whistler mean Ross is and was frequently late picking me up – prompting a pregnant me to beg a ride or take transit, which at the time was simply unacceptable to driver me. I declared that Ross was not to make any trips to Whistler that last month of my pregnancy either, insisting that it was simply too far to be away in case I went in to early labour. But Whistler also means bread on the table, lunches paid out as expenses, and long hours billed. So as much as I would love to hate it, I realize that it also represents income.

So for two years Ross has come and gone from there, and back in the spring when Kale started getting more fun and mobile, I suggested that maybe we could tag along one day, and drop Ross at the site and continue on our way and maybe the three of us manage to grab some food on the way back together. So when I got the call Monday morning that Bonnie wasn’t feeling well, and I knew Ross was headed to Whistler that day, it seemed like a good opportunity to make good on that idea. After all, the job up there is winding down and there aren’t going to be that many more trips. So off we went.

The drive was lovely, I managed to get a bit of work done on the laptop, and we dropped Ross off at the back of a winding and mostly completed job site without incident. I don’t have much interest in the job sites themselves so we had no reason to stick around once Ross was unloaded. Kale and I headed to the mostly deserted village and wandered around looking at all the overpriced shops staffed by people with accents, and then had a nice picnic lunch in the back of the car while watching a cop pull over a tourist. I was sort of bored at this point and so decided to drive up the highway a ways to see if there was any sort of a provincial park or regional trail or something and sure enough, just north of Whistler, we saw the signs for Nairn Falls and pulled over.

Not best photo of me, but oh well.
Not best photo of me, but oh well.

I got Kale suited up into the backpack carrier and we headed off. It’s a nice trail – 1.5 kms one way with rolling up and down and the odd rocky bit, tree root, etc. In the back of my mind I wondered if a cougar was watching me and if I looked like a waitress bringing a little snack on my back, or if a bear was going to stop by and say hi, but other than the odd hiking couple, it was quiet and peaceful and in hardly anytime at all, we reached the falls. The top is  all fenced off (see also: plummet to your death in watery grave) , so it’s not exactly the best place to take a picture using a camera phone. But it was nice to get my feet moving and the weather was nice and it was the perfect length of hike.

We headed back toward the south side of town – that’s where Ross’ job site is – and along the way stopped at the Southside Diner for a few take out burgers for Ross and I to eat along the way home, and I drove to the job site. The contract security guards waved me through when they saw the pass hanging from the mirror, and I drove back to the pre-arranged spot. Ross was there and I changed Kale’s diaper while he loaded his gear. I guess it took us about 10 minutes to get loaded and turned around and drive back to the entry gate. And I guess one of the “mobile security units” spotted me changing Kale’s diaper and radioed ahead to the gate.

Instead of the usual waving through, the gate guard had us stop and then said to Ross “You work here.” Ross replied “Uh, yeah.” (Perhaps the car full of stinky testing gear, contractor parking pass, and dirty clothes were the first clue.) Apparently I am unable to speak for myself, as the guard then sneered  “Does she work here?” and he motioned to me. “Uh, no,” said Ross.

That was what  my friend the security guard was hoping to hear, I guess, because he launched into a lecture about how we were on a JOB SITE and ONLY WORKERS WERE ALLOWED and it was a SECURITY RISK and how I HAD BEEN SPOTTED WALKING AROUND (the car?)  BY THEIR MOBILE UNIT and how CHILDREN WERE NOT MEANT TO BE THERE (okay, I will give him that one, but seriously, I changed Kale’s diaper in the back of the car, it’s not like we at the playground) and how THIS WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE and that WE SHOULD KNOW BETTER and as long as WE UNDERSTOOD he would do us a favour LET US GO. Because I guess he believes he has the power to arrest me?

It took every single ounce of my being not to inform the self important security guard that unless they were searching every car as it went in andout, they had no right to speak to me about SITE RULES because DUDE IT’S YOUR DAMN FAULT YOU DIDN’T STOP ME AT THE GATE IN THE FIRST PLACE. The parking pass hanging from our rear view mirror is for the car – not the person. If they want to make it so that only certain PERSONS can enter, then they need to issue photo identification, not hang tags that are visible from their stool in the security house at the gate. GET UP OFF YOUR ARSE. A security guard’s job is to OBSERVE and REPORT, not lecture me. Not tell me what the rules are. I wanted to shout “OBSERVE AND REPORT DOES NOT INCLUDE SMUG LECTURES, ASSHAT.” I did refrain, primarly because I shoved burger in my cakehole to prevent myself from doing anything stupid. This is, after all, Ross’  job site and like I said, this is what puts food on our table.

So this sealed it for me. Whistler, you can kiss my bum. I’ve never really been interested in vacationing there, I am not interested in the recreational activities it offers (including the drugs and clamydia, thanks), and I am definitely not interested in that big huge expensive corporate activity that’s going on there next February – that one can shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, especially.

The Jen Arbo List of Things I Boycott is pretty small, but when something goes on it, I stick to it. It  includes Future Shop due to a cosmic customer service FAIL, and so on our way back from Whistler, I tweeted to show my righteous indignation:

Somehow the word "tweet" isn't angry enough.
Somehow the word "tweet" isn't angry enough.


That last one was posted the day after. My rage was so great that I stewed on it all night and in a fit of creative outburst I wrote a haiku. A few of my Twitter followers asked me what had happened. I let the whole thing go as soon as I pressed “submit” on that haiku, but the requests prompted this ranty blog post. I realize the guy was just doing his job but it was pretty obvious he was getting some serious satisfaction from giving us a lecture. Security guards are leeches. 9 times of 10 they don’t even complete half of their job description properly (Step One: Observe, Step Two: Report, Rinse, Repeat). These are the people who get off on domination and get off on being the ones calling the shots, and who make mountains out of molehills. I realize their task in life is NOT to act as ambassadors for entire towns, but it is  the gas station attendant on your way out of town, or the server at the local chain restaurant, or the security guard that you talk to at the place you are visiting that leaves the most indelible mark on your memory of a place,not the beautiful waterfalls or the lovely drive, or the amazing burgers.  Whistler will forever be  sour in my mind.

12 years ago

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