Every so often I’m reminded that I’m living in a different country than the one I was raised in. I had two of those moments recently that I thought I’d share.
The first came while talking to a car salesman. His first question was the standard, “What are you looking for?” I told him that our basic requirements were a specific price range, a manual transmission, and room for two adults and two hockey bags at the same time. Without missing a beat, he asked, “Are they goalies?” I don’t think more than 2% of the population of America would know that hockey bags are twice as big if you’re goalie but for this salesman it was business as usual.
The second occurred on the bus on the way to work. Bus riders are a pretty … ummm… interesting group, and probably worthy of a blog post all their own. I’ve learned over time that it’s generally a good idea to avoid eye contact with other riders, especially the ones having complete conversations while sitting alone. The best way to do this is to just close my eyes, which eventually leads to a nice bus nap. So far, I’ve been lucky and haven’t slept more than one stop past where I wanted to get off. I was taking one such nap a week or so ago, and my schedule was such that my wife had taken an earlier bus and someone else was sitting next to me. (My technical term for this is “sleeping with a stranger”.) It was a particularly good bus nap that day, and I snapped awake one stop before mine just as….
what the heck?
the woman next to me… blatantly violating the First Rule of Bus Etiquette… she actually…
I can’t believe I’m typing this, let alone that it really happened…
she actually…. touched me. Physically touched me. She laid her hand… her whole hand! on my shoulder…
Faced with such an unprecedented, unthinkable situation I had no choice but to fall back on my keen social instinct, my quick wit, and my catlike reflexes. “Yes?” I said. (Impressive, eh?)
The woman at least had the courtesy to be apologetic for her stunning breach of protocol. “I’m sorry,” she said. Haltingly, perhaps embarrassed by her own actions, she continued. “I’m sure I’ve seen you and… I think it’s your wife… on this bus before… and… well, I think you usually get off at the next stop and …. I didn’t want you to miss your stop.”
Only in Canada.