April 15

Maybe the Truth of the Meaning of Life, Ancient and Arcane Knowledge of the Great Unknowable Universe is handed down only to persons presenting with the correct brand-name footwear. If you turn up wearing Shoe City knock-offs, you don’t get to pass Go and collect Infinite Enlightenment.

Spanish Steps

When in Rome

When I arrived back to my hostel in Cairo, just around the corner from Tahrir Square, the two obnoxious American guys had already started drinking. This was despite the fact that it was Ramadan, five o’clock in the afternoon, and mass protests and demonstrations were going on. But they had decided that it was a good time to be a tourist in Egypt, so they took a break from their Eurotrip to spend a week here.

I don’t believe that these guys, Mark and Ethan, were intentionally or maliciously being culturally insensitive. I just think they’re not the brightest travelers.

I hadn’t said anything to them about how stupid they were being because I’d thought nothing really bad would happen, but now that it almost had, I decided I needed to explain some things about Egyptian culture to them. While Mark was out getting falafel (again), I talked to Ethan because he seemed to be the slightly more intelligent of the two.

“Ethan,” I began, “I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but I just feel like you don’t quite understand that Egypt is not really the type of country where you can get drunk and wander around the streets. It’s just not respectful to people here, and Mark almost got really badly hurt last night. I just think you guys need to be a bit more careful. When you get back to Europe, you can have all the crazy drunk nights you want.”

“Yeah, man, I got it,” said Ethan. “I just thought, you know, man, ‘When in Rome,’ and shit, just, you know, just fuckin’ do whatever, man.”

As I processed this, I finished the aphorism in my head: “When in Rome, do as Romans do,” and I had to stop myself from laughing at how completely he had distorted the phrase. I opened my mouth to correct him, but instead I just sighed, shook my head, and said, “Yeah, man, whatever.”

When in Rome, flash fiction; photo of the Spanish Steps }

Quote: Tracy Engelbrecht

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This entry was published on April 15, 2014 at 10:06 pm. It’s filed under art, creativity, life, photo, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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