Welcome to Leamington

We took a trip to Pelee Island last weekend; I’m still recovering. I’ll have more on that trip, on what we saw and what we did, in a later entry. This entry is about what we found when we got off the ferry.

Taking your car across on the Pelee Island ferry is impractical: there’s limited space on the boat and it’s more expensive. So most people opt to leave their car in long-term parking at the terminal, which at this time of year is in Leamington. (Sometimes the ferry goes to nearby Kingsville instead.)

Here’s what we found when we got back:

Licence plate graffiti

To be honest — and if you know me at all, you will not be surprised — I was fuming. Graffiti on a Quebec plate while in Ontario could be politically explosive: I had thoughts of Leamington becoming the next Brockville. (The fact that we’re a couple of anglos is merely ironic.)

The ticket agent, when I went to complain, shrugged and told me to file a police report, after she had spent some time explaining how much she hated Leamington — she was from Kingsville. Fortunately the Leamington police — they have their own service — were more helpful. A little vandalism is minor, in the grand scheme of things, but the officer took down the information.

This has been a problem at that parking lot, it turns out; the police have had to patrol it fairly regularly. The cause is the usual one in smallish towns and suburbs with not enough to do: bored teenagers getting themselves into trouble.

It’s as much a problem here in the Pontiac as anywhere else, and I’m sympathetic: townspeople in charge (that ought to be an acronym) regularly omit the needs of the young from their plans. Leamington, as a tourist centre (supplying not only Pelee Island, but Point Pelee National Park — links in re both), presumably does a little better than the Pontiac in terms of available social spaces — parks, restaurants, cultural and sports amenities. But it’s also a problem in suburbs. Hell — where isn’t it a problem?

And teens will do politically explosive things. A while back, I heard that kids from one language group sprayed racist graffiti on the walls of a school for another language group — who did what to whom, and in which province, and when, are being deliberately left out, understand? They were caught; the parents were aghast; and I suspect that they hadn’t understood the repercussions of their little prank. At that age, you’re doing this sort of thing for your own amusement — the hormonal rush from doing something super-taboo.

Anyway. When I saw it in these terms, I calmed down quickly enough, and the graffito came off with the judicious use of interesting chemicals. I’m not one to complain about “these kids” — I have too good a memory to forget that at one point, over fifteen years ago, that meant me.

I knew, once I saw it, that I would blog it; I expected it to be a rant, not this little essay. Funny, that.