MONTREAL – After telling a stranger in downtown Montreal that she’s “from Winnipeg” 31-year-old Portage La Prairie resident Sadie Nielson was horrified to discover that the stranger in fact hails from Winnipeg, forcing her to admit that she is from a small city more than 70 km west of Winnipeg on the Trans-Canada highway.
“It’s not like I was trying to lie. This stranger at a bar asked me where I was from, and I just wanted to give her an answer that didn’t involve pulling up Google Maps and triangulating the location of my house between Moose Jaw, Winnipeg, and Bismarck, North Dakota,” said Nielson, who lives and works in Portage La Prairie and has not set foot within Winnipeg city limits in nearly two years. “I was on vacation in Montreal and she had a French accent, so I thought she was a local and wouldn’t care about the difference. Now she tells me that she was born and raised in St. Boniface and wants to know what part of Winnipeg I live in and whether they also pick up the recycling on Thursday there.”
“So now I have a choice – I can admit where I’m really from and come off like a psychopath who lies to strangers because she’s ashamed of living in a town known for having the world’s largest Coke can, or I can just keep this Winnipeg lie going and look like an idiot who can’t name any of the streets within 14 blocks of her supposed home.”
Winnipeg residents polled on the interaction overwhelmingly felt that Nielson should be forced to admit her Portage La Prairie origins.
“Honestly, I’m disgusted that a Portage La Prairian would think she can just pass herself off as a Winnipegger whenever it suits her,” said 46-year-old Winnipeg resident Octavia Butler. “Don’t try to bask in the reflected glory of Winnipeg if you’ve never tasted life on her streets. If you haven’t personally sandbagged the Red River or elbowed a tourist in the eye socket at the Forks, you don’t get to claim to be from the city that provided the namesake of Winnie the Pooh.”
Back at the Montreal bar, efforts to change the subject were unsuccessful, as the stranger demanded a full account of every school Nielson ever attended to determine whether they might know anyone in common.