This “Scary-Ass” Place

I was just at the MCC, doing what I do best and/or most often: finding more of what I already have at home. It’s one of my favourite pastimes, really. Part of what makes it fun and interesting is running into friends, neighbours, and acquaintances. And Esther, my favourite cashier at the MCC.

Something else that makes it interesting? Overhearing very loud conversations.

So, the other day at the thrift shop, I overheard two people shouting “Jesus”. It’s possible that they’re Pentecostal, praising Jesus for the deals they were encountering. Or maybe they’re French. (One of the most endearing qualities of Manitoba French people is their penchant for unconsciously swearing throughout the course of normal conversation. These are some of my most favourite people.) Or maybe they’re visiting Steinbach, striving to introduce us to the concept of using exclamations of “Jesus!” to punctuate our communication. They might be disappointed to discover that this is really not that shocking. A lot of Steinbachers do this. (Or maybe I just know a lot that do. Ha!)

It wasn’t long before I overheard this little tidbit: “Let’s figure out where else we can go in this scary-ass place.”

Okay wait. Did they mean the MCC thrift shop is the scary-ass place, or is Steinbach as a whole a scary-ass place?

Let’s break it down:

If it’s the MCC, then I wonder what did they see that frightened them? I found two awesome pairs of shoes that day, for a loonie each. So, that was not scary-ass. I also found a sweater that I love, but Andrew feels is ugly. He probably feels my new sweater is scary-ass… but I wear it anyway. (I’m confident I can win him over to my way of seeing things.) I tried on some jeans… and that DID turn out to be a scary-ass situation… but more in a literal sense, if you catch my drift.

I wondered if they’d accidentally wandered into a scary-ass department of the MCC. But which department could be perceived as scary-ass? I tend to wander over to where the books are. I’ve found many hilarious and also helpful things there. But so far, nothing scary-ass. I suppose it’s possible they found themselves in the furniture area and sat on a couch and then realized it was stained… and that could maybe be scary-ass.

Or maybe Steinbach in general has frightened them. Maybe they’ve heard about all the religion-obsessed people here, and assumed everyone here is identical to the one caricature in their head. Like that guy who drove around town during the liquor referendum with a sign on top of his car announcing something about how drinking alcohol sends you straight to hell. That man also liked to fashion old copper wire into “Jesus” and he went around handing ’em out like candy (which would’ve also been creepy). He came to my workplace and suddenly there were a bunch of copper-wire Jesuses on everyone’s desk: people felt weird about throwing “Jesus” in the garbage. But I did not. I chucked his gifts in the trash immediately and felt awesome about it. Anyway, my point is, that old man did a lot of religiously-motivated and also very messed up strange stuff and made huge efforts to manipulate people… and at a time that Steinbach was at the front of national news, he became thought of as a “typical Steinbach citizen”. So it’s entirely possible that these frightened visitors assumed this town is full of clones of that exact old man with the weird sign on his car.

Anyway, you know what’s truly scary-ass? That I didn’t bother to actually ask them what happened that freaked them out so badly. And then I judged them and wrote a blog post about them. So you know, MAYBE the thing that scared them… was me.