July 5, 2012 § 9 Comments
This goes out to the people in the background of everyone’s vacation photos.
We need to talk about manners. Specifically, this: When visiting somewhere, particularly somewhere beautiful or pleasant, please consider that other people’s eyes and ears are taking in the scenery with you in it.
Let’s work through the idea with some examples, shall we?
1. When that couple who has saved up for 30 years to take an anniversary trip finally make it to Venice, and they stand on the Piazza San Marco hand-in-hand, what they see before them makes up a mental photo (or quite possibly an actual photo) they’ll keep forever. In their field of vision are the iconic domes of the Basilica… and the flocks of pigeons taking off into the afternoon sky… and you in your sweatpants that proclaim your ass to be “Juicy.”
No one came all the way to Italy to see your juicy ass.
Not to curtail your freedom or whatever, but would it kill you to go with the plain sweatpants? Maybe even some non-sweatpants, like… pants-pants. Just pants. Normal pants, America. That’s all.
2. When you throw on your “Veterinarians Are Doggone Sexy” T-shirt for a stroll along the streets of a pretty town – let’s say some sweet little coastal spot – you’re hijacking the setting.
The folks around you might be trying to absorb a little of the local lifestyle. But instead of noticing the sun glimmering through the Spanish moss or the smell of the fresh seafood, their senses will be derailed by your shirt. They’ll find themselves wondering, “Is ‘doggone’ really a word?” and “Wait. Are veterinarians sexy? Why isn’t my veterinarian sexy? Is that guy actually a veterinarian? He’s not sexy. His shirt lies.”
3. You are going sightseeing today. I am also going sightseeing today. We are going to be in each other’s peripheral vision all afternoon.
And the thing is, I just want to look at this nice old building – not at your Hello Kitty backpack, you GROWN WOMAN WEARING A HELLO KITTY BACKPACK.
Suggestion: If you must remind yourself of your important mantras in writing every day, maybe you could embroider “Hello to all the kitties” on the inside of your sleeve, so you could just look at it quietly from time to time. Or you could slip a card in your pocket that reads, “Veterinarians are sexy, and so am I.” Or you could get a friend to write, “This is very juicy” on your backside with a sharpie. Then you could still be juicy, but you could keep your juiciness to yourself, so that everyone around you can enjoy what they actually came to see. See how that works?
Consider, too, the people who live in the place you’re visiting. Yes, their economy may be largely supported by your tourist dollars, but does that mean they like seeing their hometown overrun by throngs of nerds in Reeboks with cameras around their necks?
You might, perhaps, step off to the side to consult your map discreetly, instead of standing in the middle of the street ignoring traffic to scrutinize your iPhone while yelling, “Do you guys know where we can get some grist? What? Grits? Oh, Frank, it’s GRITS. THEY CALL THEM GRITS. GRRRIIITTTTSSSS.”
Because then you’ve got the rest of us wanting to give Frank fake directions to a dead-end alley where they serve meth and rusty forks and random acts of violence instead of grits.
When he gets there, he’ll likely run into Miss Juicy herself, who was sent to the same alley when she hollered in an ancient church, “DOES THIS TOWN HAVE STARBUCKS? I NEEEEED SOME STARBUUUUCKS.”