Sunday, January 16, 2005


I went to say hi to my friend A. and we decided to walk to Dupont for a quick errand I need to do for my mother. We're in a bead shop. It's a shop mixing the "I'd like to make a cheap but nice necklace" teenager fantasy and the "I can put you in touch with your inner child" new age racket for rich middle aged women. A. and I both feel out of place very quickly but it is cold outside so we wander around the store. We end up in front of the cash register. The woman in charge is tall and slim. She has grey hair and is wearing a belt made of coins. One of these traditional belly dancing belt. She is speaking on the phone, ignoring us. I hear her explaining to her correspondent the non-cancellation policy that the store or her has on a class offered in a couple of weeks. The policy is simple enough: there are no cancellation accepted. Once registered, the class has to be paid. Taken or not. I'm still listening when I hear the woman saying: "Well of course, but it's better be a good excuse, like your mother died or something". This may be part of the cultural differences that I will never bridge but speaking casually about the death of a dear one alive is inconceivable to me. Giving it as an example of a "good excuse" seems so crass, so disrespectful, so useless even. What is in her mind, I wonder, that her concept of a "good excuse" not to go to her class, is that her mother died? I turned around with my stuff. I won't buy anything today.


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