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The Glebite - EXcuse me

by Franklin McWhittle

The Glebite - EXcuse me
Franklin McWhittle

You'll have to EXcuse me, but I get in a rather disagreeable mood at this time every summer. I read in the paper over the weekend that the Central Canadian Exhibition, more commonly known as the 'Ex' (I can't wait until it's the ex-Ex) here in Ottawa, will be moving away from the Glebe's Lansdowne Park after next year. To this I say, good riddance and not a moment too soon. I'd drive the truck myself, if I knew how to operate a standard shift transmission.

I have been lobbying various city representatives and officials for just about 20 years now to have the tribute to trailer trash kitsch that is the Ex shuffled off to the suburbs or some various podunk part of the area like South Gloucester, West Carleton, or any other sparsely populated wasteland that isn't my beloved neighbourhood that I have called home almost my entire adult life.

The way our peaceful, tranquil quadrant is overtaken during this 10 day siege every year is such a blatant affront to good taste. First, the fowl fair visitors park wherever they please, sometimes for an hour fifteen minutes in one hour zones…..(don't think the Ottawa parking patrol hasn't got a phone call about that.) Then, at night's end, these inebriated yokels wander back to their 1985 Chevrolet Celebrities with the multi-coloured doors, the overweight wife and their seven dirt encrusted kids in tow, vomiting and urinating on the street, the sidewalk, our lawn, after spending the night in the beer garden downing Labatt 50 and arm wrestling for money…..I tell you, it's a good thing these people don't vote.

Not to mention the noise. Although City of Ottawa by-laws explicitly state that all excessive noise be completely curtailed by 11:00 PM (about two hours too late for my liking), I can clearly hear a cacophony of sounds well into the morning hours, even with the air conditioner running. Every year, my wife and I are treated to a week and a half of such aural delights as hyper-charged, oversexed disc jockeys from some local radio station I can't stand providing play by play for a wet t-shirt contest or mud wrestling or some other like-minded activity on a PA system loud enough to be heard in Brockville, a concert from some talentless group of washed up rockers who haven't been seen or heard from since the Pearson era, (and for good reason) and the same drunken yobbos who will later throw up in my mail box butchering Paradise by the Dashboard Light in the Karaoke area…..if this isn't hell, tell me what is?

And then there's the inevitable occurrences in which 'carneys' come foraging into the neighbourhood for food, and especially, for drink after a hard night of pushing buttons, pulling levers, greasing the rides with their hair and hornswaggling naïve teenage girls into spending their life savings on a stuffed monkey. I'm afraid to even walk by the Royal Oak pub on a Saturday night when the Ex is in town…the sight would almost lead one to believe they were on the old strip in Hull during the height of the lumber era, what with the carnival workers' drinking, fighting, carousing and beating up police officers, all the while impeding my ability to safely return an overdue movie to the video store upstairs……

The school down the street from me even has the audacity to make parking spots available for Ex patrons! As if they should be encouraging such activity! In my opinion, these people are traitors to the community for their actions-their activities demonstrate tacit approval, and you can be sure I communicated my point of view to them! As my wife and I have no children, we are not members of the Parent-Teacher Association, who I came to find out were responsible for this travesty, but I still felt it my duty to let them know as a rate-payer that what they were doing is wrong. It is a complete sell out to everything the Glebe stands for.

Whew……that was a mouthful. By this point, you're thinking that I'm overreacting and sounding very judgmental, and in retrospect, I probably am. You know, the most depressing thing about all of this isn't that I have to put up with the Ex for four more days, it's my realization that I now sound just like one of those disagreeable pensioners I used to take such delight in mocking during my university days many years ago. Or worse yet, my father.

Posted on August 24th, 2001


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