"I am ____________ because I (live in / am from) _____________."
Alright kids, It's story time!
While still living in Fort Collins I had one of my friends visit. He, another friend, and I decided to walk around Old Town on a Friday night. While on our way home, we approached a few twenty-something ladies who were making their way into town to start their night. The middle one was very pretty (I'd say in the 80th percentile of prettyness), wearing a small black dress (I'd say in the 15th percentile of body coverage), and was walking in a manner which seemed to indicate that she knew the following two things:
a) that she was pretty
b) her dress was small.
As I approached her, she removed some gum from her mouth and flicked it onto the sidewalk just in front of me.
I didn't really care about the gum from a littering perspective. I mean, honestly, how can one get that upset that someone left a very small piece of trash on a giant slab of man-made concrete which city officials littered there years ago. Really, I just hate stepping on gum--which is more likely to happen when people find it OK to discard their gum in the middle of a sidewalk, in front of me, at night. So, reaching the gum just after we passed each other, I took the gum in hand; excused myself from my friends; caught up with the would-be shoe vandal; placed the gum in her hand; and informed her that she had accidentally dropped it.
What surprised me after this exchange was neither her look of shock, nor my friends' looks of shock as I turned to head back towards them. No, what gave me pause were her actions following her look of surprise. She caught up with me and tapped me on the shoulder so that I would turn around. Now, you might think (as I did at the time) that she wanted me to face her so that she could confront me. No, instead, she wanted me to see her exaggeratedly dispose of the gum in a nearby trash can--not passive-aggressively, mind you, but as a child who dramatizes a "good" action to the end of being rewarded a cookie. Then she said, with no hint of irony, humor, or sarcasm, "I know better--I'm from Boulder." After that she gave me a hug. (To understand the "I'm from Boulder" comment, read this or watch this.)
Anyway, I've realized that living in France does not automatically make me better traveled. In fact, I am probably more likely to stay at home now on account of knowing less people. This is why I am glad to have visitors. For instance, this week my wife's brother has been staying with us--giving us an excuse to actually see what the south-west of France has to offer.
We spent a day in the medieval, walled city of Carcassonne (yes, of the board game fame) and the following day drove to the sovereign state of Andorra (which appears to consist only of two ski resorts). It was good to get out and see some new places... Also, it keeps me from falling into the whole "I travel a lot--I live in France." (Although, I suppose, not traveling in France sounds way more fancy than not traveling in Colorado.)