Remember me saying a few posts back (“Keep Austin Weird“) that I came across as a bit of an idiot to the rest of the Dark
Continents crew? Not that they ever said it in so many words, ‘cos they’re all far too nice and polite. After Day One in Austin, the gaffes just kept on coming. I gave too much money to beggars, earning The Look and a stern talking to from John P. On my last day in Austin, I dragged Adrian and Bev all over town in search of little girls’ dresses, and with only an hour to go until I had to catch the bus to the airport, I took them on a frantic, expensive dash to a shopping mall several kilometres in the opposite direction (I made it to my boarding gate with four minutes to spare before it closed).
Every second sentence coming out of my mouth started with, “In Australia/New Zealand, it’s different…” until their eyes would start to roll and I could just about hear them thinking “well, of course it’s different, idiot – they’re different countries.” At the launch party, I decided to partake of the magnificent spread that Bev and Fay had laid out. I saw crackers. I saw a shallow round plastic tub of some brown gloopy substance. I thought, “Yum – hummus!” I picked up a cracker, scooped up a BIG dollop of the mystery foodstuff, popped it in my mouth…
It was horseradish sauce. Intended to be spread sparingly on a slice of bread and topped with roast beef and cheese, NOT eaten by the ladleful (and the crazy thing was, once I got over the initial shock to the taste buds, I kinda liked it).
I told the others about my error. They thought it was freaking hilarious. At breakfast the next morning, while they were still giggling about it, a random thought occurred to me, and before I had paused to consider the wisdom of uttering it out loud, my mouth was open and words were coming out.
“That’s another thing that’s different in Australia… the toilets.”
“Oh? How so?
“It’s the water level. In Australia, the water only just covers the trap. Here, it reaches three quarters of the way up the bowl. I keep putting my hand in it.”
Sylvia and Bev exchanged puzzled glances. Eventually, Sylvia just had to ask.
“Why are putting your hand in it?”
It was my turn to look puzzled, until I got her meaning. “Oh, no, I don’t do it on purpose!” A curious mental image of me peering into the toilet bowl and batting at the water like a cat fishing for goldfish entered my head. I lowered my voice. “I do it accidentally. You know, when I…wipe.”
There was a moment of stunned silence. And then they fell to pieces. If you ever wanted to know what a ROFLMAO looks like, these two were the epitome.
A hoot, huh? I think that’s American for ‘idiot’.
I also took lots of photos of signs. Every day en route to the Doubletree Hotel we drove past the Texas Propane Gas Association. “I must get a photo of that sign,” I said. “Every time I see it, it reminds me of ‘Family Guy’.”
“’Family Guy’?” More confused silence. “Oh, you mean ‘King of the Hill’.” (All together now, one, two, three…idiot.)