Ob·tuse ( b-t s , -ty s , b-) adj. ob·tus·er, ob·tus·est
1. a. Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.
b. Characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity: an obtuse remark.
c. Not distinctly felt: an obtuse pain.
2. a. Not sharp, pointed, or acute in form; blunt.
The other day I was waiting for a bus when a gentleman wandered up to the stop and looked over the timetable. He then asked me if I caught this bus often and if it was slow (in my experience I either just missed it or it’s late).
When I answered him, he asked if I was Canadian. Good ear. I returned the favour and asked where he was from, which turned out to be South Africa.
We then proceeded to have the usual back and forth:
“How long are you here for?”
“Long-term or short?”
“What industry do you work in.”
At this point I was beginning to think I was at customs and immigration.
Apparently he was here long-term temporarily for 20 odd years. Ok…I replied with my typical, “Australia is beautiful, it’s easy to come for a while and want to stay forever.”
We spoke about Australian tendencies.l mentioned I thought they were blunt. He disagreed and said they were obtuse and never said what was on their mind. Hmmm…according to that above definition does blunt not mean the same as obtuse? I said they have a laidback attitude which is great for the lifestyle here. He said the ones he knows work very long hours…no comment on that one.
Needless to say, it can be quite eye-opening meeting a fellow expat whose views are the complete opposite to your own. I chalk this up to how different Canada and South Africa are and it made me grateful that I am happy to be leaving Australia on good terms with great experiences and friends I would like to keep in touch with.
Turns out I am not the only person who meets strangers and has deep and meaningful conversations with them in public. Read this guy’s gelato-inspired encounter.
Note to self: keep being grateful.