For those who choose to forget, WOEFULTOURIST will mention for the umpteenth time (which is around midnight in most uncivilized countries) that he was born and raised in the New York City metropolitan area.
As such, even though he might wish to do otherwise, he can’t help but be jaded about life in general and the pursuit of happiness, not in general, but merely as a colonel (don’t even get him started as to how it’s pronounced “kernel” since there’s no “r” in it and never has been since they created the darned rank).
The fact of the matter is that WOEFULTOURIST can’t help himself. It’s in his jeans.
Sure there are days when he would like to walk up to strangers, look them in the eye and say, “Hello. How are you doing? Beautiful day, today, isn’t it!”
However, from experience, he knows that doing something that foolish in the Big Apple (or vicinity) would probably find him ending up in the hospital emergency room with some part of his body not as intact as it was the day before.
WOEFULTOURIST can’t even contemplate what it must be like for people who live in friendly neighborhoods. Those strange places where people actually have conversations with each other and not just when it’s Christmas, or you need to borrow a power tool.
No, WOEFULTOURIST makes no bones about the fact that living where he has for as long as he has, has made him rather cynical.
If he ever had a pair of rose colored glasses, he knows they inevitably would have cracked lenses.
If he ever received a gift horse, he knows that it probably wouldn’t have much of a mouth for him to look into.
If he ever got a free breakfast, he knows that he would have to buy something he didn’t need, or want in order to receive it. And of course the tax would be extra.
Which is WOEFULTOURIST’S way of saying that when he travels to places where the locals are genuinely friendly, courteous and helpful, it usually finds him very ill at ease.
Because, based on his background, that kind of behavior is totally unnatural, completely inorganic and un-”green” to the core. Which, as a result, rubs him the wrong way generating all sorts of static electricity that goes off in every direction (both possible and those dimensions still undiscovered).
So he had some trepidation when he decided to visit Rome for the first time. After all, since all of the Italian Americans he knew were incredibly friendly, very outgoing and extremely accommodating – (go on, have another cannolli, it’s good for the complexion), then the Italian Italians must be doubly so.
So he was somewhat leery when got off the plane at Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, in Rome.
Were the Romans going to be too nice? Too smiley? Too friendly without any real reason for being so? Because if that were the case, it would probably ruin his entire trip.
Fortunately, WOEFULTOURIST had once again worried about nothing – probably because it’s one of the things he excels at.
From the minute WOEFULTOURIST stepped off of the plane in Rome, he was treated as if he were irrelevant, nothing special and completely unimportant.
When WOEFULTOURIST questioned why he was getting such a terrible exchange rate as he tried to turn his American dollars into eruos, the man at the counter replied. “Hey, if you don’t like it, go somewhere else. We don’t care about your money! Why should you?” A good point, to which WOEFULTOURIST did not have an equally good answer.
When WOEFULTOURIST stopped a group of local police officers and asked for directions to a bar that might have the big game on tv, they acted like he was speaking a foreign language, or something. At first, they just ignored him. Then came the dirty looks. Finally, they broke down and gave him directions – to a nearby McDonalds. Something probably got lost in translation.
When WOEFULTOURIST asked anyone in an authority position if they spoke English, they all answered, “No” in Italian. Which sounds awfully like the American “No”, but different. ”No”, was then followed by more Italian phrases that sounded very nice but probably weren’t, then the inevitable pointing, laughing and turning their backs on him to ignore him, further.
In short, WOEFULTOURIST had a great time in Rome because in spite of the fact that so many of the buildings were ancient, hardly any locals spoke English, let alone the hundreds of other major cultural differences, he was treated by the Romans just like he was still back home, in NYC.
A greater accommodation he could not have asked for.
And then when he discovered that the local police force look down their noses at anyone having the audacity to actually ask them for information, and consciously respond only in Italian, then providing incorrect information anyway, WOEFULTOURIST knew that he would have no trouble fitting in there.
There’s just too many wacko’s out there and many of the wackier ones seem to live in the greater New York City metropolitan area.
Although, some of the wackier ones happen to be relatives, so WOEFULTOURIST can’t appear to be too antagonistic towards them since they don’t take criticism very well.
Sure the pills help, but one never knows which one of life’s daily challenges will cause some synapse to snap in their re-wired brains and send them off to parts unknown for months on end, only to return and act as if nothing really happened.
WOEFULTOURIST has to admit, sometimes he envies their total lack of touch with reality.
Because, he just can’t escape it.
And being from where he is, he can only deal with the inevitable disappointments.