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This is my worst travel experience, because it was my secret travel shame. In fact, I hesitated to tell anyone about this event, because not only do I look like an idiot, but I look like an idiot who picks on people with disabilities.

When my company sent me to France to work with the engineering team in Lorient, Brittany, I flew for a billion hours with a terrible hangover and absolutely no sleep. I took a 50 euro cab downtown to the Montparnasse train station in France, and then waited for hours for my train.

The train was fairly empty; I shared a table with another woman whose grandchildren ran beside the train as it pulled out of the station, and the other three seats remained unoccupied.

I was already taken aback by the language barrier. I studied French (not immersion) for ten years in school, and assumed I had enough knowledge to get by. I did not. Not even close.

So I’m sitting on the train, so proud of myself for making it that far without being shot, when the lady across the aisle approaches me and starts talking in French.

“Je ne parle pas francais,” I said apologetically.

The lady switched to broken English, and pulled out a card with a “disabled” symbol on it.

“My daughter is ill,” she said. “Would you switch seats with her so she can move her legs?”

“Of course!” I replied, nodding furiously.

(Except the conversation did not go nearly that smooth, and so we stumbled through an explanation for about ten minutes.)

For some reason, in my sleep-deprived, brain-cell destroyed head, I assumed she meant we would switch seats at the next stop, as the train was lurching all over the place. For the next little while, her and her daughter eyed me warily, while I warily stared back.

Of course, when the train stopped, two new people sat themselves down in my booth with the two empty seats. I don’t know why this thought never fucking occurred to me, I mean come on. Train stops, people get off, new people get on. Not a hard concept.

The mother and daughter ignored me entirely after that, although I sent pleading looks of apologies their way. I was too embarrassed to do anything while the daughter rested her head against the window, her face clenched in pain. And so I left them thinking I was a stupid Canadian, when really I’m just a cognoscente of awkward moments.

(This entry is in response to Bearshapedsphere’s <Eileen> entry about the megaultrabad experience while traveling in Ecuador. Check out her blog, she’s facking hilarious.) Now go forth and share your travel shame!

 

Check out these others:

Emily

Sara

What did I do today?

 

I awoke at 10 a.m., jogged through Long Path without encountering coyotes or moose, straightened some shit out at the bank, fought with my parents, drank some beer, fought some more, visited relatives, the end.

 

Did I mention that I ran into the Judo Master the other night? JM was a guy I dated in 2007, whom I became all googly eyed for but he left shortly thereafter for the West coast. When he returned two years later, we tried to rekindle the romance. However, it became quite clear that he was only interested in my booty. And my breasts. And nothing else. Or at least, my paranoid, committment-phobe brain started sending DANGER! signals to my heart, and I got outta there quick.

 

Anyway, after that whole mess, I ran into him on the street last week. I saw him approaching and turned my head quickly to pretend I was in a deep conversation with TOR. Then I heard, “hey Candice.” I turned, and with the most awkward gusto ever, said “HIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” We made idle chit-chat, talked about France and work and other crap, and then his girlfriend waddled up beside him. “WELL!” he said, shaking my hand quickly. “It was nice running into you!” Thus interrupting me mid sentence, and disappeared into the night.

 

And then, of course, I find out a girl I graduated from high school with is engaged. And I mean, good for her, that’s amazing and all…but why does SHE get to be married, while guys continue puking on me while we’re doing it?

 

(I need to update my Flickr account, just not right now, and so these pictures are absolutely oversized. Apologies.)

 

The view from my Auntie's balcony. My home. It still gives me chills, and I've seen it a thousand times.

The view from my Auntie's balcony. My home. It still gives me chills, and I've seen it a thousand times.

 

Can you believe I can’t find a single drinking buddy in this town?

Here’s a mortifying moment you’re sure to love.

 

Today I dressed up in one of my new outfits that I bought in Ottawa. I decided to run some errands. I was feeling pretty good about myself, and so I threw in a little extra wiggle in my hips, a little more bounce in my step. Damn, I was thinking. I’m on fire today!

 

As I crossed Water Street (which was incredibly busy and more crowded than usual), a lady came up behind me and said, “I’m not sure if you know, but there’s a hole in the back zipper of your skirt.”

I jumped. “What? Can you see anything?”

 

“Yes,” she said, and bolted like a bat out of hell.

 

I reached back, and found with my fingers a large gaping hole where my ASS is. HUGE. GAPING OPEN FOR THE WORLD TO SEE. And I was wearing a thong. FUCK. MY. LIFE.

 

I had to pull up my skirt and tug down my tank-top to cover the hole, thus ensuring I looked like a slut at work for the rest of the day.

 

Anyway, I’m going to write out my vacation in a series of entries. But I absolutely loved the city, and was pleased with my first trip inside Canada. In the past, I kinda figured travel within Canada would be a little dull…because hey, don’t I already live here? But now I realize just how unique Newfoundland is and how vast and interesting Canada is/can be.

 

Day 1, Tuesday

 

I touched down in Ottawa after sleeping my entire flight away. I awoke multiple times with the roof of my mouth drier than a desert and drool dangling down my chin. I’m sure I put off the greatest snore symphony known to mankind…or at least the guy sitting next to me.

 

Avril greeted me at the airport…at first we kinda gazed at each other warily, not sure if the other was a visage. Then we embraced and danced and laughed and jumped up and down! And so the celebrations began.

 

After greeting my relatives at Avril’s place, my Uncle B (who coincidentally lives next door) and Aunt J invited us all over for supper…which turned out to be PEA SOUP AND DUMPLINGS. GOD! I should have known right then that the trip would be perfect.

Then it was off to the famous beer store in Quebec, where we were greeted with rows upon rows of endless BEER and different BRANDS and labels and THE MADNESS!!!!! The funniest part happened when Uncle B and Aunt J walked in a few minutes later. Seriously. We drove to QUEBEC to pick up cheap booze ($20 for a 24 pack, who knew?!) at a random store, and my relatives just happened to go there too. THEN, about an hour later, we pull into a liquor store to pick up some red wine, and the same relatives were pulling out!!!

 

HEAVEN!! I have arrived!

HEAVEN!! I have arrived!

(If you’re wondering why I’m an alcoholic, the next several entries will explain a lot.)

 

The rest of the evening Avril and I spent hanging out at ShortSexMachine’s apartment, eating ice-cream cake and catching up on many years of family gossip. Some was good, some was sad. We were so enraptured in our conversation that I forgot all about my two hours of sleep the previous night, and we ended up staying until 1:30 a.m.

 

**

 

Ok that’s enough for now. For some reason my brain is falling asleep.

When I was leaving the gym on Friday, I recognized one of the douchebags I had a brief encounter with this summer standing at the main entrance (impossible to miss with those ears waving at me like beacons) . There was NO ONE around, and I had no way of avoiding him. He looked up at me and glanced away quickly, I’m not sure if he recognized me. So anyway, there was nothing to do except wave at him and say “hey.” At the same time we both blurted out something indistinguishable. I think I said something like, “SMALL WORLD!” in a really high-pitch, giddy tone, which makes NO SENSE whatsoever. None. What does that have to do with ANYTHING? I’m an ass.

 

 

Yesterday was lovely. I cleaned the house top to bottom, watched TV, and read all day. Note to self: just because you’re gymming it up, doesn’t mean you can eat all the creampuffs in the world. Fatass.

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