Kitchener, The Touchy Feely City

I have mentioned several times that the people in Kitchener have been super friendly and super helpful. But sometimes, my good lord, they can be a little too friendly.

Here’s an example. I’ll be standing at the bus stop. The bus will arrive. But people are getting on and off, so I’m being caughtious. People will walk up behind me and push me forward. Or, there were people getting on, but I wanted to just sort of reach out and find the railing so then I could quickly and easily get on when a break came. Someone grabbed my backpack and tried to hold me back, using it like a kid leash of sorts. One day at the beginning of the winter when I was having trouble with Tansy’s boots and she was having trouble with the bus steps, someone grabbed a part of her leash and tried to physically hoist her onto the bus…and then thought I would follow. Please, pleasepleaseplease, hands off my dog!

I try to understand, since some of these people don’t speak English well, and I think they’re genuinely trying to help but don’t think they can find the words in time. In their mind, there’s maybe 2 seconds to get the message across…so…grab first, ask questions later. But at the same time, it’s really unnerving when I’m suddenly being grabbed, pushed and pulled when I’m not expecting it.

When it gets really annoying is when people do it who speak perfect English. What do we say to toddlers? Use your words? Yes, use your words, please.

I understand grabbing me if I’m about to walk off a cliff or fall into a manhole or be pasted by a large truck or something else equally life-endangering. But otherwise, can we just talk to each other like human beings? Is that really too much to ask?

And while I’m on the subject of taking and giving help, why do people get so upset when I politely decline their help? It’s like I’ve seriously hurt their feelings. Take last week, for example. We finally had a nice day, and I decided to walk to Freshco. I got to a corner, and it had one of those lovely snow mountains that tend to show up right at the corner. Someone was nice enough to help me get over it and back on the sidewalk. I thanked her, and started walking again. I had also casually mentioned where I was going, at which point she offered me a ride there. I thought about it, asked if the sidewalks get worse or was it looking pretty clear? She said it looked pretty good. I said I appreciated the offer, but we hadn’t had a nice day in a while, and I wanted to get the exercise. She kept saying “It’s up to you,” but when the end result was “No,” she seemed very hurt by this, which made me feel a little bit bad, but more confused, and a little worried that she would be less willing to offer help in the future.

Maybe the next day, if the weather and the sidewalks were miserable, I might have taken her ride. I never meant to offend her. I just felt like a walk. Is that really so weird?

All in all, this city has been really good to us. I can’t really complain too much. If I could just get people to stop grabbing me without warning, we’d be golden!

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