(Showdown at the Number 12 Bus)
There I was, embarking on the simple task of taking the number 12 bus. A crowd had built up as the bus pulled up and let out its passengers. That went orderly enough but those of us who wanted to get on were not in any clear lineup. Still the earlier waiters slowly managed to spill in the front doors. But something different was about to happen to me.
I and another young gent had about equal claims to go next. So simply I took off my blue tooth headphones and said, “after you.”
Then he said, “No. After you.” He waved his hand as part of the gesture. So it was on. A true Canadian duel.
Because I had just taken my headphones off I wasn’t sure if my polite nemesis had said ‘After you,’ an earlier time. I waved my hand but he didn’t go.
Dangerously we were now the front most pair of everyone trying to get on the bus. From past trauma I knew where this might head.
A chain reaction of ‘After yous’ might spread to the whole rest of the crowd and it would be nuclear. Imagine the chaos of everyone saying ‘after you’ and no one moving. Avoiding that nuclear catastrophe, I just went on ahead.
I had lost the Canadian duel. Quietly I got on that bus and cursed my headphones and their comfort for making me lose. I also silently cursed my seat which would be slightly better than my victor’s.
But that’s what happens when you lose a Canadian duel. I would just have to play it in my head whenever I feel traumatized and make sure I learn from it so I never lose a Canadian duel again.
This is all part of the risks you take while being in Canadian society. Learn from my mistakes that day.