Sweater: TJ Maxx Jeans: Kohl’s Boots: Ross Bag: TJ Maxx Scarf: Wal Mart
Here’s the story I promised you. Some of my readers like it best when I tell stories, so this one’s for you (for the rest of you, just look at my outfit and move along )
To preface this a bit, I am a shy, awkward person, and if found in a situation among people I don’t have anything in common with, I am infamously known for blurting out weird things. Also (here’s where it gets weird), I had a crush on my cousin while I lived in Saskatoon, which put me in the 5-7 age range at the time. Now, in my defense, he’s not my actual first cousin…my biological grandpa died before any of the grandchildren were born and my grandma then married his first cousin about two years later. This “crush” is my step-grandpa’s grandson. So we’re still related, but it’s distant.
All I remember is that he was older and he probably smiled at me and tugged on my ponytail, which was pretty much all it took to cement my deep and abiding love in those days (I should add that he was one of many I carried a secret torch for during that time period). I never saw or thought of him after we moved away. Until now. He has been living in London for the last number of years (we had dinner at his parents one night, they filled us in) but came in for the funeral. I seriously doubted he would remember who I was (it’s a huge family), but I immediately put him on my “people to avoid” list anyway. Here’s why: my only memory of him was that I had a crush on him as a child. Number two: Since I am known to desperately scramble to make small talk to try to alleviate an awkward silence, it was highly likely I would reference said crush. Number three: Making said reference would give the impression that a) I was hitting on him, or b) I’m a seriously weird individual for crushing on my relatives.
Anyway, my avoidance tactics were working fine. I didn’t make eye contact and I kept a safe distance. I made it through the visitation and funeral (both very long days) without so much as a nod. It wasn’t too difficult, as there were actually a number of family members I never got around to greeting. We had lunch at the church after the funeral, and then just family stayed to sing, visit, and have dinner. After the dinner, I brought my plate into the kitchen. It was completely deserted and I set my plate on the counter, turned around, and nearly ran into him. Crap. My eyes darted around frantically for an escape route. He gave me a brief smile and also set his plate on the counter. He paused for a moment, as if waiting for my cue. There was no way of getting out of there not saying anything without being unforgivably rude. Double CRAP.
I sighed in defeat and went for it. “I don’t think I’ve talked to you yet,” I said as casually as I could manage. He shook his head, held out his hand and introduced himself. After the introductions were over and the corresponding awkward silence of “what do we say now” set in, my mouth kicked into Julie mode and despite my best efforts to think of anything to say, anything but that, I did it.
“I had a crush on you when I lived here,” I blurted. No, NO. I felt my face start to heat in humiliation. Why oh why couldn’t my husband have come along to make this less weird?! He took a step back and glanced around a little uneasily. “Oh, yeah?” he asked politely. I nodded aggressively, “Yes, I was just little though, like five to seven.” Really? I had to be that specific? He looked at me for a moment before saying, “How old are you now, if you don’t mind my asking?” I told him and he answered, “Ok, so I’m seven years older than you.” I shrugged my shoulders and said that sounded about right. He asked where I was from (I’m sure he was calculating the odds of me becoming a stalker). He said he had actually been to Oklahoma before for a sporting event. When I said, “I’m sorry,” and explained that it must not have left much of an impression, he said it was actually a really good time. It just went downhill from there, because he disagreed with or countered every statement I made. He was extremely polite while doing so, but I was silently begging the floor to open up and swallow me whole. I did ask after his wife and children and made sure to mention my dear hubby to try to remove any doubts about my intentions though. Thankfully, we were saved by my brother coming into the kitchen after those five excruciating minutes and I fled.
My overall impression of Canadians (or at least among our friends and family) is that they are very polite (I even got corrected by the relatives I stayed with a time or two on proper etiquette), but they are also much more direct. On one hand it’s refreshing to have honesty without all the sugarcoating and placating like we do here, but it definitely throws you if you’re not accustomed to it. I know a perception about an area or group of people can’t be determined across the board, as there are so many factors that make exceptions. But in general, you can definitely tell the difference between people that live in different locations, which can be said for anywhere I’m sure. It’s just interesting.
Disclaimer: to any family that reads this who knows him (I refrained from mentioning his name or putting his picture up, but by revealing his location, I’m sure it took no time to figure out), but…let’s keep this our little secret, kay? (as I post this on the World Wide Web). As I said, he was polite and friendly, and I’m sure he hasn’t given it another thought, so no harm done, but I couldn’t resist an opportunity to expose my awkwardness and hopefully you got a chuckle out of it.