Unspoken Rules in Life

Culture and Etiquette: two concepts I am really fond of. There are just some things that we as a society do – or in my opinion if you’re not already doing,  should be doing. For instance:  

How to cough and sneeze: It made me happy when Health Canada had the advert visually showing people the sneeze into your arm. But really, no matter what some people still can’t get the point…


This morning on the train I watched as a woman sneezed into her hand and then proceeded to rub them together. Okay, I know that I am a germ-a-phobe.  I accept, heck, I even embrace it, but that is just wrong. Obviously she was trying to rub the germs in really good. I then watched her touch a handle when she got got up. Oh, the horror!

Is it rude to be this messy? Oh, probably. I have a good excuse for this... I promise.

I might hate germs, but tidiness has never been a strong suit. I have a good excuse for this... I promise.

Or, in the washrooms at work – we have three stalls therefore the middle stall should only be used if the outer stalls are already in use. You are allowed to use the middle stall if alone, but I tend not to, as you never know if someone else is going to come in, and then you’re in a pickle (Confused yet?). Don’t even get me started on when it’s okay to have a idle chit chat while using public restrooms.

These are all things that are important to me living in Canada. I like rules and order, right and wrong. I feel comfortable knowing that I am not the nastiest person on the train. But when I leave for Africa how will I know the rules, especially the ones that aren’t going to show up in a travel book?

While my sister was in Zambia and they were taking public transit. It was known to everyone that when the bus stopped, women walked to one side and men to the other to take care of their business. What if I walk the wrong way? One would hope that I would notice before I pop a squat.

The question remains: who will tell me I have just made a crucial mistake when I am in Botswana?

Mind you, one doesn’t even need to move to a different continent to have awkward social situations.  One of my most favourite recent stories ocurred when a lovely friend was getting a massage. I have gone to this particular masseuse before, but after getting my ear yakked at for an entire hour I could hardly stand it. I digress: apparently this masseuse has no personal boundaries. As a masseuse one probably isn’t big on boundaries but I think there is an unspoken rules that all should follow:

3. When a client has ceased to answer any of your inane questions, take a hint: she don’t feel like talking.

2. Never use the client’s fingers to push up your own glasses.

1. Never stop mid-massage to illustrate your point on the client’s forehead.

See: unspken rules, ones I think should never have to be said, but are simply understood…

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