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Dealing with Dichotomy

Steve Campbell

As you know, I have several degrees provided through an established professional ‘Degree Provider’,
I am now a certified psychologist, anthropologist, sociologist, numerologist, certified clairvoyant (though that certificate has not yet arrived. God only knows when that will come. Canada Post being what it is.)
So I have spent a lot of time and study, and 10 bucks a pop, to become extremely wise. I now have captured so many degrees, I now just call myself an ‘Ologist’. Name your topic, tag it on in front of ‘ologist’, and I’m there.
I once had a client who asked, “Are you a criminologist?” And I confidently replied, “Give me an internet connection and 10 minutes.”
Sorry to play out my several hours of esteemed education, but this will become important when I eventually get to the topic at hand. (You may note that people who have degrees, even fake ones, take a really, really long time to get to the point, in order to impress you with the fact that they left their presentation notes in their BMW, and don’t have any idea what they can say, other than to bring on a karaoke machine, and suggest the Chicken Dance.)

So to start: What the hell am I talking about? A dichotomy is: “A division or contrast between two things that are represented as being opposed or entirely different.”
I didn’t look this up on the internet because I thought you were dumb, and hadn’t used that word in, probably, never, unless you were stuck at a cocktail party with a retired university professor, who could use this word five times in a sentence. No, I looked it up because I wanted to know I used it properly, so I don’t look like an idiot.
[Not everyone on the internet is there to prove they’re not an idiot. Some of them go on to prove they are.] So, to the point:

Getting down to business
Our County lives in a dichotomy. I feel strongly about this, because it gives me an opportunity to bring up my fake degrees and throw words at you that never appear in casual conversation.
Here’s a simple explanation: A dichotomy is when two different concepts appear at the same time – in conflict. For example: The Hatfields and McCoys. Two different ways of doing things, yet they did not understand that they had a lot of things in common: They were bone-dumb, had several teeth collectively, had guns and a willingness to shoot each other, and shared a love of possum meat. Hell, they should have been best of friends!
The County point is that new people and long-time locals are now seeming to mix. This is a good thing, considering years of, “If you weren’t born here you ain’t County,” which dates back to the United Empire Loyalists, who ironically were not born here, so ain’t County. [Note: Do not say that to a UEL, or you will be beaten with a musket butt.]

Bringing that home
Seriously, bringing this concept home is the point. We used to be us. For us, that was kind of perfect. “Hey, you’re new here? How can I help?” This is still us. We still do that. But the chemistry changes. Overwhelmed might cover it.
But, here’s where dichotomy comes in. It is similar to the concept of yin and yang. Balance. We are not the ‘Way We Were’. [I asked the Times to play the Barbara Streisand song at this point, but Corey refused, citing technical difficulties, since we work in print. Hum it to yourself if you wish.]
We are still the County we’ve always been. We know everybody, and we have the habit of slowing to a stop to let ‘left-turners’ into the chaos which is Main Street. A one-finger wave acknowledges the courtesy. We’re good with that.
We see lots of people who don’t know us, or how we work. Hence the dichotomy. I went to the Royal Hotel after the frenzy of its opening. I was impressed. As a frequent visitor to the old Royal (1970), I was first delighted that my feet didn’t stick to the floor when I walked, and the washrooms did not have an odour of vomit. So that was a bonus. Can’t say I miss that. And the huge surly waitress did not have a mini baseball bat attached to her belt. (Sorry, that was the Rickarton. I was young, I got my bars mixed up.)
So, on my visit, I looked around the room at The Royal. I did not know a single person in the room, other than my guests. You know I am a ‘people observer’ (but not in a creepy way. I’m not outside your house right now looking in through your windows. So no need to pull the curtains. And really? Spiderman underpants?).
As an observer, I saw that everyone I did not recognize in the Royal bar had some things in common:
They were way better looking than me. And way younger than me. One guy I saw had a suit and tie combo worth more than my truck. I suspect it was a special order suit from the famous French couture ‘Pepé Le Peu’.

It was here that I discovered the concept of dichotomy. Who are these people? Where did they come from? Why do they not look like us? My first thought was: Aliens. My second thought was: How does a 25-year-old have enough money to buy a $1000 suit, and probably a Porche, when I wait for the No Frills and Giant Tiger flyers to arrive before I decide what I will be eating for the next week?
Do you get the concept now? We are alike, yet entirely different. We are living in two worlds. We are what we are. What we have always been. A new wave is arriving, and do we choose ‘contrast’ or ‘opposed’? How we merge these two worlds will define our future.
I will explore this more, but I really didn’t want to walk up to the guy at the bar with the $1K suit, and whip out my County Burn Permit, and demand why he does not look like us. I hoped to also ask his model-gorgeous girlfriend if she’d ever seen Cressy at night. Bring insect repellent.

My point, which traditionally I get around to, is this: We have two different species living in the County: Old/new. Can’t get more specific than that. The mix in the blender is more complicated. We see new people coming in. Some accept; some reject.
From my point of view, we have no choice. Success happened to us while we were living our lives. It’s sometimes hard to take; hard to accept. Time for us to mesh with the new people, acknowledge the new skills they bring here, and possibly procreate with suit guy’s model girlfriend, and create a new breed of County folk: County friendly camaraderie combined with Metropolitan snobbery. Burger, fries and beer versus avocado toast, and endlessly talking to the waiter/waitress about proper wine and food pairings.
Best approach is to tell the waiter/waitress: “Bring me a beer or two before my new friend orders, because this might take a while.” Also whisper to the waiter/waitress: “I apologize. He ain’t County yet.”

  • Steve Campbell is editor and publisher of County Magazine, and the author of several books, including The County Handbook: How to Survive in Prince Edward County.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. Teena says:

    Oh Steve Campbell, you have been missed. Nice to see you here.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    I’m not sure if what is being described is a “dichotomy,” but it does sound like a great way to pass the afternoon away drinking Ex or Canadian – getting home may be a problem – call a cab. Now for me, the real dichotomy is experiencing coming into town on 49 – another summer of navigating Main St. because of construction! In no way can this be a positive thing for local business nor for homeowners who live on the overflow streets – but here we go again for another reconstruction on Main St. This is supposed to be good for us – right?

  3. Janet Kellough says:

    The newest County game is to sit in the front window at Coaches, watch people coming out of the Royal and try to predict which car (usually parked in the Post Office lot) they’ll get into. Will it be the Porsche SUV? (Who takes a Porsche off-road?) The BMW? The Freakin’ Ferrari? If you get it wrong, you take a swig of your domestic beer, preferably Ex or Canadian, straight from the bottle. If you get it right, you take a swig of your domestic beer, preferably Ex or Canadian, straight from the bottle. I thought you might enjoy trying this. You’re welcome.

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