The Canadian Salute

The car-van was minutes away from dehydration, so I stopped at the gas station to relieve her discomfort. Eighty-five Canadian dollars later, I was in the middle of reattaching the fuel cap, when I heard a voice say, ‘so is it cheaper back home?’

I turned in the direction of the voice; to where an elderly gentleman was standing. He’d taken note of my blue Indiana license plate and was curious about the difference between Canadian and Midwestern gas prices, I gathered from his out-of-the-blue question.

The problem is, I have no clue what gas costs in the States. A friend had posted on Facebook that she’d spent $75 filling up her minivan. But that didn’t tell me much about the price per gallon. Was her car-van running on fumes, like ours? Do we have similarly sized fuel tanks?

So I made an educated guess. ‘I think it’s still a smidge cheaper,’ I lied-guessed.

The dapper silver-haired man in the blue and white shirt seemed satisfied with my answer and began telling me about his son, who is living in California because his wife is teaching at a University there. Just for a few months. They’re actually based in Vermont. He’s a stay-at-home dad. They have two kids. He will probably get a full-time job when the kids are both in school. Oh, and one of the kids was just identified as being ‘gifted’.

All this to say, ours had turned into a somewhat lengthy exchange.

The sound of a car horn jolted me back to reality. I looked up to see the passenger of a green Ford station wagon waving…impatiently. They were waiting in line, for the gas pump. And we were talking about gifted grandchildren. ‘Oh, I’d better run, they’re waiting in line,’ I apologized, nodding my head in the direction of the station wagon.

The elderly gentleman seemed unfazed, as one who’s lost the ability to care what other people think of him. ‘Agh, we’ll just give them the Canadian salute,’ he replied conspiratorially, sneaking a look backwards as he bent his right arm towards his body…….with the middle finger clearly extended.

6 thoughts on “The Canadian Salute

  1. Ha!!! Gotta love old people! There is some sort of senior citizen bus that drops off a bunch when I’m at the gym. I love them. Don’t need music or the tv… just give me those old guys to keep me entertained!!!

  2. It was very amusing, actually. I suppressed a smile and hopped in my car. The senior set can be hilarious – unless they’re librarians telling me ‘can you please get [your children] to be quiet’ after they squawked once.

  3. I wonder if there are gestures that I have been doing that are considered rude in my host country…..


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