I love to travel. Whether it be a road trip or a flight across an ocean, I’m never happier than when I’m Somewhere Else. That being said, sometimes being a woman abroad can be a bit challenging. Like the time I went to Stuttgart, Germany.
In 2014, my friend Ron and I spent a few weeks in Europe in celebration of his 50th birthday. Ron’s a car guy, so one of our stops was Stuttgart, to visit the Porsche Museum. It’s not somewhere I would normally have gone, but it was Ron’s trip, and I happily came along. As it turns out, it was a great stop, as I learned something new about myself: I love taking photos of sports cars.
After several hours checking out every nook and cranny of the museum, we were ready for a beer and a bite to eat, so we headed into the city centre. We settled on a pub (because of course we did) and took a seat on the patio.
And that’s when the fun began.
Our server was a somewhat abrupt young man who refused to interact with me. Taking our order, he started by asking Ron what he wanted. No big deal there, as servers usually have a pattern they follow around the table. But when Ron said he’d have the special, the server said, “Two?” Ron was very confused when he answered, “No,” and even more confused when the server continued to stare at him in silence.
Eventually, once the silence had become uncomfortable, I just spoke up with my order. While our server did write it down, he didn’t acknowledge me, or even look in my direction. I don’t remember what I got for a main, but I did get garlic bread as a side, and when I asked if I could get them at the same time, he finally deigned to look in my direction – to tell me that it wasn’t possible, and I would get them as each was ready. And he stalked off.
Ron, with the most, “Oh this is gonna be good,” grin I have ever seen, settled in for the show while I tried to keep my head from actively exploding.
Hence began my mission to chip away at our server’s obstinance over the course of our evening. Ron wanted more beer? I ordered it. Ron wanted even more beer? I ordered that, too. Dessert? Yep. All me. And every time I flagged him down, our server would come to the table and ask Ron what he wanted. Since he’s a very cool ally, Ron would wordlessly gesture in my direction to force our server to interact with me. Hell, when it came time to settle up, since we were paying cash and the money happened to be in Ron’s wallet, he passed me the notes under the table so I could take care of it.
And you know what? It fucking worked! Because when we were finished, I went inside the restaurant to pee before we left, and our server saw me, and without any prompting he pointed me in the direction of the washroom.
And you know what else? This is one of our most told travel stories. It always gets lots of laughs. (Well, laughs and eyerolls. But mostly laughs.)
Which just goes to show – everybody likes a win.