Archives for April 2011

blame others: lessons from the road

I’ve spent roughly a quarter of my time on planes, trains, and automobiles since the beginning of the year.

A lot of the traveling has been by myself. It’s taught me a few things:

I’ve learned it’s okay to talk to strangers. Then again, I’ve learned it’s not okay to talk to strangers. I think the ratio is something like: for every decent stranger, there are 2.8 galactically crazy ones out there.

When traveling alone, if a galactically crazy person starts a conversation with me, out-crazy him and scare him away. Talk about my time in prison for offing someone with the sharpened leg of a G.I. Joe. Or my experiences leading a double life- docile dental hygenist by day and slumlord/madame/gang member by night. This is my time to concoct ridiculous fantasyland-worthy material. Go buck wild. Get gangsta’.

It’s okay to pose for pictures alone in front of anything I deem interesting. Making the peace sign. Or wearing an assortment of exaggerated facial expressions. I’m Asian…it’s probably in my blood.

It’s better to sit next to someone sane on a plane. Also, if they’re good-looking and have fresh breath, it probably means that God loves me and I’m not slated for Hell that day. Conversely, if I sit next to someone who supplies the entire plane with a fragrant potpourri of farts and wants to talk about her love of handicapped animals, it means I need to start calling my mother more or volunteer to pick up litter along the highway. God’s Subtle Warning, I like to call it.

Watching The Price is Right will make me feel at home. Anywhere. Instantly.

In certain areas, Taco Bell is considered authentic Mexican cuisine.

I’ve learned never, ever (EVER, EVER) to put anything in hotel drawers as I’m unpacking. Because I will forget that shit. And the hotel will claim that it has not been found. And then I might get angry and ask them to look again.

See what I did there? I blamed the hotel for my forgetfulness. That’s also something I learned from traveling. Blame other people.

Just kidding. I swear.
What has traveling taught you? Share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Check out the Flourish in Progress Facebook page to see my Gangster Easter Egg.

Monday Dare: my kidney did not get stolen.

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Do, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help, and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made beforeThe Project started, and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: Say hello. Introduce myself. Meet people. 

First things first: I’m still alive. I have all four limbs. I did not wake up in a bathtub full of ice with a note pinned to my chest advising me to call 911 because I was missing an organ.

In other words, my solo trip to New Orleans was a success. Yes, coming back from a trip with both kidneys is fucking awesome in my book.

I met a stranger at a bar my first night in town. Ravenous by the time I got to my hotel in the evening, I walked several blocks to a seafood restaurant in the French Quarter. I took the only seat left at the bar and ordered a cocktail and dinner. I tried to pretend I was endlessly fascinated by the rows of liquor at the bar so I wouldn’t look bored.

But, I was bored and I felt out of place. I mulled over how I was going to get through four days alone without a safety net of friends.

The man to my right tried to start a conversation as he paid for his check. I didn’t feel like making a new friend, so I answered him in short, one-word answers. He left without saying good-bye.

Another man tapped my shoulder and asked to sit in the seat to my left. I replied “yes” without even looking up. I stared straight ahead for most of my meal, chitchatting with the bartender. Taking the last few sips of my cocktail, I heard someone ask, “Isn’t it hot in here?”

Looking to my left, I finally made eye contact with my neighbor. A man in his early 30’s, he had wavy hair down to his chin and a friendly smile. We chatted for a few minutes…one of the first real conversations I had all day.

Turns out, Captain Chris was a river pilot and he was willing to show me around town that night. Did I say yes? Hell yes.

Of course I called Harv to tell him what I was up to and to make sure that he knew I loved him. You know, in case I ended up in a ditch.

Captain Chris gave me a walking tour of the French Quarter. We passed by some of the best strip joints in the city, drunk college kids on Bourbon Street, and a few hookers with their pimps, wanting to know if the Captain was interested in having a good time that night.

He took me to a historic hotel and we sat inside the piano bar, listening to music and drinking. He talked about piloting his stretch of the Mississippi River and his low-tolerance for women drama. I talked about pimps and my affinity for buttered croissants.

Late into the night, Captain Chris walked me back to my hotel…and saved me from a homeless fellow who proposed marriage.

His kindness towards a stranger and his willingness to reach out and say “hello” should have set the tone for the rest of the trip, but I can’t say that I followed his lead. So, this week, I’m pulling a Captain Chris.

Thanks, Captain, wherever you are.
Ever spent an evening with a stranger? Wait, not your one-night-stands.
Do you have friends that you met in random places or on trips?
image via Wildemoon shop