Traveling Alone: Theory vs. Reality.


In Theory: doesn’t mind traveling around alone. When meeting up with a group of strangers at a conference or for a class, he has always found that people come around to him so why worry about it?  Plus he’s always been attracted to stories with the stranger who comes to town. You know, like Casablanca or, um, Rango.

In Practice: showed up to Lausanne at 3. He had an opportunity to meet up with people at a function at 5 or so and he leaves for it at about 4:30. He gets lost, but, ever the trooper, he pushes on still looking for the place towards 7.

He never finds anybody. Defeated, he tries to find a few a bar befitting of a stranger type. It should have a bar stool or a corner. It shouldn’t be so crowded that the server just wants you to leave so they can put a group or a couple in your spot.  You still want a couple people in there, though, because, in pure theory, you might like to mix it up with some locals.

After a few failures you find a sports bar. You go in and you are the only person in there. The bartendress asks you what you want in French what you would like. As an American you are programmed to know that people of other nations really like it when you speak their language. This being French speaking Switzerland, you say, “Bonjour, I’ll have a…” then you just point to literally the top thing on the menu.

Success. She totally buys your authenticity you think to yourself.

She then tells you that is a bottle of wine. An expensive bottle of wine, really. She’s not questioning your drinking prowess inasmuch as the sun’s still out and you are in an empty bar.

You recover. You point at the draft.

She’s polite and pours it and greets you fully in English.

That’s how it’s going to be, you think. Fully recovered you point to the burger on the menu.

“The kitchen is closed.”

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