We recently spent a week in the US….it was a very pleasant experience. Not only because of the hot balmy weather and the ocean view, but because of the people.
Americans are friendly.
It could be that having the cutest toddler on earth (!) makes them a little more inclined to be friendly with us, but I don’t think that entirely accounts for how easy it was to smile and engage in small talk with complete strangers.*
Everyone seemed willing to at least smile and say a quick hello. Many were happy to chat and engage in actual conversation for the duration of…whatever it was we were doing…riding in an elevator, checking out at the grocery store, watching our kids play in the park, riding an airport shuttle, whatever.
It was so nice.
And a nice change.
Once back home, we immediately saw and felt the difference. It only took….10 minutes? We jumped in an elevator at the Montreal Trudeau airport with Boo’s stroller, smiled at the other parents already inside and said hello. They ignored us, and shifted their gaze so as not to make eye contact. Locals.
Montrealers aren’t friendly. Though there are, of course, exceptions, I generally find them to be downright unfriendly. Often rude. And totally unapproachable.
It’s not just me who thinks so. A recent survey released by Statistics Canada suggests that the people of Quebec are less sociable than other provinces, and that they trust strangers, neighbours, whoever, less. Overall, Quebec came in dead last in a number of categories meant to determine how friendly and outgoing they are.
So yeah…not exactly sure where I’m going with this.
Maybe it just serves as a good contrast as well as an explanation why I can’t make any mummy friends at the park. The friendliest folk I’ve encountered have been grandparents (from a different, and probably friendlier, generation), and dads (because let’s face it…I’m pregnant and have HUGE boobs…of course they’re smiling at me).**
What about you? Have you noticed a difference in friendliness between Quebecers and elsewhere (anywhere)? Am I nuts? Or am I on to something here?
* Even a rough looking leather-clad biker took one look at Boo, smiled, and told me I had a “beautiful child”.
** It’s also got me wondering, yet again, why the hell do I live here? (Answer: my husband….though many might consider me crazy, I don’t particularly like Montreal)