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Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Tramp Abroad

It wasn't cackling, I don't think.

And I wouldn't call it "cavorting" either. That almost sounds too refined. Too many syllables, I think.

Braying, maybe. Because braying implies assery and, as a contestant on last week's "Project Runway" stated, "It's either classy, or assey."

Well, these guys were assey. As in, behaving like asses.

At Dublin Airport.

At a gate reserved for U.S. Airways passengers.


And, as I sat there, with my legs tightly crossed and my fingers bracing against my temples as they hooted and yelled and whooped and cut through the air with accents that would have put the street urchin flower seller Eliza "Awoowaaowwaaah!" Doolittle to shame, I wanted to dig up the flooring of that airport terminal and disappear beneath it.

"This is what it is," I said to Mrs. Apron, "this is what I have been struggling against so hard for ten days-- to not be associated or lumped into a category with these... people.

Categorius Americansus.

Universally despised and stereotyped for having no manners, no class, no appreciation or respect for other cultures, no indoor voices, no knowledge of another culture's history (much less their own), garish, harsh, inconsiderate, packed to the hilt with complaints, cellphones, and bad attitudes.

Oh, and fat. At least we all know I'm not that.

The lady on the plane smushed up against my poor wife for seven hours and forty minutes was, though. Hailing from New Jersey, she smelled like New Jersey-- an odd combination of old tires, a toilet, and bay water. Easily tipping the scales at around four hundred pounds, she billowed over into Mrs. Apron constantly.

"Eating left handed sure is a challenge on these planes," she said to my wife.

"It's all challenging," was Mrs. Apron's demure reply as she dodged a dough-like elbow to the chin.

I'm discovering that I am very much encumbered by a desire to always do "the right thing", to "behave", to "be good". Those compunctions were amplified a thousand-fold on this vacation to Ireland, where I was hyper vigilant about not being the last one back on the tour bus. ("Oh, we're waiting for the Americans.") To not make uninformed comments about the history of the Northern Ireland/Southern Ireland/British conflict, to not turn my nose up at the local food, (black pudding? Seriously?), and to not say or do the wrong thing culturally, morally, ethically, etceterally.

All of this, I am sure, made travelling with me at times uncomfortable and annoying for my dear wife. And I regret that. Could I have done anything differently to ease up a little bit? Probably, but, in the moment, it's hard to say. It's a terrible thing, being hyper vigilant-- about anything really, because your asshole never unclenches quite enough for you to actually enjoy a good shit, or to just enjoy yourself-- whether you're shitting or not. I know that, at home or abroad, I'm a good boy, and that I shouldn't have to walk around apologizing for the fat, braying troglodytes who came before me and who will come after me, no more than white folks down south who are trying to lead normal lives shouldn't have to walk around apologizing for slavery.

Unless they're racist pieces of shit, of course.

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