Patronizing Fraternalizing

Hohn Hohn Hohn (by Orin Optiglot)

I’m so proud of the little guy. My brother Patrick, you see, has set out from the nest and (always one to imitate me) has traveled overseas. He set out for Ireland yesterday, hoping to find a job when he gets there… just fly over, then wing it. If that happens to sound familiar to any of you, than yes, it’s because I did something much like that in February 2006 with the continent of Australia.

He’s got his own blog now to provide convenient updates to those of us who chose to remain in the homeland (what’s that? Why yes, matter of fact *I* had one of those too). He also has a Twitter account for brief updates. Of course, I couldn’t have had one of those in 2006. But now, present day, who else keeps one? Oh, little ol’ me, is all.

He planned this pretty darn well, you know. Saved up money working as a chef and going to college for free. Has the chef skills, which are actually in-demand and employable, as opposed to… my exploration skills. He’s even managed to go to Europe twice already—without me that is—once, before I even had a passport. So I give him a lot of credit for figuring it all out.

Here’s to figuring out how to book a plane ticket, oh brother of mine!

Pay it, Weegie

Norwegians. So nice, even smug, as long as everything’s going their way. Then the minute the chips go down to eat the dust on the rocks which aren’t as great as they used to be, Norwegians become all… “I vish to speek to the manger.”

Hi. I work at a hostel. It’s my job to tell you you gotta put your stuff in the lockers. It’s two bucks. Even though you think it’s my fault, it’s not. Sorry. No need for rude. No need for manager. It’s not even that much. With a shrug of sympathy and an open-palmed “that’s what you gotta do,” I’ll help you with what you gotta do. Instead, you chose to make me think Norwegians suck.

This is the convergence of customer service with international travel. People like me get to meet everyone in the whole world. It’s like a sampler of national personalities, which, come to think, might be the etymology of “nationality.” And there’s only so many of each. How many Norwegians have I met? Maybe three. And so the picture’s inadequate. I’ve met one Cuban, and I doubt that all Cubans are soft-spoken shrinking violets who just want a nice bottom-bunk, is all. I know the weegies aren’t all unfairly demanding. Yet nonetheless it’s true that when you travel you represent your country. Walking around, in our prosthetically clothing-and-accessory augmented bodies, it’s unavoidable. We each represent the demographic that is us, going down from species, to gender, passing by race and religion and political affiliation and nationality, all the way through education and class and hometown and family and circle of friends. And there’s us.

So dammit… act nice. You put on a face every morning and people can see it. Pay the $2 Weegie.