Accidentally Starting A War With Native Americans

Posted: July 1, 2013 in One More For Love, The World Needs More Canada

rotherham

I am in Canada, relaxing with my co-leader Long Distance Claire-a and bosses Sean and Melissa. We have a couple of hours free and have decided to go shopping. Canadian shopping malls are great! Full of random cars reclining, giant food courts and American eagles. We’ve got slurpees, and are looking inside one of the eagles. I am asking the counter girl a question when Long Distance Claire-a and The Bosses join me at the till. I have been asking about obscure Nixon products and the girl has had a look in her eye.

A look that only I get.

As well as many others.

Constantly.

Every two years. Counter Girl has a burning question, and seizes the gap in handbag-comparison-conversation to flame on.

“So, where are you from?”

I smile. But not as much as I did the first 600 times I was asked this question this week. Still, Counter Girl has seen me comparing handbags, so I’d better do what she says.

“England.”

“Oh, where in England?”

Classic. All Canadians ask this question. Only none of them know more than London or occasionally Rotherham; and that’s only the ones who’ve imported The Chuckle Brothers DVD. I give the usual response.

“That depends on how well you know England.”

“Try me!”

I smile, and try her.

“I’m from Birmingham.”

She pauses.


“Is that… in London?”

I sigh, and Long Distance Claire-a laughs. She has recently heard of Birmingham and Rotherham.

“Well what are you doing here, then?”

I pause. For I am with Sean and Melissa. Two ambassadorial heavyweights with shades and fists. I can say I’m on holiday. Or, I can go into detail, and talk about Street Invaders. Say I’m here to serve the local community, and talk about how ridiculously loving and incredible Jesus is. Only thing is… this is a jovial conversation. A light verbal lunch. And surely that’s… OK? Because I’m a normal person! Not some religious nutjob!… Right?

But then Jesus really is that loving, healing and life-changing. And most definitely worth making things a little awkward for. And she’s opened up the conversation.

And Sean and Melissa’s fists are right there.

“I’m here to serve the community with summer activities for teenagers. Also I’m here to tell people about Jesus.”

I look at Melissa’s fists. They are asleep. I am safe. For now…

“Oh right…”

“Would… you… like to talk about Jesus?”

“Oh, yeah…”

Silence. Hang on.

“Y…yeah…?”

She said yes?! Oh no! Suddenly everyone is aware of the awkwardness. Sean chips in and moves the conversation on. I sigh, and decide that Jesus has more tact than I do. We leave the shop, and the girls head off to some girly shops. Like barbie shops. Or knitting shops. Sean and I check out the 4×4 knocking about near a fountain.

“I saw what you tried to do there, Dan.”

I smile.

“I’m not sure she really understood what you were saying.”

Ah.

Sean laughs.

“But nice effort all the same.”

I smile, and realise that I don’t know why a big car’s called a 4 by 4. Sean’s here, and a genuine man, so I decide to keep quiet, and ask if he would prefer to be burning alive without any dogs, or be constantly covered in dogs for the rest of his life.

“You know what I’m wondering, Sean?”

“…Why they call them four by fours?”

I blush.

“Erm… nah. Just…”

He smiles. And I realise I’ve already asked him about the dogs once this afternoon.

“…If we could go to the West49 shop?”

He smiles, and leads me round the corner, to discover that West49 have cleverly guarded their entrance with stock stacks (or ‘stocks’) to keep people from stealing all their cool clothes at recommended retail price. I sigh, and mentally plan a path inside. By which I mean I planned it in my head, not while running around bashing my head off steering wheels.

I step forward, and miss-time it as a young Native kid leaves the shop.

Backwards.

Dancing.

Doing the robot! Peter Crouch never did it backwards. I am impressed at his avant-garde dance-based revolution as I step forward to move into the recently-vacated few inches to his left.

When he reverse-dances back a few inches to his left.

Oop… I am stunned, and step back, as Dancing Boy moves into the space. Into my way in! I’m still close, so try to squeeze past; just as Dancing Boy dances awkwardly on the spot, unaware of my increasingly forced spaghetti-like presence. Finally Dancing Boy clears the area, and I turn to Sean and smile. “Did you see that?” I ask. And hear a reply. A reply I was not expecting. A reply from a female voice…. Wow! Did that count as clubbing? Have I… pulled?

“Yeah, was that guy just dancing a little bit?” replies Sean.

I am looking around, ignoring the opportunity for a Flight of the Conchords reference whilst trying to find the source of my spontaneous public appraisal, when I see her. Awoman. A definite woman. A Native woman. A middle-aged.… Native woman.

Oh no!

I stare at the woman blankly as she steps round the corner with a look of pure The Expendables 2. I feel guilty, but have never even met Liam Hemsworth. I replay her words in my head as her husband drags her round the corner.

“Are you taking the mick out of my son?”

Is she freaking kidding me?! Taking the mick? I was just moving about wierdly to get past her boy as he moved about wierdl….

Oh.

She thinks I was dancing ironically. At him.

“Sean! That woman was about to start a fight on me! She thought I was ripping it out of her kid!”

Sean laughs.

“No way!”

“I know! That must have been how it all kicked off with the pilgrims and the natives and that.”

Sean laughs again.

“Erm… yeah. Probably.”

We go into West49 and compare handbags.

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Comments
  1. William says:

    Now we sound the drums of war… 😛 Well, misunderstandings are gonna happen, and do Canadians REALLY know that little about England? Interesting piece…

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