My whole body aches. My neck, in particular, is sore from resting my head on the car window. And then… then I remember that I’m in Germany. I’m in Germany, traveling with some of my favorite people. The excitement wakes me up, and my exhaustion wanes slightly.
If the security personnel do their job properly, they just might cause you to miss your plane, thereby possibly saving your life.
One piece of advice I give to all incoming college freshmen is to always have a funny, lighthearted embarrassing story to tell about yourself. Icebreakers are popular in college, particularly the question: “share your most embarrassing moment.” It’s a silly question because no one wants to share their actual most humiliating moment to a group of complete strangers and relive the embarrassment. My real low points would achieve the complete opposite of breaking the ice. The room would fall silent, and everyone would feel awkward because deeply embarrassing stories are painful to hear. The only thing worse would be to say that you don’t have any embarrassing stories. (LIAR.) No, what people want is a humorous self-deprecating story of mild woe. I’ve had to answer that awful icebreaker question so many times, I have a few stories ready to go at all times. Today, I’ll be sharing one of them. Hopefully, it’ll break the ice.
“The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.”
I thought about naming this post “Great Expectations,” but I didn’t want to deal with angry, disappointed Dickens groupies, asking about ruin in the Victorian novel.
But this post IS about expectations. Here’s a tale as old as two years ago, during my “wild” college days in Buenos Aires. The story has all the makings of a mediocre film: late night adventures in a foreign city, a charismatic group of friends, and a chance at love.*