Tuesday, November 17, 2009

adanaC ni "ereH revO" daeR eW woH

I have mentioned a number of times in the past that I live about 20 minutes from the closest border into the USA and that I occasionally go over to do some shopping. On Friday, my brother decided to take the day off so he and his wife could go get some Christmas shopping done and they offered to take me along with them. I jumped on the chance to go with them!

We had a great day of shopping and from that day, this story emerged.

I'm sure you are all familiar with the common stereotype that Americans don't know anything about Canadians.

Well, I know that this stereotype is not true.

I have more than enough American friends who realize that I do not live in an igloo, that I do not drive a dogsled to work and that I even wear shorts in the hot summer months.

I know most Americans are fully aware that day-to-day life in Canada is not very different from day-to-day life in the states.

But, unfortunately, as with all ill-founded stereotypes, there are bound to be the select few individuals who provide evidence to suggest that these stereotypes do, in fact, exist. And what's even more unfortunate, is when this evidence comes from someone who lives close enough to Canada that they could almost walk there.

I came into contact with one such individual on Friday while shopping in Buffalo.

I was all set to check out at Marshall's and took my merchandise up to the counter. While the lady was ringing my purchases through, she said to her coworker, "I finally figured out why Canadians always enter the line wrong."

(Background: it's the kind of line that has a sign that says 'Please Enter Here' and requires you to walk through a maze like line to get to the checkout, whether or not other people are in line.)

Obviously as soon as the checkout lady said this, I was intrigued to find out what her reasoning for this claim would be. But I kept my mouth shut.

"Why?" Asked the co-worker.

"Well, because Canadians learn to read right to left and bottom to top, so they can't understand our sign."

I could hardly believe my ears!

"WHAT?" I exclaimed.

"Yeah, I found out today that Canadians read right to left and bottom to top so they can't understand the sign and enter the line from the wrong way."

"Well, I'm Canadian and I don't read that way. Where did you get this information?" I asked her.

"A Canadian lady, an older lady, was here this morning and she tried to butt in line and I explained to her how the line worked. She told me she didn't understand the sign because she reads right to left and bottom to top."

I could not believe how serious this woman seemed.

"Well, I'm sorry. But either that woman was crazy or she was trying to yank your chain." I informed her.

What I didn't inform her was that likely the lady was trying to yank her chain, since I know lots of Canadians who like to see what kind of things they can make Americans believe about us.

A look of relief crossed the checkout lady's face and she said, "Good. I was so upset about this all morning. You know, my poor nephew lives over there [sidenote: I love her use of the terms 'poor' and 'over there' as though Canada is some distant land where one should not dare to venture] and I was afraid he was going to learn to read all wrong."

I assured her that her poor nephew would likely fare just fine as a result of being brought up over there in Canada and that he would, luckily, learn to read from left to right and top to bottom just like he should.

I laughed about this for the rest of the day. Actually, the rest of the weekend. No, scratch that, I'm still laughing about it now.

So this message is for all of my dear American readers, please continue to send me comments and e-mails in left to right, top to bottom format ... I'll figure it out. Somehow, I am sure I'll manage over here in Canada.


Brooke said...

lol - when i think "over there" i think of across the ocean.

but you were obviously up north cause down here in the south we'd say "poor fella...living over yonder"

Tereasa said...

Oh L, that really is funny. The honest truth, L, is that most Americans DON'T know anything about Canada because we're taught to not care about anything but the Greatest Country in the World. This is ingrained in us early on. Many Americans don't give any country a second thought.

d.a.r. said...

Absolutely hysterical. I mean, Canada isn't North Korea or anything....sorry, being politically correct ain't my cup o' tea :)

Cute story, thanks for sharing!!

Summer B. said...

HAHAH! Love this post! Love U!

Jessica said...

Oh my gosh! People are absolutely crazy! LOL

Brittany Ann said...

Oh, you "poor" thing, living "over there!"

LOL! So funny! I met a Canadian teacher I went to this summer, and she (along with plenty of other wonderful Canadians I know, including you!) have convinced me it may be a far better place to learn skills, such as reading, than here!

People are crazy! Well, Americans are crazy! Sheesh, why am I always so embarrassed by my own countrymen?

Lucky in Love said...

Oh my goodness! This is hilarious :)

Holly said...

Bwahahaha! Funny story!
As a dual-citizen who has spent plenty of time in both Canada and the US, and love them both, I have to respectfully disagree (to a degree) with Tereasa, though. Yes, Americans think their country is great, and Canadians think Canada is great, and Brits think Britain is great...etc. And American children learn about other countries in school to probably the same extent that Canadian children do. And if Americans don't care about other countries, why are they the first ones to send aid after a disaster, or to rebuild a country after war?
Sorry, L, don't want to get all political on you. It's just human nature to know more and care more about your own country.

However, there's no excuse for being so gullible as to believe that another English speaking country "learns to read the wrong way"!

SnoWhite said...

that's hilarious. I know too many Canadians who like to see how far they can get the gullible American's to go ;-)

shopping in buffalo, eh? too bad we weren't nearby this weekend!

Jenn said...

wow. all i can say is that i'm sorry on behalf of all moron americans.

seriously - right to left, bottom to top??? the fact that someone is dumb enough to believe that really blows my mind.

Jenny.Lee said...

That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! Some people make pranks too easy to pull. ;)

Kayla said...

Haha, I love it! I could not, for the life of me, read what your title was of this post until after I finished reading it! :-) I love it. I hope you're having a great day "over there" you "poor" soul you!

Shaina said...

Yep...it's still funny.

...::Mrs. Southern Bride::... said...

LOL, okay that is hilarious!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, that is hilarious!

I've played the "I'm from the Deep South so I'm not very smart" card before. Sometimes it comes in handy.

But I'm cracking up at a little old lady pretending she can't read just to cut in line. That's priceless!

Emily said...

Ha Ha! I had to read your post to figure out what your title said. How funny!

Kristen said...

haha that is hilarious and now your title makes sense! I have never been to canada and have never lived near the border but I have always thought that you are just like the US, just more north :) If that makes you feel any better! haha.

Jackie said...

You mean you don't live in igloos? *Smile* You are too funny!

When I visited Canada the only different thing I noticed was that all your packaging is in English and French. That was different from the good old US of A, but that was about it.

BTW, I have to second Holly, I LOVE being an American and there is nothing wrong with being proud of where you are from...just don't allow yourself to be ignorant.

Gwen said...

Too bad that clerk missed a class or two on critical thinking or she might have realized that she had been suckered. It scares me how silly people can be, but it does make for hilarious stories!

Lindsey Carver said...

Baaaahahahahaha! I didn't know any of those stereotypes. In fact, I didn't realize there were any about Canadians at all! But nevertheless, I'm so glad to know that you read normally just like me! ;)

Country Dreaming said...

It's just another example of how stupid people can be!


PS Most people in this country think that those of us here in the midwest live in the "sticks" and
"go to town" for groceries on our horses!

TRICIA @ The Zoo said...

LOL! !?erA uoY eruS

That woman reminds me of my mom actually. Is that bad? I mean in the "I believe what everyone tells me no matter how ridiculous" kind of way. ;)


P.S. Next time you are gonna be on this side of the lake, you sure better let me know, girlie!! ;)

TRICIA @ The Zoo said...

Notice how I mixed that up for ya"! ;)

Taryn said...

you guys like to mess with our heads? How wude. well not really- I would too If I were you- we can be a little silly down here sometimes. = )

That is a crazy story though.