Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Mille miles, quel que kilometres - pardon?

sunny, brilliant day...temps minus 3

someone asked recently and I forgot to say that the temperatures I post are celcius. So, zero is freezing. I remember when Canada switched over to the metric from the Imperial system - back in the early 80's. I'd just started with CBC Radio - my first job on air, hosting the morning show in Thunder Bay. I loved it. Learned the craft from people who loved radio, and respected the audience.

For the first year or so we gave everything in both metric and imperial...temperatures, distances, weights. Quite helpful. But then came the dreaded day when were were mandated to stop, and to just give everything in metric. I was only about 22 or 23, and even I had difficulty making that transition. I still think in both metric and imperial. I have no idea what a gram is. But then I don't really know what an ounce is either. A kilometer I'm OK with...miles are beginning to fade. Everything seems so far away when we travel to the states. A sign will say something is 50 miles away - but it takes us almost an hour. It's so faaaaar. Are we there yet? I realize I read miles but thing kilometers.

And while I'm good with kilometers, a meter baffles me as do centimeters. I'm 72 inches tall, but have no idea how many centimeters.

This is not an unusual situation in Quebec. Most kids - especially anglos who tend to learn both french and english - spend a few years mixing the two languages. So they'll say to their parents, 'Can I ferme le light?' 'Can I have a chien?' And now throw metric and imperial into the mix and it, yet again, is no wonder Canada doesn't rule the world. No one understands us. Least of all, ourselves.

Love your comments about Little, Brown. I'm extraordinarily happy.

And did 2,000 words today...up to 16,000. My goal is to hit 25,000 by the end of the week. Perhaps, a tiny voice says, I should spend more time worried about quality than quantity. But this system has worked so far, why change?

Off to see if Michael would like to take Trudy for a walk up the road. We try now to do two kilometers a day. Perhaps one day we'll be bold and try for two miles.

Speak to you tomorrow.


donna said...

Hi Louise:
When I first started reading the blog a few years ago, I was so interested in your temperature updates that I discovered a site that converts temps either way - I love when I talk to some Canadian customers, that I can discuss weather and really know what I'm talking about. Makes all of us feel like we are so much closer. By the way, you still owe us another trip to New Canann, CT - anything on your agenda as yet? Kind regards,
Donna (your original friend from CT)

Jill said...

We also speak a mix of languages, only it is Spanish and English- Spanglish. Spanglish is a language unto itself, and usually creates more confusion than actually bridging language barriers.Especially, if one has a heavy Texas twang.

Adios and bye bye!
Jill from Texas.

Laura (in PA) said...

I remember when visiting Canada how I felt like I could go so fast in a car, because the speed limit signs said things like 85. :)

We're experiencing milder weather here too, at last (Pennsylvania). It's so nice to see the sun and feel like Spring will finally come.

I love your books, and I'm so glad I've found your blog, and also see you on Facebook. Thanks for all the pleasant reading - I'm in love with Gamache! I'm so glad to hear more are coming.

Brenda B. said...

Hiya Louise,

Congratulations on the Little Brown deal in England! Such terrific news.

Your post today made me laugh aloud. "Can we get a chien?" Ha!

I love coming over the border into Canada because I read in kilometers yet think in miles. Unlike you, I'm always pleasantly surprised to arrive at my destination so soon.

Your productivity with the first draft is impressive. Hope you can meet your self-imposed deadline and take that trip to London.

Best to you in Michael,

Brenda B.

lil Gluckstern said...

You must be doing something right since your books please us so. Are you truly 6 feet tall? I still don't get the conversion without working very hard, but math is not my subject. Congratulations on Little, Brown. I've always thought you were a class act. Ouch, did I say that? Yup, I did.

Anonymous said...

2,000 words in a day is a lot. Do you do it all in one sitting or come back to it over the day and evening? I do my stint in the morning, early, and don't go back to it.

Marjorie said...

donna, I know that you are the Original friend from Connecticut and I am only a humble johnny-come-lately!

Louise, yes, do come to Connecticut. Donna and I will spoil you rotten! Besides New Canaan, the Westport Libary is very active with author events.

--Marjorie, the other one from CT

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Yes, we're in dicussions to take up that rain-check from last year at New Caanan. thanks Donna...or DFC as I now think of you...Donna From Connecticut. Or Distinguished Flying Cross.

Aren't perceptions and expectations powerful? Still takes the same amount of time to arrive, but for one it seems long and for the other it seems no time at all. Here in Canada times moves much faster because we're metric. Thank God they don't have metric measurements for time.

Yes, I am six feet tall. I no longer think of myself as tall, it's just who I am. But every now and then I see the look on someone's face when I get up from a chair. Or someone will say, 'You're tall.' I realize it's not meant as a newsflash - just a comment. As I might say, You're lovely, or You have a great tan.

I write the 2,000 words all at once, getting up only to make cafe au lait - and subsequently to use the bathroom. But I find through the day I ideas for details, dialogue, comments, descritptions come to me and I go back and put them in. So the laptop because the centre of the home, and my life.