Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Minding my own business
It is pretty funny merging into the Canadian society sometimes. Just today I was at the counter of the phone place (my least favorite place to be) dealing with the problems of my phones not being used in months and months and SIM cards expiring and getting a new phone number (again!), and getting International phone time and dealing with contracts that are no use to me and yada yada yada. For all of us snow birds this is an ongoing problem, twice a year, once at each end of our travels. Anyway......there were 3 clerks helping 3 clients at 3 different counters and a few people standing in line. I found myself listening to the other 2 people as they were explaining their problems to the clerk and I found myself wanting to voice my opinions a few times as well, for some reason I wanted to get involved in their conversation with the clerk...weird. I realized that if I did this they would think I was eavesdropping or being nosey or at least be accused of not minding my own business. Then it dawned on me why I was having so much trouble “minding my own business”.
First...Not only can I hear them I can understand them, for months now I haven’t been able to eavesdrop because my Spanish is not good enough for that....I have been missing out, and now I want to eavesdrop everywhere I go. It’s like I have just received the gift of hearing and can’t stop being amazed at what I am hearing.
Second....I have just come from a place that doesn’t know what “minding your own business” is, I don’t even think that translates into Spanish, seriously, I tried looking it up and I can’t find it. I have experienced standing in line in Mexico, at the Tel Cel office, at the bank, at the Jumapan office (where you pay your water bill) at the taco stand....nobody minds their own business. By the time you are done with your business you are on first name basic with the people that are standing in line with you (for sure with the person in front of you and the one behind you), you may even know about their families and you know why they are there (what their problems is...etc) and they may even have tried to help you. When it is your turn to step up sometimes they will follow you to help you explain what you want and may even have suggestions for the clerk. Your problem becomes a group project. Now this may just be because my Spanish is that of a kindergardener and I am always in need of help (I am the needy one in line) but I don’t think so because I have stood in line with my Mexican friends and have observed how they interact with the other people in line...you become a little community, you ban together, you’re a team of people that are on a similar mission. I’ve stood in a small group waiting for a bus, and by the time my bus came along I didn’t want to leave my new friends behind, but I got on and pressed my face up against the window sadly waving good bye (insert sad music here) ....we were comrades for 8 minutes....not really that sad, but you get what I mean....you don’t mind your own business...EVER!
Then there is the loneliness that you feel here, I wanted the women at counter to know that I felt her pain, let’s face it dealing with Telus can be painful, she should know she is not alone. When you stand in line at the bank, the insurance office, or at Telus chances are you are there because you have a problem, maybe it would be nice to know that the person in line in front of you has the same problem.....it’s not just you! You are not alone! But yet....I know if I go to the Tax place later (that’s another thing I have to deal with as soon as I get here every year) and I turn to the person standing behind me and ask “so, why are you here today?” they mostly likely will think I am weird and I will feel weird. So....I go about minding my own business. It’s how we do it here.