It is not a preoccupation but the quest to discover the reason behind my eviction continues. There is a rumor adrift in the halls and byways of Dolphin Square that the place is being sold or there is a search for new investors. Certain activities support this theory – there is a general sprucing up with painters everywhere, safety regulations are being observed and apparently I am not alone in my ouster. Clearing out the place to raise the rental rates would support the rumor. So I am loath to admit this but perhaps it was not all about me or it is even not about me at all. One by product of being paranoid is the feeling of self importance – someone or several somebodies care enough to have it in for you. Ah well, I am becoming sanguine and forming the conclusion that London is a nice place to visit but you would not want to live here. Oh Canada, the land of super polite citizens. I am practicing my good manners to prepare my integration into the land of my birth. Concurrent with this attempt is a heightened awareness of the rudeness that is rampant in these parts. The following story is illustrative.
I was floating in the pool in Dolphin Square the night before last. I observed a woman take the two towels, mine, I had placed them on a hook outside the steam room. She put the two and her rather plump body on a chaise in the pool area. I thought rather long and hard about this but went to the pool’s edge and said, very politely: “I think those are my towels.” She totally ignored me. So I floated off, deep in thought of how to remedy the situation. I went back, employed some sign language, thinking that communication in the English language might be the problem. Still absolutely no response from this woman. I became more desperate as one needs a towel. I could steal someone else’s but would that be fair and just? No. Then I noticed that the woman had two towels folded on the seat as well as the two (of mine) that she had draped around her shoulders. So I employed self help and smilingly and unselfishly took one of the folded towels. Then I went to the steam room and complained to the other occupant about the thievery I had experienced. A certain level of outrage emerged. I went to my locker to dress and who should be there but the towel thief. I attempted to engage this woman in conversation; “Why exactly did you need four towels?” “Do you understand me or are you ignoring me on purpose” She still had not said one word nor acknowledged my presence. “Is this a regular practice of yours, stealing others towels?” All of this was said in polite and rather dulcet tones, not the California lawyer stance I can achieve. I continued to dress. The woman ran ahead of me and out toward the reception desk. I had a sudden awareness of what was gong to happen next: “If you are thinking of complaining about me, don’t bother, they love me here.” I calmly got to the reception area to hear her complaining in perfect English about MY behavior. The staff member was calling Security. I strode by: “Alexis, Stop! I am calling Security. “I am not staying, I am going home!” “They know where to find you.” “Fine, let them find me.” What happened next? Nothing, what was Security going to do, pray tell. I obviously wasn’t bothering the woman, I hardly invited her over for a drink at my place.
I spoke at length with two or three Dolphin Square Fitness Club staff the next day. We, were of concurrence. How British! Never admit that you might have made a mistake. Never say you are sorry. Act entitled at all cost. Ignore others in the anticipation that they will just go away. Always accuse others of being rude when you started it in the first place with your rude behavior. The staff are very smart and insightful. Such behavior we concluded was actually genetic, there were no reasons to look for rational causes. There is scientific theory that if there is a small and select gene pool then certain behaviors can be genetically transmitted. One acquaintance said: “Humanity has been bred out of the “upper classes” (Brits call them middle classes, I call them upper. I am writing this.) This elite group of people have been shipping their children off to boarding school at such a terribly young age for generations. It is bound to have an effect on behavior since these elites constitute a small portion of society. One person, not a Canadian, might call it in breeding. I was impressed with the level of intelligence, compassion and information of the staff members. None were born in this country or if were, they happened were from a different ethnic origin. I regularly complain of rude behavior. British people consistently maintain that it is the foreigners, they are responsible. I calmly reply: “That has not been my observation.”
Then yesterday in two different establishments, four more examples of rude behavior. Staff are cautioned always to be polite. They confided to me that the rudeness they encounter is widespread and massive.
I can hear people saying: “Go home then!” Come to think of it – I am.