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KIP & CAF Projects

One Banana Latte Coming Right Up

The guy on the bus is counting, out loud, to 40.

“Yeah, I’m going to go to detox today,” he says, so that pretty much everyone on the vehicle can hear him.
 
I’m intrigued and listening intently, but like everyone else, I’m slight unnerved and dare not make eye contact. As a communication and information officer working on the CAF and KIP programs at AU, I’m interested in what people say to each other. And I’m always looking for communications tips, even on the way to work.
 
He continues: “Canada’s the home of the free. I love this country.”
 
I have to stifle a chuckle but the smile disappears very quickly.
 
“What are you looking at?” he offers to some poor passenger, who has a quick peek at him.
 
Then he stands up, dusts himself down and walks towards the front doors. But a female passenger beats him to the standing spot near the windshield. As he walks up behind her, the bus starts to slow down and he inevitably loses his balance. He lets out a shout and throws his arms around the lady’s shoulders in what he clearly thinks is a friendly manner.
 
“Ohhh noo,” she moans, looking absolutely terrified.
 
“It was the driver’s fault,” he complains. “He stopped the bus too quickly.”
As the woman gets off the bus, very gingerly, the driver roars that it had nothing to do with him.
 
“Get off the bus now, buddy,” he shouts.
 
The guy goes, but not until he’s had a rant.
 
“That’s not right, what is this? This is Canada, it’s a free country, a democracy. It’s not Europe, or Russia. You can’t tell me what to do – I can do what I want to.”
 
Everyone on the bus breathes a sigh of relief as the driver pulls away, leaving the guy standing on the sidewalk, shouting at the bus.
 
I decide, as I get off at my stop, that the rant is a very poor piece of communication. He didn’t get any message across at all, apart from perhaps Don’t Do Drugs. But I suppose he did manage to grab everyone’s attention.
 
On entering the coffee shop, I’m still thinking over the bus events as I look at the menu to decide what drink I want.
 
“What did you say, a banana latte?” asks the assistant after I had tried to order a coffee.
 
“No, vanilla,” I said, slightly irritated. It’s 6.30am in the morning and I guess the misunderstanding is my fault for mumbling my order. I should have been clearer – kind of like the guy on the bus – but I will make sure I learn from these events.
 
So if anyone working on the CAF and KIP projects at Athabasca University has any news they would like to share, don’t shout about it on the bus. Please contact me on ext 1208 and I will make sure I send out some very clear communications about these ground-breaking initiatives. We could even talk over a banana latte.