Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Beetle Mania!

In the year 2000, my 25th on this planet, I spent a summer in Europe.

I was not, in this regard, a unique and special snowflake.

This is what I wrote during that time to friends back home:
"...Another species - the American Backpacker - is flourishing here as well. They're most concentrated on the second-class trains where they march and slump in huge quantities - an army of hunch-back beetles. Every one of them holds a barely-hidden disdain for the others who are ruining their view..."

Though I was in Spain and southern Italy, I can see now that Paris is no different. The RER, especially, is crawling with backpacking beetles of several varieties. Some are willfully optimistic despite the crushing heat and weight. Many are oblivious, taking out children and the seated elderly with each swoop of their great backsides. And others look ready to cry.

Often I will approach quietly to observe these creatures in their train habitat. I have been known, at times, to interject with a helpful hint or restaurant recommendation. But I will leave a bad beetle to its venom if I hear any whining about waiters, shop closings, ice, dog poop, or the fact that "nobody speaks English."

Beetle Mania: Reason #274 why I love-love my bike.

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