Having taken the dog out for a stroll, I stopped at the bank machine to do some banking. An older man stood way too close to me while I took care of my business at the ATM, but I was not too concerned; after all, I had my ferocious dog with me to protect me if needed!
"Even you can't get a bottle of wine!", he exclaimed, clearly perplexed.
I mumbled something about the obvious; it was, after all, Easter Sunday, so naturally everything was going to be closed.
"Even the banks are all closed!"
"Well, yes..." I said again, done with my own banking now, and slightly annoyed at this person's sheer stupidity. "It's Easter Sunday. Everything is closed. It's Easter!"
"Everything?" came the fellow's response, in a dubious tone, as though he simply could not believe that a bottle of wine was not to be gotten this day. "Banks, too?"
Next he wanted to know if I could help him use the bank machine; he'd hitherto always done his banking in person.
After ascertaining that he knew his PIN, I obliged. He wanted to withdraw $100; we managed to extract $20, his balance being exactly $33.47. He marveled at how easy it was (the machine even knew his name!), thanked me for my assistance, and we parted ways.
As I walked the dog along the lake and back to our home, I pondered what had just transpired. I considered that -- incredible as it was to me that someone could not know that of course everything would be closed on Easter Sunday -- perhaps it was just as inconceivable to someone that a day could exist when every shop was closed, even the basics (hehe) like liquor stores and banks!
As my girlfriend reminded me, when I later recounted the tale, she herself had been in Canada many years, and not until she met me did she truly have an understanding of and remember that there were significant days in our religious and cultural calendars that indeed businesses shut down completely. While some of us prepare for weeks on end for these days of celebration and remembrance, others just happen to focus on other priorities in their daily, weekly and annual cycles. Different priorities, perhaps, but, equally important, and certainly no less valuable by sole virtue of their difference.
When we make assumptions about other people's understanding of the world and hurry to judge interpretations that differ from our own, we expose our bias, and worse, our ignorance, that the world is not one way to all people. And in so doing, we miss all the bits and pieces the world and its diverse people have to offer.