From time to time I visit an acquaintance of mine who works in the Kittery outlet malls. I worked out that way for years when I worked at Linens ‘N Things. Even when that closed the convenience store I worked at until this past January is just north of the malls, so I still got to deal with all of the tourists going through town. I can perfectly relate, then, when upon visiting her she started ranting and raving about the Canadians. She was friendly enough to me but apparently she had a rough day. For the first five minutes as she went on I remained uncharacteristically silent, only letting her know through body language I was listening. I perfectly related to what she was saying.
Yet the thought occurs that I was very much constantly in that state a year ago. It didn’t hit me how much of a relief it was to quit the job at the convenience store, at least not in that regard. I knew that I was giving myself more time to relax, sleep properly, and focus on artistic endeavors. I didn’t really think much of how much stress I let go when it came to dealing with people in general, let alone tourists. In my job at the department store I don’t have to interact with customers that often. Even when I do, I don’t identify anything they do as “tourist.”
I should pause to make that distinction. I don’t have a problem with Canadians in general. My problem is with people when they go into tourist mode. There’s something that happens that shuts down essential social functions in the brain when people enter that mode. It just happens that a good percentage of tourists we get come from Quebec. Interestingly, I brought this point up to my friend yesterday. She agreed on principle but she also knows people who live in Canada. According to what she’s heard the rest of Canada even looks at those from Quebec with a level of disdain. Granted, she was in an agitated state so I took her generalities with a grain of salt. Still, with what she said and the fact that I know that Quebec has tried to succeed before I couldn’t help but draw a comparison with Texas in the back of my mind. I voiced this to her but quickly had to apologize. As soon as I said it out loud I remembered that she’s from Texas originally.
I feel sorry for my friend. I can’t help but take her anger from yesterday to make myself feel calmer, though. Despite how broke I keep getting because I don’t have two jobs anymore and have yet to figure out my finances, I don’t regret quiting that second job. Every way I think about it I keep finding reasons why I’m glad I’m not there anymore. Not being a people person generally I can’t handle a job like that any more. I’m surprised I did for so long. I’m still not doing what I want to do for the rest of my life professionally, but the job I have right now will do. I just hope my friend can find her own way out.