This Happened: Good Old Swiss Harassment

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Old Town Lausanne

I was looking out the cafe front, windows open to a perfect day in the hustle-bustle of Lausanne's Saturday afternoon, trying to forget the utter embarrassment I was experiencing. My muscles were tense, my fingers twisted into knots, all because of a grizzled, drunken Swiss man sitting on the other side of the restaurant. Using my faulty French, I had already apologized to those around me, and they suggested I change seats so that my back would face him. "I don't want to make it worse. I will leave soon," I assured them.

My lunch was delicious, a tomme vaudoise surrounded by quinoa and fresh vegetables: day 6 in the best six days of eating in my life. It would have been even more enjoyable had I not endured 45 minutes of the French-speaking wino, enlisting those seated nearby to translate for him. "He says. Don't be afraid of him." "Un oiseau noir [making bird hand motions]..." 45 minutes of this, feeling my social-awkwardness-meter increase exponentially, watching my beer disappear at a comparable rate.

I wasn't sure how I felt about the bill. A charge for my beer was glaringly absent, and the winking lush across the room didn't help to settle my uncertainty. In the end, even lunch with a side of slurred-French cannot ruin a plate of fresh cheese and veggies, the interior of an old-fashioned cafe, and the total awesomeness of simply being in Switzerland. I paid, hurried out the door, and headed straight for some amazing views atop the Cathedrale Notre-Dame.

On this day I learned that just because the drunk, 50 year old man harassing you during lunch only knows French, it doesn't make it any less awkward.

Lausanne from the Tower

4 comments:

ickleson said...

Beautiful photos, they just make me want to travel... note to self: must find passport!

iris said...

Haha, yes, I've found a passport to be pretty handy for travel ;)

Sister Shirley said...

Love the photo of the buildings, so beautiful. And it's strange to be harassed by someone in a foreign country, the few times it's happened to me I didn't speak up because I wasn't sure what the cultural "rules" were (if that makes sense!)

iris said...

Not knowing the "cultural rules" was certainly an issue for me in this instance as well, Sister Shirley. Well, cultural rules and language walls, haha.

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