My old pal BritneyCanadaWhore and I were recently discussing how ridiculously polite Canadians are. We will apologize for anything, and mean it. Back in Toronto, I once stepped on a woman’s foot in the streetcar. She apologized to me. Or was that BritneyCanadaWhore’s story? I can no longer recall because I have so many stories of similar Canadian overly apologetic politeness, my own and those of others, that this could have happened to me or to a hundred Canadian pals any day of the week.
Americans are perplexed by my willingness to apologize if, say, they spill hot coffee on me, call me a stupid whore or steal my wallet. “Why the hell are you apologizing?” I have been asked more than once since I moved here.
I tend to think of it as charming at best, doormat at worst.
And today was one of the doormat moments. After the jump, read my tale of semi-woe. While it doesn’t involve an unnecessary apology, it does involve that other hallmark of Canadian politeness — an unwillingness to complain.
So I woke up the other day with a neck like concrete, unable to move my head in any direction. I booked a massage at a spa near my work that did wonders on my neck a few weeks ago.
I get there on time. I am lying on the table at exactly 1:30, as instructed. Minutes pass. And pass. And pass. The masseuse, different than the woman I had a few weeks ago, finally enters the room to begin the massage at about 1:40, so, of course, since I was paying $90 for an hour, I assumed the massage would end at 2:40. It did not. At exactly 2:30, the massage was done. Of course, I was blissed out at this point, and as I sort of came to, I realized I got ripped off by 10 minutes, or almost $15 worth of precious massage time. And did I SAY ANYTHING?? NO!!!
Even though I was fuming and pissed off, I paid her, thanked her politely and left the spa.
Why? I guess it’s the debate you have in your head — am I really going to cause a stink about 10 minutes? Am I going to call her back in here to give me the full hour? Am I going to demand she charge me only $75? Wouldn’t that be an asshole thing to do? Isn’t being an asshole unCanadian?
I still don’t know. What would you have done?
p.s. The worst thing is? My neck doesn’t even feel much better.