Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yesterday after work, i was killing time at the library while i waited to meet my friend John to go see Hot Fuzz. As i searched about the History section, a young Japanese girl quietly looked through the Travel section behind me. Suddenly out of nowhere, this short, old, and slightly balding Scottish dude walked up to the Japanese girl and asked, "excuse me, are you Japanese?" The girl looked stunned but politely replied, "yes". Just as suddenly, he started speaking Japanese to her?! Interestingly, she would reply in English so i could make out what he was asking her. She's here from Japan studying at the Glasgow School of Art and has an exhibition soon. i think he then proceeded to tell her that he had lived in Japan for the last two and a half years - no doubt teaching young susceptible girls English as a second language.

As i started to walk away - overwhelmed by the creep factor - i heard the homunculus ask her, "Soooooooo, what do you like to do in your spare time?"

Is that creepy or am i being a wee bit harsh? i don't know. i haven't had anyone randomly come up to me and ask me if i was Canadian after hearing my accent.* Then again, the dude was basing his judgement that she was Japanese based solely on her appearance. It's funny because in Toronto, people assumed i was of some ethnic origin other than "Canadian" (that is a hybrid of Welsh, Scottish, and Irish; your average British mutt). i've been mistaken for Czech, Polish, and Dutch. In fact, once while i was shopping in Roncesvalles, the woman behind the counter at the deli started speaking to me in Polish. i gawked at her, blinking a few times, until she realised that i was just another Toronto whitey. Since moving to Scotland, i now blend in with every other pale-skinned, fair-haired honky and i totally relish it.

It's interesting, however, what we do to set ourselves apart from one another. Certain subcultures cover themselves in tattoos and Canadians notoriously sew the Canadian flag on their backpacks. The most obnoxious, however, has to be Queen's University students who insist on wearing those fucking annoying Queen's jacket to ensure that you are AWARE that THEY WENT TO OR ARE CURRENTLY ATTENDING QUEEN'S.

This is one of the many reasons why i transferred OUT of Queen's. i remember i was only a few months into my first year and was only attending part-time (mainly because i wasn't sure what i wanted to major in and because i was paying for it all out of my own pocket), when i went to enquire about transferring. See, the truth is i only went to Queen's because some of my friends were already there and because well, i got in? i had no idea what i wanted to do but you might as well go to the self-described "best university in Canada" whilst you're figuring shit out, right?

Anyway, i went to the Registrar's Office to look into transferring to another university. i walked up to the woman behind the counter and told her that i was interested in transferring. And i swear that the following conversation happened word-for-word:

"What university are you currently attending, dear?"
"This one," i replied.
She looked at me, mouth agape in horror, "well. THAT is a first; no one transfers OUT of Queen's".

However, i stuck it out for another year and went on exchange to Glasgow University instead. i remember signing some document promising to return to Queen's to finish my last year there. That contract was a joke because while i was studying at Glasgow, i transferred home universities and ended up going to the University of Toronto. Sure, i lost an entire year's worth of credits but in the end, it was so worth it. The University of Toronto - in my own opinion - is an exciting and more importantly, DIVERSE, school and i'm proud to be an alumni of it.

Where was i going with this tangent?

Right. So even after moving half way around the world, i have spotted two Queen's jackets - and within the last two weeks as well. It's funny because in my six years of living in Toronto, i never once saw one and now here i am, in the ancestral homeland, once again reminded how Canadian i am because really, who else is going to recognise that familiar purple coat?

*Interesting Story: before Christmas i was at some salon getting a manicure. As i chatted away to the girl doing my nails, a HUGE woman a couple seats down from me interjected and asked me if i was Canadian. i replied that i was and she told me that she was as well. And from Montreal. She then asked me where i was from and rather than say, "Napanee", because most people don't know it, i just said, "Toronto". The morbidly obese woman said, "i thought so".

What the fuck does THAT mean?

So i asked her why she assumed i was from Toronto and she told me because of the way i spoke and my "manner". Why are some people such assholes? i mean, couldn't she have just been polite to my face and THEN be an asshole on her blog about it like everybody else?!

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