The problem with being Canadian in a foreign country is that we're just too trustworthy. I mean, come on – we're CANADIAN. Everyone likes us. The world is generally unaware of any major global mistakes that we've done, in comparison to our neighbors to the south. Even Bin Ladin has put us quite low on his list of countries to 'get'.
This being my frame of mind, it left me in a position to be really taken on April 1st. And I got taken good.
For those who don't know me personally, I work at a private day care. 100+ children and 30+ adults working in 6 different teams. April 1st, 2009 was a really warm day, one of the warmest days of the year. For the first time, the group of children I work with were all outside. My team members were out with them, and I was left in charge of making lunch for the group. I was running late, and trying to cut tomatoes and make a mental list of all the eating utensils that we needed.
And the the phone rings.
I look at the receiver and the number is hidden. Strange, I think. It must be one of the parents phoning from work. So I answer the phone.
Is this Nicole -- ? I was asked. I answer affirmitively.
Yes Nicole, this is the Stig Andresson phoning from the local distric police. We're phoning because we had a speed control earlier this morning and have documented a vehicle registered to both you and Cato – , a dark blue Pajero with license plate number: ###### driving at a slighly higher speed than what is presently allowed on the roads of Askøy.
[Now the thing is, I normally NEVER speed. I mean, I'm a good Canadian girl. We ALWAYS follow the rules, the classic joke being: How do you get a pool full of Canadians out of the water? Say: Okay everyone – swimming hours are now closed! --- However, this particular day I was a bit late. And I did drive slightly faster than normal, but did not drive faster than 10 km an hour more than allowed. Because I know it's very unlikely you'll get a ticket at this speed.]
Okay, I say. I admit nothing.
Yes, he continued. As I was saying, we have documented you driving slightly faster than currently allowed. We take this kind infraction very seriously. Because of this I am phoning to find out if you can please come down to the station some time today so that we can discuss the matter further.
[At this point there is a bell ringing in the back of my head. But clearly it's not ringing loud enough]
I still say nothing. I mean, I of course will do everything in my power to assist the police, but not when it involves getting my own hide strung out.
I need to know, says Stig Andresson, when it it possible for you to come in so we can handle this matter. Can you come in right away? His voice is affirmative and authorative.
Well I'm at work, I say. I can't give you a time of when I could come in.
Is there any way you can come in on your lunch hour? Stig Andresson asks me.
[At this point in time, I know I'm not going to get a fine, warning or even worse. After all, if I had driven so fast, why would they have not pulled me over then and there? Suddenly it occurs to me what date it is.]
Is this because of April Fools Day? I demand.
In an even more serious voice Stig answers: I can understand how you might think this. And I sympathise with your worries. However let me assure you that this is no joke. This is a serious matter that should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
[I am still hesitating at this point. But, this is the police phoning. I mean, what if it was actually real? Best to play it safe, I decide].
Can I have your phone number? I ask.
Of course you can. It is.... and Stig in a completely professional nature gives me a mobile number.
Is there a land number I can reach you at?
Stig does not miss a beat. Of course, he says. If you wish to reach us through our central board, you can dial this number [gives a land number that is not very suspiscious]. Here you can ask for me and you will be directed quickly.
Okay, I say, submitting completely. I will probably get my lunch break between 1 and 2 pm. I will do my best to come in during this time. If I am unable to, I will come in contact with you. [Two can speak like a professional.]
Thank you Nicole, says Stig. I look forward to meeting you. Then we hang up.
The very next thing I do is phone my husband, just to hear what he has to say about the situation. Then Stian, a co-worker of mine. Tears are running down his cheeks.
I have been caught. I was sucked in so badly that there's no way out of this one. It does not matter if I had some suspicions, I choose to take the safe road and I was duped.
I'm sure I could have smacked Stian, without too many consequences later. And I'm sure I had DEATH written in my eyes as Stian did start backing away from me when I approached him.
Instead I decided to give him a big hug. I was duped. I was conned. I was suckered. April Fool was written across my forehead in big, flashing, neon letters. But I was going to take the high road out.
And after wallowing in my embarrassment for an hour, I came to the conclusion that Stian wouldn't do this with just anyone. I choose to believe that he tricked me because he considered me as a friend.