“lmao” i typed, despite my ass remaining firmly attached
- me: i wish a boy would like me
- boy: i like you
- me: no not you
I didn’t grow up on Rez because I’m not First Nations. I’m Métis, and not from one of the Settlements in Northern Alberta, where there is actually a land base somewhat comparable to the reserves. I have a lot of First Nations relations and I’ve spent time on different reserves, but that doesn’t make me First Nations either. Still an off-rez, off-Settlement Métis.
So the only reason I call our cars ‘rez’ cars is because growing up, beaters were all called rez cars. And yes, there were definite racist overtones to that name. After all, being and Indian or being ‘like an Indian’ was (and often still is in Alberta), something to make fun of. But maybe our cars were just ‘working class poor rural people’s’ vehicles, because living on the rez is about more than shitty cars folks.
And while I can laugh about it now, our cars were nothing to get nostalgic about. My dad is a pretty handy mechanic, so of course we drove beaters, because he could keep them sort of running and he didn’t want to ‘waste money’ (that we didn’t have anyway) on a newer vehicle.
To be honest, our vehicles were even shittier than a lot of the real ‘rez cars’.
Like the Volkswagon Beetle my mom used to drive me into Alberta Beach in. The heater didn’t work, so in the winter my dad used a pipe that drew heat from the motor, and radiated some warmth. The thing was, the pipe had to come in through the passenger side window, so that window was always cracked open enough to accommodate it, and if you touched the pipe, you faced a serious burn. You were always freezing in that piece of a shit car, and if you stopped, it would stall out. So you didn’t stop. You rolled through stop signs and hoped the simakanis didn’t bust you up for it. Meanwhile, mom smoked the whole way and you wanted to pass out from the exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke.
Or the Lada, with no padding in the backseat, just springs that we covered up with an old army blanket. I know my siblings have fonder memories of that car because they used to go bagging in it through the muskeg. Froze our asses off in that car too.
Or the ‘Turtle van’, named after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Volkswagon camping van. Okay it was kind of cool and I ended up living in it for a while, but whatever. When I was young, it mortified me because it ALWAYS stalled and you’d have to hop out and push it to get it going again. My friends thought it was cool, but I never felt anything but shame for being so fucking poor and having such shitty wheels. It screamed “WE ARE POOR”.
But you could fit a lot of us in that thing, holy shit.
And we did a lot of bagging down back roads with five in the backseat of a beater with a sixth person laying across, three in the passenger seat…we did it but it was hella dangerous. I was in a truck that nearly rolled with seven of us in the back, and we were the lucky ones. I had friends burn to death in wrecks, or get hit by drunk drivers on the back roads, or hit someone while driving drunk. Nothing to fucking celebrate there. Nothing romantic about poverty and death.
Thing is, with the oil boom in Alberta, rez cars seem to be a thing of the past. People from the reserves have nice wheels just like most everyone else, rich or poor. It may not last, because the oil booms and busts. My parents bought their first new vehicle ever a few years back. What a foreign idea for so many of us out there, but things change.
So fuck rez cars. You drive them because you have to, not because you want to, and there’s nothing to glorify about not having a choice.
OMG DENVER IS SOOOOO GORGEOUS YALL
I WAS THERE AND SAW THE GORGEOUS