October 8th 2012
Story originally written and experienced: October 19th 2009
Note to self.
Plane tickets that cost below $30 do not include the following things:
1. A trained pilot
2. Any shits about your survival
3. Any sort of heads up on landing thus making for a very startling plane-to-ground awakening, prompting the madame next to me to scream HOLY BLOODY FUCK WE’RE GOING TO FUCKING DIE causing an obscene uproar on the aircraft.
They are gracious enough to include –
The following reading material for the duration of your flight:
Barely alive after our treacherous flight and freshly educated about the 84 different poses I could strike on the left wing of the plane.
The 4 of us finally exited the premises and braced ourselves for the trip of a lifetime.
We were here.
v v v v v v
Let the debauchery,
Right after we take this selfie
We fRoLiCkeD off the plane and mindlessly meandered the streets, en route >> to our friend Abigail’s…Abigail’s hostel…that is. And after taking about every wrong turn imaginable,
There she was
We retrieved our keys form the wildly attractive male receptionist and headed up to our room reveling in the classic OMG ADVENTURES mood until we realized that this shit-hole was indeed, BYOS…bring your own…sheets.
Now, after accepting the fact that our only covering would be unwashed sleeping bags and finding myself immersed in a suspicious aroma of cat litter, I made a pact with my hygiene to just pursue my classic hoodie and socks combo (forgoing the provided sleeping sack) and move on with life.
And spotted 2 men on the left side of the lobby
We inquired to see if they would like to invest in a charming round of go fish.
They said damn straight.
One chap was named Graham, born and bred in some place called “Australia” taking a 6 month adventure around Europe to postpone the working world. The other was John, a Canadian lad who originally ventured to Europe to visit Grandpa Pete but decided to travel solo whilst he was in the neighborhood.
Christine shuffled the deck of my freshly purchased sheep cards whilst exchanging banter with Graham about…well actually I don’t know I was busy.
And after two outrageous games of “go fish”, Graham and John suddenly pulled out a substantial amount of Red Stripe beer from beneath the table and abruptly switched to a game of slaps.
I respect that.
As the night went on, we got rowdier, the other lobby guests joined our crew, more slapping ensued, even the out of this world attractive male receptionist joined us at the end of his shift. And we headed out and did things like this:
And after dancing whilst attempting to forge a european accent but sounding like a Jamaican/Indian hybrid every.time. I decided to take 5, and John the Canadian decided to join me in the
far corner of the bar.
We sat down on the wooden and table, fresh brews in hand and began to talk about the rare happenings that were unraveling before our very eyes. Although we were mostly just concerned as to how this mysterious lassie with red lipstick without fail appeared in every.single.one. of our pictures realizing that not.one.single.soul knew who in the hell she was. Literally…not one…we asked.
And after making a pact to avoid the rogue nomad wearing lip stick. We began to talk about other things. Interesting things. Enlightening things. And it started like this:
“Do you like America, Olive?”
I said yes.
And then I said.
“You know sometimes I feel bad about being an American.”
I told him that I felt lucky, and that it was no secret that a lot of people wish that they could be American. Just.like.me. But only because of the opportunities, you know? And the reputation, the riches, the culture and you know sure there are misconceptions, but people decide to move, conform and essentially join us anyway.”
He looked at me. Took a sip of his beer and said
“I’m sorry Olive but I just, don’t agree.”
Oh this is so awkward.
“Let’s play a game, Olive, shall we?”
“Wait this sounds a whole lot like the SAW 1-84 movies. And I hate that shit.”
“Haha no no, I’m really interested in what you just said. I’m not even mad at you for saying something so ignorant. But here. I’m going to put my beer at the
center of the table.
And when I disagree with you, you drink. And when you disagree with me, I drink. You in?
He sat here
And I sat there
John went first and he said:
“America is a great place. But it’s selfish and it’s conceited and it only ever thinks about itself. Think about every history class you’ve ever taken. You learn about you, only you and the great things that you’ve done. No downfalls, no nothing. Barely touching the history of anything else unless you’re involved.”
“I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. I’m going to have to pull out the melting pot card on this one. We’re a country that invests in a lot of different ethnicities, religions, cultures and one of the very few places that actually does so.”
“I could tell you something about almost every country. And not because of google. Or because it was my major but because the rest of us don’t live in a culture that learns everything in comparison to ourselves and consumed in being #1.”
“Did you NOT see the 48 defaced Obama posters on our way here? Or the fact that we can’t walk 2 feet in a separate country without seeing a half-naked Angelina Jolie, Hollister tee or American made beverage? (I love Dr. Pepper so much) How can you possibly deny that this world doesn’t revolve around the overwhelming effect of our entertainment, our media and our government?”
“Ah but that’s the thing Olive, you’re right. We do. I’m not disagreeing with that. I’m disagreeing with your perception of what people think America is. What.it.is., is the land of opportunity constantly producing the cream of the crop products, athletes, inventors etc. But I just thought I should tell you that most people mistake that greatness for something completely different.”
The beer was still at the center of the table.
“But you know what the funny part is?” John said.
Yes this has been hilarious so far, go on.
“The funny part is, the rest of the world is so consumed with stereotyping America as ignorant when, hell, the rest of us have been doing the exact same thing.”
“I feel like that’s the polar opposite of what you just said.”
“…I suppose that did sound a little hypocritical.”
“Let me explain it this way, Olive. The other day I was in this cafe in Paris. And the waiter, saw that I spoke English, thought that I was American, and was pretty terrible and pretty rude to me. And it was only until he saw my passport, and realized that I was Canadian, did he treat me completely differently. So as I’ve been traveling around Europe, after visiting Grandpa Pete of course, I’ve been asking various foreign tourists along the way a few questions. I told them I would name a country and they would have to say the first thing that came to their head and it went like this:
“So much rice!”
“And it that moment I guess I realized that we all weren’t so different after all. That we all have our hands painted red with guilty misconceptions and it’s really not our faults if we never learned otherwise.
So I actually I do agree with you, Olive. I think you’re lucky. I think America is great.
But just so you know, you’re not the only one who considers yourself lucky, or even great.”
“So should I just rip a bunch of shots…because I feel like…you…won…”
“Nah just find out who that lip stick chick is and we’ll call it even.”
The next morning I was investing in the complimentary breakfast provided by our 1/2 star hostel consisting of 2 slices of cold white bread and a spoonful of jelly when
I got to thinking
About the night prior.
And how the male receptionist acquired a tiara
And why I never investigated that
But mostly about my disagreement with John.
And how it never felt so good.
To be just like everyone else.