Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rude Canadians

Greg Taylor learned what it means to be an ugly American last month.

Only he's not one.

Not ugly. Not American.

Taylor and his family are Canadian. They moved to Birmingham four years ago when he transferred to work at the Honda plant. They've had a child here. That's child No. 3 for the Taylor family, but U.S. citizen No. 1.

In June the Taylors drove to Ontario, Canada, to attend a funeral and have a little vacation. It turned into what Taylor calls an "eye-opener."

Driving along Highway 400 in Canada. a driver surprised them with a rude hand gesture.

"He gave me the one-finger salute," Taylor said. "I wondered if I'd cut somebody off."

But it happened again.

And again.

Then it dawned on Taylor. He was driving through Canada with Alabama plates. With American plates. He was perceived as American, and he was feeling a kind of ill-will he'd never known.