Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Three Perspectives on Travel

The Pilot
“Psh, all clear,” my dad hears as the fun part of his job begins. With a long runway before him, he exhales with satisfaction similar to a newly licensed driver looking out onto an open road the first time.
Traveling is not just experiencing something new. Its time. Its work. Its money. Its life-or-death. Its technical. Its business. Its not just going out to discover. Its a delicious expensive meal balanced with the loneliness of a hotel room. Its being on call. Its packing and unpacking, packing and unpacking. Its like sprinting, working less days a year, but busting your butt when you do.
“I love being a pilot,” he's always said, though it seems to me like words sound great, but when I think of all it entails, the jetlag, the culture shock, the unsettling feeling, the outcast tourist feeling, it might not be all that glamorous. Is a pilots license in my future? Maybe not anymore.

The Wife of the Pilot & The Local Servers
“Dad's stuck in Australia,” my mom sighs.
“How's that a complaint?”
“Having an empty house is nice for a day or two, but...” and she trails off.
“Oh Mom, I'll stay on a little longer.”
“I went to Belmar Bagels, and they said of course you could come back this summer.”
“Speaking of, you know what I've been thinking about? At my bagel shop, I can't stand the weekends because the entire tri-state area thinkings its cool to flood the beach. I wouldn't care, but their so rude and never tip. I make more money serving less locals during the week. I was sitting at a cafè yesterday, and I was relating to the barista frustrated with tourists but still trying to be friendly. I don't know how they do it. These tourists, and even locals sometimes, forget that there is a human being behind the counter, not just their food. Is it really asking to much to at least act pleasant? Plus, these workers have to deal with all the different languages. When people order in Spanish or Portugese to me at work every so often, I think Um, we're in America speak English. The baristas here deal with it all the time. They must hate the foreigners, especially because some don't even try Italian. So sad.”

An Elderly Local
“Look at all of these fresh faces and young bodies,” mio zio says as we walk through his hometown of Venice. “When I was their age, I was working for my family. I haven't been outta the country in 40 years. They are taking over and dilluting the culture. Everything's catered to them, burgers and fries, my country is disappearing.”

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