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:

Unknown said...

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

h 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!)

h 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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