“Travel is really great.” —Mark Twain
Actually, that’s not the exact quote. I can’t remember how Twain put it; it was much longer and sounded better, but you get the gist. I’m sure anyone who has travelled would agree with him. Except my work colleague, Glen. He went on an eight-day South Pacific cruise last year and had diarrhea the whole time.
I have been fortunate enough to do some travelling of my own. A few years ago, I visited France, a country in Europe. France has a rich history; it is associated with romance, art, and an age of political and philosophical enlightenment culminating in several thousand public beheadings.
And it has crepes.
Crepes are like thin pancakes, only way better. (If you didn’t read the previous sentence with emphasis on the word “way”, go back and read it properly.) I ordered one from a street vendor in Paris who, after deciphering my mangled French, prepared the warm, fluffy delicacy and handed it to me rolled up and blooming from the top of its serving paper like a delicious cheesy tulip. The first bite lifted me to a gastronomical plane higher than I had ever before ascended, and from which I never fully returned. Since then pancakes have tasted like cardboard to me. I understand now why people like France so much.
So, cut to six weeks ago, and I’m waiting in line at the supermarket checkout, and the guy in front of me is on his phone, talking all loud about someone named Taylor, and he keeps saying he’s going to “tee it up with him”, and I start to get mad. Shut up, I think at the guy. Why are you talking so loudly? You are essentially speaking right into someone’s ear. And who is Taylor? Is that his first name or last name? Why are you wearing a hat? You’re inside. You must have walked from an undercover car park, so the hat isn’t for sun protection. It’s a fashion statement. A red cap. Wow. Congratulations on liking the colour red. Is that what you want to hear? This goes on for a few minutes, my thoughts becoming pickier and pettier, and assuming all sorts of unfavourable things about this guy. Then he gets to the checkout and he’s really nice to the cashier, and as he’s leaving he smiles and nods to me like he’s wishing me well. What is wrong with me?
I talked to Troy about it and he reckoned I was probably stressed about something. He said I should try dwelling (Troy is my friend, by the way) on some good thoughts, you know, like hopes or inspiring quotes or good memories. I remembered crepes.
I looked on the internet to find a photograph of the crepe cart; I remembered roughly where it was. I couldn’t see the cart in any pictures, but it felt good to think of it again. I made a painting so I would remember it more often. You see those trees sort of over the hill? That’s where I got the crepe.
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