Life On Two Wheels

Along the river and toward the mountains a morning shadow shimmers across the road. The rays of the first light jet through the trees and across a figure gliding upon the road. His breath trails in short spurts, petrified as it hits the icy air. All is quiet except the slight sound of the athlete as he summons himself for yet another days work. Soon the rest of the world will bustle with life as well and the brief simplicity of cyclist and nature will disappear into the everyday struggle of life in full motion; the errands and intervals, the appointments and intersections, and the deadlines and finish lines OutPaceTheRace

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Out of my bubble

Gerona, ESP
Sunday, October, 08, 2006

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s key in euro living. It’s kind of ironic that everyone always refers to the European lifestyle as “laid back,” because if you’ve ever done anything that involves waiting here, you’d know that laid back is about the last thing that comes to mind. If people acted like this in the US, bad things would happen, I guess rude would be the first though that comes to mind.
Say you’re waiting in line here in Europe and you let a few feet separate you and the dude in front of you. There is a 50% chance that a guy’ll step in front of you like you’re not waiting in line. Even if you tell him you’re in line he really won’t budge until you ruffle him up a bit. Then… “Oh, you’re in line…” In Europe the phrase “guard your grill” is quite important.
In crowded areas like getting on and off a plane, the rudeness is comical, despite the fact that it is so true. To begin with, if the reader board says that the plane is boarding in an hour, you’ll find that all the passengers line up an hour early just to stand there and wait for an hour… makes perfect sense right? That’s not rude, but…
The crowded areas are the big deal. Here it’s like salmon swimming up stream. They’ll give everything to get into that one little space you leave in front of you. Occasionally you get a really bad one that’s absolutely on a rampage to get through the crowd first. He pushes, shoves and generally does whatever it takes to “win.” Once he wins, he just stands there like nothings happened. So he wasn’t actually about to miss his flight or anything, he just had to get through the crowds first I guess. A classic, rude euro dude.
In the midst of our struggles as Americans we noticed how interesting it could be if we took there rudeness to a new level. Danny invented this game where if you see a blatantly rude euro you do the same thing he does. So you come barging through the crowd like him and cut him off at the entrance. Just stand there in front of him so he can’t get through like you have nowhere to go. Let all the people he pushed through go by. It’s hilarious to watch as he struggles to get by you. It’s comical just how crazy they are, you come barging through the line and block him and yet he acts like it’s perfectly normal. Once he get’s by you, you use the turn ‘n burn technique- right as he goes by you, abruptly turn around and nail him in the back with you backpack. He’ll skip a few steps, but he’ll take it like it’s perfectly normal. If you did that in the US… let’s just say that people’d be angry… In Europe they’re so used to the rudeness that they don’t even bat an eye. It’s crazy.