The Invisible Veil

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

I’m talking about that implicit code of conduct that each place has, and that varies slightly according to local customs, rules and moral codes. A transparent barrier that you work to circumvent as a foreigner when arriving somewhere new.

For instance, in Geneva, Switzerland, people greet each other on elevators. It’s normal to make eye contact and say hello as you enter, and say goodbye/have a good day/other niceties, as you exit, regardless if there is one other person in there or twelve.

In both Montreal and here in Boston, this does not seem to be a widespread course of action. People instead act as though they are alone in the elevator, either loudly continuing the conversation with the person they came in with, or by standing in awkward silence. Perhaps if one person is left, someone uneasily wishes you a great day. Hmmmm, I find this a little odd, but hey, new place new attitude. When I tried to greet people on the elevator in Montreal they looked taken aback and confused (an obvious, “do I know this person?” going through their mind). They wouldn’t answer! (how rude in my little swiss point of view). Subsequently they would greet me, either out of fear that they do actually know me, or because they realised it wasn’t half bad. Here in Boston, people actually answer back! Pleasantly! And one lady wished me a great day before I got the chance and frankly, it made my day 🙂

Another great thing about Boston, is the fact that guys hold doors for you! In my limited experience anyways. In fact they won’t budge till you go in in front of them. In other places (that shall remain anonymous) they will make a feeble attempt and then just give in when you tell them to go ahead. 🙂

Also, it snowed this morning and it was awesome.


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