The Ottawa Citizen waxes indignant about a recent Reader’s Digest feature that ranked Ottawa the least polite city in Canada, a ranking that I myself would find hard to disagree with. Indeed, I heartily endorse the assessment: I’ve long felt that Ottawa is a cesspool of passive-aggressive public snottiness, derived, I suspect, from the critical mass of so much latent tension from so many unhappy public servants.
The comments on the Citizen piece are instructive, split between the people who’ve moved to Ottawa and, like myself, cannot get over how rude the people are here, and the lifelong Ottawans who blame the rudeness on all the provincials and immigrants who’ve moved here in the last 10-15 years.
You know which side I’m on: I’ve lived in too many places where people were nicer in public to random strangers, whereas in Ottawa I’ve been nearly run over a half-dozen times, physically assaulted on a bus, and even gotten into a road-rage incident while on a bicycle. The rudeness is most manifest on the roads and sidewalks, which is where I believe that repressed public-sector anger releases itself. Even people in Shawville notice it when they come — reluctantly — into the city.
Ottawa: big-city rudeness without any associated big-city appeal.
Previously: Welcome to Ottawa. Now fuck off.