Thursday, November 24, 2011
I have been to at least ten countries in Europe, I’ve travelled Australia and I lived in Asia for three years. Sometimes I was mistaken for an American, because I was speaking English. Once I was told I wore my hair like a woman from France. On more than one occasion my roots were showing, because I was thought to be an Irishwoman. I was always proud to identify myself as Canadian. Everyone loves Canadians. And many people wish they were Canadian.
In my first posting in Asia, one of the other teachers actually posed as a Canadian because he felt he was accepted and treated better that way. He travelled with the Canadian flag emblazoned on his jacket and backpack. He was actually from New York. Part of the reason Canadians are loved so much, I think, is because we are so polite. It is in our nature to consider others, to follow the rules, and to put ourselves last. Sometimes our law-abiding nature makes us the brunt of jokes. I remember being teased in Melbourne because I didn’t want to cross the street until the electronic sign said it was safe to go—even though it was well past midnight and there wasn’t a vehicle in sight.
Well, if we are known the world over for being polite, we should live up to everyone’s expectations, shouldn’t we? Lately some of my fellow countrymen have been dropping the ball. Here are some examples of particularly impolite and rather non-Canadian behaviour I have noticed in the past week: 1. Rushing the traffic circle. Just because you are heading straight down County Road 43 does not mean you have the right of way through the traffic circle. That funny little upside-down triangle sign means yield; 2. If you are entering a gas station and you notice other vehicles waiting to enter the service bays, do not bolt ahead of them to take a spot. They were there before you. Just because you can steal the spot doesn’t mean you should. This rule also applies to parking spots at Bayshore; 3. If you have a cart full of groceries and someone approaches with just a handful of items, you should let them go ahead of you. It isn’t going to slow you down by much. And you weren’t in that much of a hurry anyway; you had a cart full; 4. If I am speaking to you, put your smart phone away. You are supposed to be listening to me, not reading your emails and text messages. 5. (This one really gets me) If there is even one person behind you in line for the cash, do not play your lottery tickets while everyone waits. More than once I have watched a line form while some petty gambler plays and wins, plays another and wins, plays another and wins, etc.
Okay, I think five rants are enough for today. I will save the rest up for another time. I don’t want to sound like a complainer. Because along with self-deprecating humour and ripe sarcasm, complaining is another thing Canadians are supposedly known for.
Honestly, it’s the little things that count. If you make a point to consider the people around you and to sacrifice a moment of your time for them, you will make the day better for at least two people and probably many more because that goodwill spreads quickly. And what are you in such a rush for anyway? More than once I have actually pulled over to let a tailgater pass, thinking to myself, I guess he’s late for his next car accident. Oops, I guess that was another complaint. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. Have a great week and remember: I’m watching you on the traffic circle.
Posted by Diana Leeson Fisher at 8:03 AM