Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lines and Crowd Situations

The funny thing about traveling abroad is that you pick up on some of the characteristics of certain people from different countries and notice different aspects about Americans whether you are sitting on an airplane, waiting to de-board in Spain, or sipping a cafe con leche (coffee with milk) at a sidewalk cafe in Barcelona.

So here are a few of the idiosyncrasies that Alyssa and I noticed on our trip to the Spanish land.

Alyssa read a book titled Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost. It's the story of a guy who visits China and tries to understand the culture. Anyway, he ends up buying a train ticket but when the train arrives, turns out people in China don't stand in line, so there is just a mob of people trying to get on the train. He ends up not making it onto the train because of all the people pushing and shoving to get on the train.

So basically, there are no lines in China.

Cut to our flight from Grenada to Barcelona. On any flight there is always a line of people waiting to get off as the passengers in front of them get their luggage from the overhead compartments. It is never fun waiting for everyone to get their bags, but it is necessary. However, we were on the plane with people from China.

And let me remind you, there are no lines in China.

So, while everyone else was waiting for the people in front of them, the passengers from China (we know this because we saw their passports), who were in the back of the plane, gathered up their luggage and sprang into action. Squeezing and pushing, bumping and shoving past everyone, they made their way off the plane. Everyone passenger that they made it past just stared incredulously. Alyssa and I remained in our seats and just watched this mini fiasco. Awesome.

Onto the Americans. Throughout Spain it was obvious who the Americans were. They were a bit louder than most people, slightly heavier, and much less sophisticated in their dress. For example, I wore tee shirts all week.

It was at one outdoor cafe, one night, that we were absolutely sure that the loud, boisterous table next to ours was surely a group of Americans. But, as it turns out Canadians can be just as noisy and gregarious as we, Americans, can be.

Americans also stare much more at nude sunbathers than people from any other country. And people from every country outside of the US have a much more open minded policy to public nudity. It was pretty awesome. Aviator glasses are pretty much essential for anyone going to a European beach who do not want to appear to be American.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Relationship Guru

I don't know how it has come to pass, but it seems I have become an expert in the dating department. Turns out that since I've been in a relationship that has spawned an engagement, which in turn spawned impending nuptials, those in my social circles consider me a relationship savant.

Lately, friends and acquaintances have sought out my "expertise" on the merit and life expectancy of other relationships shorter in duration than my own. At some point in time within the last month I crossed a threshold. I have entered into the club of guys who "know what it takes" to make a relationship last. Who would have thought? If only such a club kept a leash on its membership fees, right? You know what I'm saying? (Honey, I'm totally kidding)

Obviously the qualifications for such a club have to do with longevity and appearance to others. Which is funny when you think about it. Length and looks. Real subtle girls. The mantra that "he must be doing something right" comes to mind. The fact that they have lasted this long signifies success.

Though this type of thinking isn't completely off base. Relationship longevity is one good indicator, but there are plenty of couples in which their friends haven't a clue as to why they remain a couple. The outward appearance is usually the hint for those steadies who make everyone aware of their problems.

On the other hand how often do two people break up and neighbors, friends, relatives, and mistresses say, "they seemed so happy." So there is definitely more to it than that. So, in turn there must be more to it for being in this couples' club. People must see something else in a couple than just length and looks when checking out the success of a relationship.
And that can be only one thing. They must have me under surveillance.

I knew I wasn't paranoid.

Progression of Beer

The first sip may or may not taste that great.

You have to give it time, you have to wait.

After a dozen you know your own fate;

In another round or two, it's too late.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm baaaack!

That's right! I'm back! But not in the creepy Arnold Schwarzenegger (I almost spelled that right the first time) way when he's just letting the maid know he's home after a long day of killing terminators, Colombians, the devil and state budgets, and is ready to have his pipes cleaned. No. Not in that way at all.

It's been a busy year. Sorry. Life took precedent over Blog. But no more! (probably a lie)

The wedding is approaching and the most recent headache came in the shape of a shiny, navy blue suit. Don't worry it is not anything like Jeff Daniel's ensemble in Dumb and Dumber... it's better.

A little back story for you. There are 6 groomsmen in the bridal party, 1 bridegroom (that's the old fashioned way of saying groom-- read a book), 2 fathers, and 2 grandfathers of the bride-- and everyone is getting a suit!

Think Oprah. Imagine her shouting, "You get a suit! And you get a suit! And you get a suit!" You get the idea.

Only Oprah wasn't the one at the suit store, with everyone's suit size, picking out the colors everyone wanted or was being forced to wear, and dealing with the master salesman Claude.

Long story short, it took a number of weeks to get everyone to visit their local neighborhood tailor guy to get sized. Then, the order was placed. Every suit would come with flat front pants (not pleated) and the bride and groom would pick up the suits, a rainbow would appear in the sky, and they would skip to a Disney song, written by the Sherman brothers, sung by Julie Andrews, and peace would break out in the Middle East. Everyone would smile and be happy.

But no, it was not meant to be.

Every suit came back as requested except for one. The only suit to come back pleated was the groom's. There were some options. The tailor could take the pleats out, which meant he/she would need to take the pants apart, thread by thread, seam by seam, for $65. Or get a different suit.

I did not like the idea of wearing pants that were going to be completely disassembled. I worried about this as much as Johnny 5. How could the pants ever possibly be what they once were, nice looking pants? So, after much deliberation, and multiple trips to the dressing room, which anyone who knows me knows how I feel about dressing rooms.

I'd rather be in a port-o-potty deciding if I should risk getting some sort of bacterial/viral infection by taking a seat than go into a stupid dressing
room to try on clothes.

I finally decided on a different suit of a similar color, but with a stripe. Oh well.