|Yep, yep, yep!|
|Time for the good stuff|
So, I had an interesting experience yesterday at the Florence airport bus stop. It made me sincerely wonder if this would take place in the U.S.:
There was a line of people about 50 meters long waiting to board the shuttle to the downtown Santa Maria Novella train station. After about 15 minutes, a man and woman joined the scene, but immediately went straight to the front part of the cue. To their credit, we weren't the most organized line, and they had simply chosen to stand under the actual waiting shelter. A Spanish man approached them and tried to explain the process of our cue and where to appropriately join. The blonde couple simply shook their heads and smiled. No Spanish, check. An Italian man helpfully followed suit, thinking since they were traveling here he'd have a good shot at getting through. Nada. A nice German girl gave a third effort. Nill.
I figured if European languages were failing, I probably had the best shot. I approached the couple and asked, "Do you speak English?"
"Nein." The man replied, though apparently he didn't understand German.
So there we were, standing with the first couple traveling the world who had never seen a line of people waiting for a bus. And maybe the first people I've met in Europe that understood nothing of Spanish, Italian, German nor English.
The bus finally arrived, and it was apparent that the people in the front of the line were standing their ground, myself included. The blonde couple stayed where they were, allowing the assertive ones to board ahead of them. Partway through the cue, a couple of soft-hearted young girls let the couple in. When they boarded the bus everyone started clapping (except my German seat-mate and myself; were too busy laughing), and loudly complimented their balls. Though they probably missed the compliments coming in languages they didn't understand. Their faces were red, but they smirked unabashedly and took their seats. Winning?
I haven't taken many public buses in the United States, but I've certainly never experienced anything like this. I tried to imagine what I would expect Americans to do in this situation. Would we become violent and force the couple to the back of the line? Or would we be proper and ignore the fact that we were butted in order to save face? I don't know, maybe we'd bravely approach them and kindly explain the situation, then sarcastically applaud them when they beat the system.
I'm not convinced that this is a culturally specific interaction, but I'm also not convinced that it isn't. It struck me as very unique, and I couldn't stop giggling at the brazen balls of everyone involved. What would you do?