Bus stations are great fodder for writing because the strangest human beings are there. In fact, it was near the Providence city center bus station that I had an awkward exchange a few weeks ago. I was with a girl I know from Roswell. She attends graduate school at Harvard and came to visit Providence, and I was excited to show her around. (She’s my first Roswell visitor! Other than my mom, I suppose, who visited before I moved, so really, I didn’t do much.)
We walked into downtown, and near Kennedy Plaza, where the bus hub is, there’s a park. In the middle of the park is a fountain, and on that day the fountain looked nice, so we thought we’d get a picture in front of it (technically, I offered to take her picture, but she insisted I be in it.)
We looked for potential photographers, but there weren’t a lot of people around. There were, however, benches surrounding the fountain and some people were sitting on the benches, but mostly these were elderly men, one of whom was smoking like a chimney and another of whom looked homeless. On the other side there was a normal-ish looking African American couple in their mid-30’s. They seemed most capable operating an iPhone, so we walked over and asked if they would mind taking a picture of us.
In response to our question they stared straight ahead—not at us, into our eyes, but straight between us, as though we hadn’t just spoken to them. And they remained silent.
“You don’t have to, it’s okay,” I said after several seconds, and we attempted to walk backwards slowly, as one might do from a T-rex.
“Naw, I’ll do it,” the guy said finally.
At this point, we weren’t sure we wanted him to, but my friend reluctantly handed over her iPhone and it dawned on me why this could be a bad idea. We stood less than a foot away from while he snapped roughly eight pictures in four seconds, after which we thanked him and retrieved the phone.
It was then that the woman spoke. “You shouldn’t be asking people around here to take your picture. They’ll [censored] steal your phone. That’s stupid is what it is.”
“Okay, thanks, bye!”
We walked quickly away and I wondered if during that long period of silence when neither of them acknowledged our presence, if they were thinking about whether or not we’d chase after them for our phone. Or maybe they were contemplating what planet we were from (a legitimate question given we’re from Roswell). Either way, it was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had in Providence, and I’d consider the park normal compared to Kennedy Plaza. That’s where I picked up my bus today.
Where are you bussing to? you might ask.
Well, my friend. I’ll tell you.
I’m headed to New York City, where I’ll spend the evening with my good friend DOCTOR Nik the Greek (it’s possible I forgot to address him by his correct title recently), whom you may remember from the US Open. He’s fluent in enough of the World Cup languages to make the average American feel shame (“Hi, yes, I took seven years of a language and no, I cannot say anything. Go away.”), and he’ll be giving me a crash course in Italian—that is, taking me to an authentic Italian restaurant and teaching me how to read a menu by myself—because I will be headed to Italy.
That’s right: ITALY! Home of gelato!!
It’s like the mother ship is calling me home.
But that’s not my first stop. It’s actually my last stop, where I’ll be going to see my friend get married in an Iranian-Italian style celebration (in which I may be the only, single-language speaking, full-blooded American.) But more about that later.
To begin my trip, I will be flying to Germany to join one of my best friends in the whole world**, Lauren Sue.
She moved to Germany with her husband last Fall, and she opened an invitation for me to stay with her, to which I said, “I hope you’re serious because I’m booking my plane ticket.” We will be causing trouble semi-locally and then venturing up to Scotland, a country we’ve wanted to visit together since 2008. Our “Scotland face,” which we created to denote our anticipation of visiting Scotland, is one of unabated joy.
My travel diaries will thus begin today and continue for the next five weeks. (Five weeks!?! Yes, I know.) As always, I will make grand promises to blog often and then not follow through with them, BUT! Lauren is a writer, too, (her blog is
), so maybe we can encourage each other to write regularly. We will certainly have things to say—and if we’re lucky, we will even make videos. (Our last video involved me singing “Come little children” [think Hocus Pocus] to Carlos, a child we saw on the Lanai ferry whom we wanted to steal and carry in our own Hangover baby sling.) It should be incredible, if not mildly disturbing.
If you’re looking for a blog that offers practical travel advice, this probably isn’t it**. If you’re interested in learning about the things that could potentially go wrong, like one in a million odds, you might be getting closer. If you’re looking for entertainment and pictures, this is it!
**unless it relates to properly insuring your rental car
I will sign off for now. My bus is running late—no surprise there, though I’m upset because it’s going to delay dinner—and I’ve been listening to some woman talk on the phone to what sounds like her booty-call non-boyfriend for the past hour, despite repeated announcements to “please refrain from using cell phones for conversation unless it’s an emergency.” (She’s playfully said, “Shut up” at least fourteen times.)
At least when I’m in a foreign country, I’ll have no idea what they’re saying and it’ll all sound beautiful.