Conversation at dinner several weeks ago:
Me: Hey guys, in March I have to go to Berlin for a few days.
#4: Where’s Berlin?
Me: It’s in Germany
#3, who is 13 and twirling her hair: Does that mean you’ll have to learn Germish?
See this picture?
Isn’t it beautiful? It’s not mine. My step-sister took this on her honeymoon. It’s like Spain or something. She had to leave her hotel, in a foreign country, and somehow become situated in a place where she could take that picture.
This one’s mine.
It’s a picture of a dead rat in the ceiling of the theater in London.
I’m a terrible traveler. This is ironic, considering that I lived on the road for five years. Lived out of a suitcase, didn’t keep an apartment, the whole deal. In every city my sightseeing consisted of:
1) the airport
2) the loading dock of the theater
3) the rest of the theater
4) the hotel bar/restaurant
5) my room in the hotel
6) the nearest Starbucks
I might also get to include the local hot yoga studio if there was one, the grocery store if I had access to a kitchen, and a place to buy shoes. I traveled an entire road box full of shoes, but that’s another post.
There are people that, when they travel for work, go see stuff. I’m not one of them. I spent a lot of time in my hotel room wishing that I was one, but eventually I came to realize that I liked being in my hotel room and I wasn’t really interested in seeing the Second Biggest Ball of Mud West of the Mississippi. Not to be a dick, but most places in middle America are really not that interesting. I am allowed to say this because I lived in Indiana for twenty-four years.
But Europe? Their Second Biggest Ball of Mud is older than our whole country. That’s something else entirely.
My boss was supposed to do the Berlin gig but had a conflict, and very awesomely set it up for me to cover him. It’s a short trip, but I am woefully unprepared. I’m not packed. I think some of my laundry is done. I had to buy a suit Friday. The saleswoman was panicking on my behalf because I needed a suit by Sunday; I told her it was no problem because I actually had an entire 35 minutes to find a suit. I found it. It’s a good suit. I plan to write it off on my taxes.
I am fortunate that one of the people I am traveling with is quite possibly the greatest traveler on the planet. He is a very adventurous soul and is pretty much always moving from one exotic locale to another. He goes and sees stuff. He’s also a stage manager, so he’s terribly, terribly organized.
I’m staying an extra day in Berlin at the end because, let’s be honest, when the hell am I going to get to go to Berlin again? At least not until #5 is out of high school, and that’s nine winters away. Not that I’m counting.
My fantastic traveling companion is NOT staying the extra day. This day is also my birthday. Where I will be in a foreign country, where I do not speak the language, because in addition to not being packed yet I have not read past page twenty-three in my travel guide, only just now downloaded Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations Berlin Episode, and I forgot to learn Germish.