As the 150th birthday of Canada approaches I’d like to take a moment to remark on a well-known Canadian trait, famed across the world… our propensity for being polite. Canadians embrace this particular myth. Unlike the stereotypes that casts our country as an eternally frozen wasteland, our famed manners casts us in a good light and differentiates us from our (increasingly insane) neighbours to the south.
Apparently, every other word out of our mouth is either: a sorry, a please or a thanks. We go out of our way to accommodate, accept and tolerate others.
I don’t mean to bum anyone out (sorry!) - but Canadian politeness is as mythical as igloos in Vancouver… in August. I present to you, the evidence that our country is a pretty rude place:
- No one (especially under 35 yrs of age) says good morning. My day job is in an office setting and I sit directly across from a coworker who simply does not greet or acknowledge anyone when arriving to work in the morning. I tried greeting them myself for several weeks, maybe in the hopes of training or at least eliciting a Pavlovian response, but it didn’t take. It’s so awkward. I work from home a lot now...
- Road rage. When Canadians get behind the wheel of a car, watch out!
- A friend once said: “Taking public transportation is such a hellish experience, that people ought to be so polite to one another as to border on insanity.” It doesn’t happen...
- Racism, sadly, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and we’re certainly not immune to it in Canada. Pathetic and disgraceful.
So, by all means, go out and enjoy the festivities this weekend. Everyone deserves to have fun. Just keep in mind, as you’re making your way through the crowd, trying to get a good vantage to see fireworks, to keep your elbows tucked in lest you graze anyone with them. Canadian politeness is a thin veneer that disappears and the drop of a hockey glove and you could find yourself in need of a new jersey.
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