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“Taxi? Transport?” Another offer comes at me from a man sitting on the steps leading up to the shop.

“It’s okay.” I shake my head and smile politely.

“Okay? Okay. Where do you go?”

IMG_3911“Oh no. No. I don’t need taxi.” I keep walking down the sidewalk away from him, confused look forming on his face.

I can’t believe I did it again. This is not the first time this has happened. I have been trying to avoid the “it’s okay” phrase but it keeps sneaking into my responses to all these offers. I can understand the confusion too. On one hand, I am shaking my head no and walking away but on the other I am saying okay. And as someone trying to sell me a service I can understand why they cling more to the okay part.

I never realized how confusing this response might be. It is all about the intonation of the words and body language of polite refusal. The words being said are those of agreement though.

I have tried the more to the point “no” as a response. It seems harsh, not suitable to my Canadian ways. Even if I am refusing taxi service for the thirtieth time today I feel the need to be polite about it. And so I continue to cause lost in translation moments.

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