I guess while we are on the topic of talking about stories it would be most appropriate to share one. My father is the master storyteller. His stories have such vivid detail and draw you into the suspense of his seemingly always hilarious life. Whether it be from years ago as a child or his most recent struggle trying to fix something that he really doesn’t know how to fix, his stories I believe shaped my appreciation for not only the story but the storyteller.
My story takes place on one of my greatest adventures. Between my junior and senior year at Auburn University I took a summer off to travel through Europe with my roommate at the time. The difference between this trip and many that people make through Europe is that we decided that we would make this trip by bike. We started training as we could, riding back and forth between my parents house and University which was about 30 miles. The physical training was good and prepared us as it could for the physical aspects of the journey. What we weren’t prepared for was all of the stories that we would have while traveling 6 weeks, through 8 countries, at close to 2,000 miles. And stories we had.
The most fun story to tell, one normally only reserved for friends after those long evenings where everyone is sharing something funny or personal from their own lives, is one that I typically introduce as the most awkward moment of my life.
So leaving Vienna it is a perfect sunny Sunday afternoon. The weather couldn’t be more perfect. Sun is shining, nice cool breeze. People are grilling or having a picnic, kids are laughing. You just want to be outside on a day like this. And that is what most people were doing; enjoying the weather. My roommate and I had just started making our way out of the city following the Danube river along a nice scenic route. The buildings started to disappear as we moved farther away from the city. The other thing that started to disappear were people’s clothes. The droves of people lining the river bank began to have less and less clothes on as we continued our journey. 1 mile, 2 miles. I didn’t know there could be that many people without clothes on. My roommate and I didn’t say a word, both knowing that if we didn’t talk and looked straight ahead it would make for the fastest exit from the apparent nude section of the Danube. But the awkwardness was just beginning.
At one point something scary happened. Something that is scary in and of itself, but surrounded by a mob of naked people begins to take on a whole new meaning. My roommate was riding in front of me on the concrete path when I saw the situation unfold. There was a very naked woman on the right of the path. Not much farther than anyone else, but the thing that made this woman different was what she was doing. She was calling across the path to someone or something. That something was a little dog that I would soon find out she loved very much. This dog that she loved however did not have the know how to avoid 2 bikers moving at about 18 MPH. This little ran right in front of my roommate and got hit by at least the front tire of his bike, letting out a high-pitched little dog yelp that caught the attention of every naked body around. My roommate (the smart one) decides it is in his and everyone’s best interest to just keep riding. Me being behind him and seeing the reaction of the woman’s face, I stop. This woman began to scream at both of us in a language that neither one of us understand. I try to explain that I only speak English and that I am very sorry, at which the still very naked, and at this point almost distraught woman almost crying yells, “Just because you only speak English it’s no reason for your friend to run over my dog!” Being the generally empathetic person that I am, there was an urge to comfort this bare-chested woman who was in obvious emotional distress, but my own survival instinct proved to be a stronger force in this case. I say this because by the time we are actually having this dialogue I realize that the little dog yelp had in fact caught the attention of the naked sun-bathers, and in turn created a naked mob of defenders of the woman with the little yelping dog. The fear of being jumped by an angry naked mob overcame me, I quickly apologized, got on my bike, and rode away to catch up to my roommate.
This story I promise you is true and something that I really couldn’t have made up if I wanted to. I hope you enjoyed it and encourage you to share your own awkward story in the comments. Let me know what you think about the story or if you would have done anything differently.