Oh, I do love my fellow Canucks. We are just soooooooooo polite and ‘nice’.
I was at the movies recently – the one where you can buy your own ticket at a separate computerized kiosk or, line up forever, watching as people order huge amounts of very expensive food.
I opted for the computerized kiosk. I had cash. But it wasn’t immediately obvious if it accepted cash, so I asked the young woman beside me at the other kiosk if she knew if I could use cash.
She said she didn’t know and then I saw the information on the screen and it was clear that I could only use debit or credit. I shared with her there was no cash option. She responded with, “Oh — sorry.” It was, you might say, the most quintessential Canadian moment. She was, in fact, apologizing for something she had no control over. Just recently I had the sorriest day of my life. Everywhere I went, people were sorry. Sorry, they didn’t have smaller bags, sorry if, when reaching in front of them I said “excuse me” and they said, “Oh, sorry eh.”
It even happened when I was driving. A young woman drove in front of me when she should not have done so (last minute through a yellow and turning left) and she mouthed an exaggerated “sorry” at me with one of those ‘OMG — I shouldn’t have done that’ looks. (I call it the ‘yikes’ look… mouth stretched side to side with teeth clenched together, brow furrowed, eyes looking worried.)
Clerks apologize when I don’t win the lottery — by saying “not a winner — sorry.” If you are in a clothing store, they apologize… “Oh — it didn’t fit? Sorry.” (Which is infinitely better than “ate that extra piece of cake did you?”)
“Sorry” was heard in the grocery aisle when someone was in front of me, reaching for something and momentarily held me up. Now don’t get me wrong. I love polite people. They are so much nicer than the rude ones. Being raised very British, manners, courtesy and politeness were very important in my house. I still say ‘excuse me’ when I walk in front of people. Actually, a young man said that to me not that long ago and I was totally surprised. I was going to compliment him on his manners, but his long legs took him away from me faster than I could gather my shocked thoughts together.
A neighbour asked me to help out with something minor and as it turned out, I couldn’t do much and guess what I said? “Sorry ‘bout that.” If my dog gets in the way of my feet, I apologize to her. It really is a reflection of how kind and considerate we are as Canadians. We do care about others and we like to think we can perhaps make someone’s day a wee bit better if we are respectful toward them. I believe we can.
I hope this column made you smile and reflect on times when you have said ‘sorry’ for something you were not responsible for.
If it didn’t, well, sorry eh.
Carole Fawcett is a Writer/Editor, Humourist. www.wordaffair.com