I read that Budget Travel Magazine was doing a feature on “your most embarrassing travel moment”. This sent me for a trip down memory lane as I pondered the many uncomfortable and awkward things that have happened to me on the road. Please share yours as well by tweeting to @budgettravel.
When I think of my most embarrassing travel moment, it surprisingly has nothing to do with a toilet or lack thereof ( although I would love the opportunity to apologize to those poor shocked Nubian teens who crested a sand dune at precisely the wrong time years ago, finding me in a rather compromised situation ). It’s much more personal than that. It was an attack on my intellect.
Let me provide you with some background information first. My husband, is a very bright man who reads a ton and also enjoys a good trivia game. It is a family joke (although we are quite serious about it), that he should appear on Jeopardy!. While I am not an embarrassment at trivia myself, when we play together, I am generally outmatched. At Jeopardy! I feel he has an even more profound advantage as he father is American and the game is targeted towards a U.S. audience (I am full patch Canadian).
The year is 2000. We are on a plane to the South Pacific. My husband is thrilled to discover that the in-flight entertainment system has a trivia game which you can play against fellow passengers. Sadly, however, no one seems to want to play against him, so my participation is required. Eventually I give in to his pestering and accept my role as second place finisher (or first loser if you prefer) . The first game ends in a humiliating score of RC (my husband) 1800, TC (me) 600. Two other passengers (LS and MS) join in the fun. With the stakes now higher I can feel my excitement and blood pressure rising. As sometimes happens to people on Jeopardy!, I get a little trigger happy with my buzzer. This increased adrenalin does not work in my favor but rather causes me to make more mistakes, often losing rather than gaining points. Although we could not identify LS and MS from where we were sitting, I felt my face reddening from shame as well as high blood pressure I’m sure.
The final score of the next game looked something like this:
After several more disgraceful defeats I withdrew as a clear pattern was emerging (and I was quite sure I could hear a couple snickering a few rows back). Feeling humiliated I shrank down in my seat and went back to my dot-to-dots and coloring. This Mensa trio competed for hours with my husband thankfully winning every game. I’m sure it drove LS and MS nuts.
Two days later I was on on a jungle trip when I met a couple of lawyers from San Francisco. After some pleasant chit chat we discovered that we had been on the same plane from LA two days earlier. Low and behold they had also been playing the trivia game. Excited and obviously in awe they exclaimed together “Oh my God…..are you RC?”. “Um, no……I’m actually TC”. Oh, yes I could read their minds, and I am quite sure I saw the sideways glance. To be honest, I would have thought exactly the same thing. My blonde hair just made things seems so much worse. “But I’m really funny and great at math!” I wanted to say. It was too late….they had moved on. They had returned to asking well amplified questions to our tour guide that they already knew the answers to, as a demonstration of their superior intellect.
Thank God I’m almost over the incident. I wonder if they still think about it as well ? Unless of course something terrible has befallen them such has neurotoxin poisoning caused by eating tainted reef fish. That would be truly awful.