Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Awkward Americans

My wife and I love Toronto. It’s only five hours away, so we go there fairly frequently. It’s a fun little town with lots of cool things to do. One evening in Toronto, we decided to check out the Amsterdam Brewing Company. It’s a brew pub. We had a pretty good idea where it was, and struck off without much preparation. We got off the subway a little too soon and had to walk a little extra distance. The air was nice. Canadians are nice. The sky was beautiful. So we walked and loved it. Ever so slightly lost, we were only about one or two blocks off. We arrived with minimal trouble. They had outdoor seating in a sectioned-off area on the sidewalk. We stood and waited to be seated, assuming a hostess was coming. A beautiful young girl greeted us, and instructed us to sit wherever we liked. I said, “Oh, sorry. We’re not from around here.” She replied, “I could tell.” She smiled, betraying sincere amusement. I said, “You could tell we’re Americans?” She responded, “From down the street, before you even got here.” We laughed. It was a pretty wide open street, with minimal car or pedestrian traffic. No doubt she could see us approaching. I wondered how she could identify us as Americans from that far away, though. We weren’t wearing or waving an American flag. Our attire was pretty nondescript, and didn’t have anything intrinsically American printed on it, like a Slayer logo or American football team colors. We didn’t try to economically exploit anybody on our way down the street, or declare a pre-emptive war on anybody or anything. I was dumbfounded, not hurt or offended, just honestly baffled. I wanted so badly to ask her to explain what we had done that made us look so obvious from so great a distance. Not wanting to embarrass myself further, I decided to just get a beer and enjoy the evening.

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