Superior to the Fork People

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly blog link-up based on a photo prompt. The Challenge – write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle, and end. (No one will be ostracized for going a few words over the count.) The Key – make every word count. Up to the challenge? Join in

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chopsticks

Superior to the Fork People

It was a tiny, tucked-away diner, though more kitchen-slash-dining-room than restaurant.

“Why did I get throw-away chopsticks?”

“Because you’re stupid American,” she answered.

“I know how to eat with chopsticks.”

“I doubt it.” She rolled her eyes, shuffled back to the kitchen, and muttered something in a language I was still learning.

“I am not a ‘stupid American’,” I said aloud, but to myself.

“All Americans are stupid Americans,” came a voice behind me.

I didn’t acknowledge him. After years travelling abroad, I knew quite well what he meant. And he was right. We are, mostly for thinking we’re not.

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100 words. Feedback is always appreciated. Comments of any kind, really–so long as they are related to the post.

I’ve traveled abroad three times, all as a student. Each time I was called a “stupid American” at some point, or many points. Sometimes it was direct, others as a remark I was meant to hear, but not respond. I never let it bother me. I understood what each speaker meant – it meant they had been inconvenienced by my presence, not that I, personally, had done anything wrong. I had been coached prior to each trip to respect the ways and laws of the country I was visiting, and tips to not stand out as a tourist, or worse, and American tourist, and I tried. I did witness groups that inspired such sentiments–groups who were loud or pushy, or complained vehemently that their accustomed customs, foods, or attitudes weren’t the way of the world. This isn’t how all citizens of other countries view us, but it happened enough that it is an experience that stands out in my memories of travel abroad.

What story comes to mind when you see that picture? Join in

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**Featured and Post Image Copyright – Marie Gail Stratford

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23 thoughts on “Superior to the Fork People

    • It’s a great writing exercise. And fun too. Both “join in” links will take you to the main page for this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt with all the tips and instructions.
      There are about 100 participants right now, so plenty of examples to look to. If you already have a story in mind, you should totally try it out. It’s a very supportive group too.

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  1. I’ve never had a chance to travel abroad, yet. I did recently learn how to eat with chopsticks though. The thing is, I’m better with the to-go chopsticks as compared to the “nice” in restaurant ones, for now. Pho and dumplings are my new favorite foods.

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    • I’m better with the to-go ones too. I think it’s the square shape. It fits better in my hand.
      I do hope you get abroad one day. It’s a life-changing experience. The insults were few and far between, well, except in southern England. The day I was in Canterbury was rough.

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    • Thank you Doug.
      Ah, the mob. They’re at issue no matter where they go. “Chameleon” is the best method. It gives you a chance to really experience a place, without intruding on it.

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    • Thank you!
      I didn’t think saying anything would make any difference, or would just make it worse, so I thought it best to ignore it. It didn’t ruin my experience, thankfully.

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  2. I met some UGLY AMERICANS in Ireland and wanted to crawl under a rock they were so rude. Too bad I had no choice but to travel with them for a short while – we were on the same plane. Good take on this weeks prompt,

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    • It’s so embarrassing, isn’t it. To witness that and know you’re guilty by association. When I was around that kind of group, I kept my mouth shut so my accent wouldn’t give me away as one of “those people”. Thankfully none of my traveling partners ever behaved in such a manner.
      Thanks for visiting. 🙂

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    • Thank you Mr Binks. You’re a world traveler (being you’ve been to Spain twice)…have you run into your fair share of obnoxious travelers?

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    • Thank you!
      I’ve met all kinds, too, traveling abroad and around the US. But being generalized did make me more aware of the consequences, so I’ve worked to not do it myself.

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  3. Melanie, My husband always said that it helps if you can speak at least a couple of words in the foriegn language. In our travels, I always found people firendly. At least if they weren’t, they didn’t say anything to me. Good story and well written. 🙂 —Susan

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    • Thank you Susan.
      It does help to be able to speak some basic and necessary phrases. It’s respectful too. I’m glad you haven’t experienced this. It can put a damper on a day.

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  4. I’m reminded of European Vacation when the Griswolds visited a French restaurant and all the remarks the waiter made that they couldn’t understand. Well done, Melanie.

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