I don’t know precisely how it started, but for some reason the professor and I take great delight in playing a little game called ‘would you rather’. The point of the game is to come up with two highly undesirable scenarios and present them as choices to the other player.
As in, ‘would you rather go to a Dolly Parton concert or a Barry Manilow concert?’
We’ve been playing this ridiculous game for at least seven years. Maybe longer. It is an extremely useful tool for staying awake when you’re driving late at night and all you want to do is sleep. And it’s slightly less contentious than my other stay-awake strategy: argue about something trivial. Strange, but it’s the only thing that keeps me awake when we’re driving at 2am.
Despite its weird nature, the game does tell you something about a person. For instance, ask someone ‘would you rather be a proctologist or a urologist’ and their answer will tell you something about them, though I’m not exactly sure what. To date, I’ve only met one proctologist wannabe.
So, as we were driving through the bleak landscapes of North Dakota and Saskatchewan, the game changed somewhat to reflect our lack of excitement about our surroundings.
‘Would you rather earn a million dollars and live here (Minot or Estevan)….or earn your current salary and live elsewhere?’
The possibility of wealth was not sufficient to convince either of us to relocate to the province next door. For starters, there’s not a single Starbucks along the 600km stretch of highway across Saskatchewan. More importantly, there is a noticeable absence of trees. And it’s so flat, if you squint you can almost see Calgary in the distance.
Which means when the wind blows and there’s snow on the ground, you might find yourself driving 5mph behind a semi that is trailing a truck containing a lighted sign that says: ‘Caution blowing snow.’ And listening to the radio issue useful bulletins like: ‘driving is not advised.’
Thanks to a fantastic three or so hours on Highway 1, aka ‘the drive that silenced my inner backseat driver,’ Saskatchewan could well be the newest four-letter word in my vocabulary. If only it wasn’t so hard to spell. And didn’t have so many syllables. If you’re lucky crazy enough to drive through it en route to the U.S. or upon your return from the land of the free and the fat-free (as my friend Anna once called it) you will understand why.