Like…YOU’RE…REALLY WEARING PENNY LOAFERS TO DINNER!?!?!?
…Or maybe it’s mortifying when your significant other is too arrogant, too flirty with the server, too drunk, too crass.
It’s even worse when it’s clear that their behavior bothers their significant other, but they don’t seem to care.
I remember when I was a server in college, and this guy customer wouldn’t let me open a bottle of wine table side.
“LET…ME,” he said angrily, as I came up to the table with the bottle he ordered.
“Ummm…” I handed him the bottle, confused.
“Sorry…” his female date said, on his behalf. “He’s a wine rep….and he’s really anal about opening bottles. It happens every time…”
Then she gave me this pathetic apologetic look, and I wanted to punch him with the wine key.
But that pales in comparison to this guy I met last week WHEN I WAS IN GUATEMALA.
YES!!!! WELCOME back to the United States, ME!!!
ED NOTE: At this time last week, I was swimming in a river in GUATEMALA, an absolutely gorgeous and completely underrated country.
Hands down, Guatemala was THE most beautiful country I’ve ever seen. It was so beautiful I can’t believe my eyes have seen what they’ve seen. I’ve never seen anything so pure and so green and so undeveloped.
…But I’ll write more about Guatemala’s gorgeousness later.
Today is Tuesday.
I met a lot of people in Guatemala at various hostels and collected some new Toolbag Tuesday stories from ladies from several countries. (“Toolbags without borders”)
But the toolbag I actually came face-to-face with in Guatemala was a man from the Netherlands.
This 62-year-old man (he told me his age) had a particular disgust for America, and Americans in general, which doesn’t necessarily make him a toolbag, but his tirade about us “dummies” was so over-the-top that his wife was mortified.
It was clear that this wasn’t the first time he’s gone off about Americans to an American, and it was not the first time that she was mortified by her husband.
Exhibit A: His temper escalated to the point that she physically kicked him and cursed at him in their native Dutch tongue to shut the F up.
It was mortifying.
There were seven of us strangers piled into a shuttle from Antigua to Guatemala City at 9 a.m., where I was headed to the airport to fly home.
I struck up a conversation with a nice blonde girl from the Netherlands about something, or nothing, I can’t remember.
The girl and this couple then began speaking to each other in Dutch from across the aisle about where they were from, and what appeared to be casual pleasantries, when the man looked at me.
“American?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“And I bet you can’t speak any other language besides English can you?”
“Hablo un poco Espanol,” I said perfectly.
That’s when he lost it.
“You Americans are so dumb and lazy,” he started.
His wife immediately looked up from her book and laughed uncomfortably, apologizing for him, shushing him.
“No, this is important!” he said, dismissing her. “I can’t believe it’s NOT REQUIRED for people in your country to learn Spanish!”
“I studied Spanish in college,” I said.
“Well, my wife and I know Dutch, German, French, English AND we took Spanish classes when we were here in Antigua,” the man said.
Then he looked at his book, disgusted.
“I would PREFER to read a book in another language, but there are only ENGLISH books in these little libraries.”
(Yes, he was complaining about the free book he swiped from a free library.)
His wife told him something in Dutch, then nervously laughed in my direction.
“I told him to go back to reading his book and be quiet,” she told me.
“...AND ANOTHER THING!” He said loudly, ignoring her, so that everyone in the shuttle heard him loudly ignore her.
“You and your guns! I met an American at a bar and he said it wasn’t fair that cops have guns in Guatemala but citizens don’t!!! How stupid are you Americans, just waving your guns around like PENS.”
Or did he say penises?
(It was hard to tell with that accent.)
“AMERICA! HAHA! ‘BETTER THAN EVERYONE,’ BUT BEST AT NOTHING!” he concluded.
His wife then KICKED HIM hard from across the aisle and told him, again, to shut up.
Then she reminded him about the "very nice people from New York" who had offered their Netherlands sailor friends a place to stay when Hurricane Sandy hit.
“No one back home would just offer strangers the keys to their vacation home,” she pointed out.
It was a nice story, but nothing—not her being mortified or kicking her husband—would deter him from ripping me a new one.
“…AND I BET YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE INTERNATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE!” he yelled.
More Dutch pleading by his wife to stop.
“NO, NO,” he shushed his wife again, looking at me. “WHAT IF YOU HAD A HEART ATTACK HERE?”
“Well…I’m 33 years old…” I said.
“IT DOESN’T MATTER! YOU DON’T THINK YOU COULD GET SERIOUSLY INJURED?”
I then thought about how rickety the shuttle was, how easy it would be to tip over.
“IF YOU GET HURT, WHO’S GOING TO PAY FOR IT?”
I wondered why on Earth he was so upset; he certainly wasn’t going to pay if I broke my leg.
The whole shuttle was silent.
I wanted to die.
“I’m sorry, he gets very angry, please don’t be upset,” his wife APOLOGIZED to me as the shuttle mercifully pulled into the airport entrance.
Ugh. This is her life.
“And ANOTHER thing…your country wouldn’t let me get off my sailboat when I came to the Florida Keys from Cuba!” he screamed. “I AM A GUEST IN YOUR COUNTRY!"
I mumbled a “good luck” to his wife as I got out of the shuttle and walked into the airport, watching her yell at him some more, wishing that the only mortifying thing I would have witnessed that day were penny loafers.
And then I bought myself a Coca-Cola.