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I couldn’t help but think of Shane Koyczan’s poem “We Are More” this morning as I watched the bus driver purposely ignore a man trying to get her attention to open the doors and let him on. I was thinking about this whole Canadian identity thing, this supposed politeness we are proud enough apparently to broadcast to the whole world viz a vis a poorly-executed closing ceremonies, and was beginning to doubt it’s verity as I watched him whistling, yelling, and flailing his arms to no avail. Why didn’t he just bang the window? That would surely have got her attention she was pretending to withhold. A block away and he hadn’t given up chasing down the bus to the next stop.
“He’s still running” a middle-aged passenger behind the driver said. “It’s so pathetic.”
She was laughing in a twisted way, but I suspected it was only to cover up her true feelings of sympathy. I could see she was concerned, but also trying to avoid confrontation with the surly driver.
“Well, I didn’t see him,” said the driver. A lie.
This was amazing, a complete disregard for the Canadian identity as set forth by Koyczan's poem during the opening cermonies. Was this proof, as many suspected following our boastful conquering of the Olympics, that we were becoming more ‘American’?
“He’s still running” the passenger remarked with a twisted chuckle. The driver pulled up to another stop.
“Should I tell him you’re waiting?” The laughing passenger and the driver, it seemed, were having a change of heart. Their canuck was kicking in.
“SHE”S WAITING FOR YOU,” the passenger yelled out the door. The young man made it onto the bus, panting and wheezing.
“Thanks,” he had the nerve to say.
“I didn’t see you, man.” A lie.
“Well I know you don’t want people to bang the window and…” Ironically, it was his politeness that had almost cost him his ride to work. He wasn’t even angry as he said thanks again, paid his fare, and happily took his seat.
The whole exchange left me smiling. We had tried to be rude and I thought for a moment that it was going to work, but it turns out that our new clothes didn't fit quite as well as we thought they would.