Our Dublin train ticket: Report antisocial behavior
When this Irish ticket requested us to “report incidents of antisocial behavior,” Christina, Elana, and I couldn’t help but cackle. But, what happens when you encounter the equally uncomfortable yet opposite problem–prosocial behavior?
With the sun smiling upon us on Madrid, todo el mundo is drawn outdoors, magnet-like, to the pleasant weather. And I do mean everyone. Here is a smattering of the novel-worthy characters who have made my skin crawl, eyebrows lift, and feet fly:
*I’m in the middle of eating lunch in Plaza del Oriente when a woman offers to give me a massage. She presents me with a picture showing the muscles in the body. It would be relaxing, she said. My face does not agree. Undaunted, she whips a folding chair out of some bushes and moves on to more willing customers.
*As I’m strolling through Plaza de España, a middle-aged man boasting the T-shirt of a well-known phone company asks me a question. I pull out my mp3 earphones to politely give him a moment of my time. He wants 40 minutes total–would I be willing to pose as his girlfriend that evening? The earphones go back in.
*While purchasing black beans in a Latin American grocery store, the store owner asks me if I’m Brasilian. I say no and he hears my accent. He then tells me that in His Country (never actually stating where that might be), he is a licensed English teacher. But only of written, not spoken, English.
*As I attempt to read in Parque del Oeste, a man claiming to be a psychiatrist asks for the time. He hears my accent and wants to diagnose me. Apparently I am the rarest of rara avis for wanting to spend time in a foreign land.
*While crafting a lesson plan in a plaza in my neighborhood, a woman of questionable profession asks me if I am also waiting to pick up a child from the nearby primary school. I say no. She senses my accent, oh crap. Do I know her third cousin Meggy Dew from Milwaukee? Do I want to go out for coffee, a drink, dancing? Do I have a Spanish boyfriend?
Just when I fear she’s about to hit on me, Nosy Woman slides me her card. She is not a prostitute, but a lawyer. She offers me a deal on divorce from my nonexistent sweetheart.