Monday, October 15, 2012


I’ve sat down to write this entry probably a dozen times. I have yet to finish one. However, Oktoberfest 2012 began yesterday, September 22nd, so I’m committed to finishing this time. I think the reason I have trouble writing this post is that it’s difficult to describe how incredibly, 90-miles-an-hour-with-your-hair-on-fire fun the Munich fall festival is. It’s also difficult to remember parts of it. That’s a different issue.

I got to Munich sometime in the early afternoon and my friend Eberhard met me at the subway station near his apartment. Then we sat down and had a talk about all our hopes and fears. Naw, I’m kidding. We went to Oktoberfest and got bombed. In the words of Peter Griffin, “Let’s drink until we can’t feel feelings anymore!” Mission accomplished. My friends also forced me to order a pickle.

“Would anyone like a pickle,” said the very old and frail German woman who walked up to our table in the beer garden outside the Lowenbrau tent.

“No, thank you,” was my polite response.

“OH SURE HE DOES”, “He needs a pickle”, “HE LOVES PICKLES” was what my “friends” responded together. To this day, I have no idea how they all knew to say that together. It was like they planned it.

For a few moments, the elderly pickle sales woman and I sat there awkwardly looking first at the people I was with, then back at each other, back at my friends, down at the pickles… Finally, out of fear that if this continued all of us might get caught in an infinite loop of indecision and pickle hucksterism, I pulled out a euro coin, gave it to her and received my pickle which my friends then pressured me to eat. First lesson of the day; German pickles leave something to be desired. They are soft. Soft might be a desirable trait in something like a pillow but it is less so in a pickled cucumber. Second lesson of the day; don’t trust your friends.

The post-pickle day was great. We made our way to one of the tents my friends assured me was THE tent for our like. It was the Hacker Pcshorr Tent. Truth be told, I was at this point very familiar with the Hacker tent. I’ve been there a few times. If your 20-35 years old, this is a great tent. It isn’t a complicated place. Men wear fashionable clothes or lederhosen. Women wear fashionable clothes or dirndls (think of the dress the St. Pauli Girl wears). Everyone is drinking over-sized beers, everyone is singing, everyone is happy, and EVERYONE is drunk. The band is playing and people are swaying, talking to the opposite sex and trying desperately not to fall over. More on that later.

The second day consisted of more of the same with another group of friends. We spent the day drinking at the Hacker tent. Again, it was a lot of fun. I saw one guy, who I later found out was from New Zealand, X five liters of beer. A little background, at Oktoberfest if you are willing to stand up on your bench and drink your entire beer (1 liter) in one continuous chug (the act of “X”-ing a beer) then you will receive the adoration of the crowd. However, if you fail, you must be prepared for their unending German wrath, and as everyone knows, German wrath is second to none. Just listen to them talk. Terrifying.

Ok, back to the New Zealand guy who has already drank 2 liters of beer in the span of maybe fifteen minutes. At this point a self assured and very drunk, dough-faced German guy stands up across from the gentleman from New Zealand. He points to the Kiwi as if to challenge him; German guy’s Waterloo. They begin and each looks to be holding their own for a few seconds. Doughy German then tries to turn on the afterburners. He tilts the beer higher, overwhelming his ability to drink. Beer flows past the aforementioned doughy cheeks and onto the aforementioned doughy chest in a spectacular and majestic cascade of beer. At this point, demonstrating the desire (and peripheral vision) of a true competitor he sees he has nevertheless fallen behind. Digging deep, he tilts the beer further back. Some might say too far. Unfortunately the heart of a champion does not include the balance of a champion in a package deal.

He lost his balance and fell onto the very surprised group of people behind him in an explosion of beer, foam and baby fat. In that pile contained every person who did not find this to be the funniest thing that had ever happened. The Kiwi easily finished his beer raised it over his head and turned it upside down. A puff of foam fell on his head, down his face, and onto his shirt. He’d drink three more before the day was over and he went to the hospital for acute alcohol poisoning. The dough-faced German lad unfortunately passed way from embarrassment.

Later that night my friend’s siblings came and we continue drinking. At seven o’clock the band begins playing “popular songs” along with the more hard-core drinking fare. Two very important things happened in this segment of the evening. One, was we sang “Sweet Caroline”. They had never heard this song before. Two, all of the siblings paired off with one stranger or another. Then things got weird. Everybody started making out; everyone except me. It was like high school all over again. Just me standing there watching my friend and all his siblings making out with random strangers. The only thing I could think was, “Man, Germany is different. I am NOT drunk enough for this.” There was one of the siblings standing next to me, though. She was taking pictures. Yeah, Oktoberfest man…

Next day, I decided to walk around Munich. This is what’s known in drinking circles as a strategic mistake. The problem lies in the fact that, although I had a great time going to museums and sites, I wasn’t able to find any time to actually eat. No problem I thought, I’ll just eat at the tent. It’s too bad that the tent was so full there wasn’t anywhere to sit, let alone eat. The best I could do was a giant pretzel. Here’s a tip; if you want you want to drink around a gallon of beer in a single evening, you need to eat two giant pretzels at a minimum. What transpired was an exercise in the art of the epic fail. The next morning I woke up with a headache. That was not a surprise. What was a surprise was the fact was that it was towards the back of my head, and there was a bump there too. Hhhhmmm…

Michael: “So Madison, head hurt?”

Madison: (Oh no, what happened) “Yeah a little. Why?”

Michael and Eberhard told me. The previous night we were lucky enough to get a table at the Schoetenhomel tent. After that we were lucky enough to convince a group of six attractive girls who needed a table to share our company. My luck continued as the girls found it very interesting that I had come all the way from America. They wanted to take a picture with me. Here is precisely where my luck ended. They leaned into me on top of an unstable bench. The next thing that happened was the natural consequence of gravity and beer. We ended up as a mass of humanity and lawn furniture. On the way down I apparently struck the back of my head on the table behind me, spilling some of their beer in the process. One of the girls came up bleeding. It was bad. Actually it went so far beyond bad that it is difficult for anyone not there to understand. I felt like the heal at a 1970’s wrestling match.  I had become the masked Russian guy that the crowd hates.

I did a lot more that week. I slept at Frederik’s one weekend. Frederik tends to be a more level headed individual then me. He convinced me to see some people I haven’t spoken to in a while. Despite our history we all had a good time. I saw Thomas for the third time that trip. We met a German woman that looked exactly like Haley Berry. It was like seeing a unicorn.

That was the third Oktoberfest I went to in three years. I didn't make it this year but that’s ok. I miss the people more than Oktoberfest. That’s a lie. I miss you beer.  Maybe next year.

(Go get 'em Big E)

Later ya'll

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


If you're looking for the blog entry about Cologne, it's one down. This one's mostly about soccer.

I thought about doing another travel blog here. Then I got to Gainesville and Jacksonville. Let me summarize. Each is a sprawling metropolis made almost entirely of one story buildings and strip malls. It looks a lot like what I'd expect of Hell except I can't help but think that perhaps Hell would look more interesting.

As far as the game, damn, Scotland sucks. Seriously, they are very bad. Having said that, you can only beat the team that shows up to play you. While it is debatable as to whether or not Scotland actually showed up, the United States certainly did. While I was not excited about the new US coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, when he was hired, I have never seen the US play like that. Landon Donovan scored three, Jermaine Jones scored one and Michael Bradley scored one very memorable goal indeed. They also passed very well. That was weird.

It's only one game. Statistics and better judgement say we'll know slightly more tomorrow when we (I say we as a fan, get off me) play Brazil. We could be in for a very big disappointment. However, we were missing our second best player, at least one player was injured and several others were unavailable due, more than likely, to decisions make by Mr. Klinsmann which did not relate to their current on-field form. The real question then is how do we get all the players that look as though they deserve to play on the field at the same time. It's a good problem to have. Later ya'll, beat Brazil and Timmy Chandler sucks.


If Paris in the Summer is for lovers, then Munich in late September is for drunks. If Munich is for drunks then Prague is for drunks with a more sophisticated palette. And if Prague is for the high class drunk, then Cologne is probably for the costumed child in each of us; granted, a child on a sugar rush and covered in finger paint, but you understand. It is a strange city but a ton of fun nonetheless. It's home to the largest Carnival celebration in Germany, and most of the country's television industry, including a cartoon mouse that is sort of a mute Elmo or Big Bird. He can make a door to nowhere out of his tail. Trust me, I've seen him do it.

The first thing I saw of Cologne proper upon my arrival was the Cologne Dom (translation: a Cathedral but different somehow because Germans subclassify everything (explanation: Germans need classifications and rules like my family need booze at Christmas (side note: I like parentheses))). I got off the train from Siegen and immediately outside the station was the Dom. Looking at the Cologne Cathedral (that's what I'm calling it now, deal with it) was breathtaking. The size and detail of it is something to behold. It looks almost delicate yet massive; like a castle made intricately carved balsa wood. Notre Dame has nothing on this; crappy football team or French, Catholic landmark. It also has the most terrifying spiral staircase in history of architecture. A white knuckle climb for about five stories. It felt like fifty, but there was an incredible view at the top. Then the walk down the spiral staircase. Sometimes that keeps me up at night. PTSD.

I also saw the EL-DE Haus. My natural inclination when writing one of these is to at least try and say something funny and a little mean. So I'll be brief here. The EL-DE Haus was the former Gestapo Headquarters in Cologne and five minutes in it will make you regret every time you ever called someone Hitler or compared something to Nazi Germany. It is the definition of a dark and terrible place. It is a presupposed superiority taken to its ultimate conclusion. I'm finding it difficult to write any more here without getting sad or angry so I think it's best to move on.

THE COLOGNE MUSTARD MUSEUM!! Despite what the name sounds like, it was pretty cool. Now, I've never been a mustard connoisseur. I can only think of maybe four kinds off the top of my head: Dijon, honey, French's, and Wal-Mart imitation French's. The mustard in the Cologne Mustard Museum is even better than French's. My guide in Cologne, Lisa, was German and she agreed with me. I've never actually wanted to eat straight mustard before but I did there. It was magnificent. I also ate a chocolate truffle filled with mustard. I can't describe what how it tasted but I've never had anything like it; before or since, and it was fairly good. They also had a cool demonstration of how mustard is made. Imagine an episode of “How It's Made” only in German and you're hungry afterward, the narrators voice wasn't eerily calm and you didn't go to sleep while while watching it. Jill, that was for you.

THE LINDT CHOCOLATE MUSEUM!! The first floor sucked because all it talked about was chocolate legislation. That's like going to Disney World to hear about how they implement MPAA ratings. The other levels easily made up for it though. They had a imitation rain forest, cool chocolate sculptures and a room about the history of chocolate advertising. Milke is the only brand in German that can use a certain shade of purple. They copyrighted a color. (Careful Germany. That's damn near American.) There were a lot of other interesting things as well but seeing chocolate being made was the highlight. It's awesome and you learn a lot. For instance, did you know that after standing around for 45 minutes in a chocolate museum with out eating any chocolate you will have consider murder. Seriously. I made a knife. They might need to rethink WHY people come to a chocolate museum.

THE GERMAN SPORTS MUSEUM!! I did not go there. They play two sports. One sport is soccer. There was no need to go to a museum to hear about how good the German national team is. They will tell you. Then they will mock and belittle your team and country. Congratulations, you're very good at soccer. The other sport is handball, a sport that no one else plays. Side note: they make fun of us because we play baseball since, as they say, no one else plays it (excluding South America, Central America, The Caribbean, Asia....). Moving on...

THE DRUNK DUTCH GUY WE WALKED ALL THE WAY BACK TO HIS HOSTEL WHILE HE TOLD ME HOW MUCH HE HATED AMERICANS!! Yeah, I think that pretty much explains that one. He got drunk at a bar and his friends left him. He told me getting upset about that was “American” and implied that was due to my fellow countrymen being predisposed to violence. Side note: It is not uncommon for European sporting events to require upwards of 1000 police officers in riot gear. If Americans are, in fact violent, people like him are the cause.

THE FLEE MARKET ALONG THE RHINE!! I have always liked flee markets. That is to say that I have always liked good flee markets. Too many flee markets become a bad garage sale for old romance novels, Jordache jeans, economy packs of tube socks and mass produced plastic crap.

All of these places and events were interesting and worthwhile in their own ways. That said, Phantasialand was an experience unto itself. First things first, it might be filled with whimsy and wonder but it was still built by Germans. The tagline for the theme park is the terribly clever, “The theme park with the best attractions!” Just rolls off the tongue, right? And there was a persistent storyline about mildly creepy dragons going on the whole time too. Something about them fighting to see who would be the dragon king. I know it sounds cute like an afternoon cartoon but it just came off as weird. Like I said, it is German BUT, it was one of the most creative places I've ever been. I haven't been to Disneyland in many years but I can't imagine that I could be any more impressed with the way they created an atmosphere. There was one area that looked like it straight out of a Zelda game. It felt like a Guillermo del Toro set. No it didn't, it felt like a Guillermo del Torro movie. In one area was a very tall tower. It was built in five foot thick sections stacked on each other. On the bottom each section was a thick turquoise block and a gold eagle on each corner. In the center was a turquoise wooden post with wavy lines carved up its exterior. In a line up one side was a column of vertical wooden gears that rotated, giving the illusion that this is a very large wooden machine. The tower is stacked in the center of a two story room with an opaque ceiling made from something like rice paper and a wooden frame and bracing. At the base were four baskets large enough to comfortably contain four people. When all's clear, the basket rises in the diffuse light emanating from the ceiling and you get a fantastic view the multistory rollercoaster track that circles that room.

Ok, so there was some implied racism in some of the themed areas of the park. The African area was staffed exclusively by black men and women in stereotypical African regalia. They also had an “African” dance number. I have to doubt its authenticity. In the Asian area everyone was wearing conical, Asian hats. I presume this was to look like the popular image of rice paddy workers. Is that unfair? Don't know, I don't get to make that call. Is it wrong to promote images like that for entertainment value? Don't know that either. (Ok, yes.) I would say it wasn't any more racially troubling then some Disney movies. (It was WAY less racist than the “Lion King”. I mean those were some dark ass hyenas. Message of the movie, don't let dark “hyenas” move into your neighborhood.)

But all that aside. It was incredible. It was the sort of place that you want to go to when you visit another country. That's because when you get there you know that it is the sort of place that your country could not create. Why can't we? It isn't in us. Just like a Six Flags isn't in them. And that's what makes it so interesting. And at the end of the day Lisa and I got to watch part of a play about dragons fighting each other for something. That was bizarre.

Till next time friends

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ms. S.

The Flight Back Home

I rode to the airport on an invalid bus ticket and some advice that this would work because of the low opinion that authority figures have for foreigners. Translation: act stupid, get out of trouble. It was the role I was born to play. Thankfully such theatrics were not required. I got to the airport 3 hours before my flight departed for home which was plenty of time given the structure of Tegel Airport.

The Allied Powers, as a response to the Russian blockade of West Berlin, built Tegel hastily to help accommodate the overwhelming amount of supplies needed to keep Berlin from starving. The important word there is hastily. Unlike what you might see at an airport like Munich, JFK or Charles DeGaul, there is very little polish and very little chrome here. The gate was walled off with glass partitions immediately behind the ticket counter. The security check point consisted of two x-ray machines, two metal detectors, and before that, a pair of German immigration officials. The security area, ticket counter and gate took up roughly as much square footage as my apartment. It would not be a long walk.

I gathered my belongings and did all the necessary things before leaving. I bought some overpriced tourist crap, I called my friends for a last goodbye (Lisa was the hardest but I miss everyone) and wrote my postcards. It sucked, but that's how vacations go. Cool to arrive, fun to be there and sad to leave. Above all else though, it left me with a sense that I had just done something utterly and objectively cool. The only thing I wanted to do was tell people about just how cool it was and how cool I was for doing it. It was under those conditions that I met a very nice woman I will call S.

S. was a very nice, older woman on my flight. To be more specific, she sat in the aisle seat while I sat next to the window. For most of the flight we paid attention to the movies (as I said before Midnight in Paris isn't very good) and shared little more than the arm rest. Then, about half way through the flight, with the movies off, sleep eluding us both and the complementary adult beverages working their way to my tongue and voice box, I decided to try and strike up a conversation. I found she was very nice indeed, telling me that she worked at a drug store in New Jersey. She said everything she ought to: asking me where I was from and what not. She was easy to talk to and unassuming like the alter ego of a superhero.
As I had said before, the main thing I wanted from her was an opportunity to talk through what I thought was the fairly important story about all I'd seen and done. Go me. What I got from her was a lesson in what an important story really is. I began as such, hoping to quickly move the conversation to me,

“So where have you been traveling to?”
“Oh that sounds terribly interesting, I was in Prague a few weeks back.”
“Oh I hear Prague is wonderful but I've never gotten the chance to visit.”
“You should. It's great.”
“I'd like to, but I doubt I'll make it. I don't get to travel much.”
“So did you have a good time in Slovakia?”
“Oh yes, I grew up there.” Her lack of an accent, among other things, startled me.

I feel some background is necessary here. Czechoslovakia has a very sad history. They were sold out by the French and British and delivered to Hitler like some sort of virgin sacrifice. They were sold out by the United States as a peace offering to Stalin. They were sold out by their own for the unity of the people's revolution. There were student protest, violent crackdowns, Soviet tanks twice, listening devices, unanswered radio transmissions begging for help and forty three days of protest and general strikes. These would culminate in the first true self rule of that land since the fall of facism, and that would reveal some cracks. Namely a large crack between the Slovaks and Czech peoples. A split was necessary, and Czechoslovakia divided syllabically into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic was obviously centered firmly around Prague. Slovakia placed its capital in a town called Bratislava.

Now you know where she went, but you also know what she came from. Cut to our hero, a near speechless Madison, trying to unravel a hairball of emotions. In that moment, I felt like I was going to laugh and cry in the same instance.

“You grew up in Slovakia? How long have you been in the United States?” Best I could do.
“Since I was a little girl. My family was trapped there after the Second World War.”
“How did you get to the United States then?”
“My mother and I were able to escape during the Prague Spring in 1968. My father had to stay behind.”

Prague Spring, for those less historically inclined, was a political experiment of sorts. Moderates in “The Party” tried loosening a number of the Draconian laws put in place by the Stalinists. One such change was a lifting of travel restrictions. As has been said in the past, people will vote with their feet if there is no alternative. Many people did and a flood of humanity left Czechoslovakia.

“What about your father?” She had previously mentioned him.
“He couldn't get the paperwork to get out.”
“You had to leave your father?” To use the vernacular, shit just got real.
“Yes, he had to stay behind. It was very hard.”
“Where did you go?”
“We were able to make it to America but that didn't last long. My mother didn't do well without my father and the only way to see him again was to give up our visas.” They had to leave.

She proceeded to tell me a story about how she and her mother moved two more times, were forced to change their nationality at each stop, and how she was eventually able reconnect with her father and move, family unit intact, first to Germany and then the United States. She told me this entire story as you or I might recount going to the grocery store or how work had gone the previous week.

She impressed upon me a deep sense that I am very lucky to be where I am. She also gave me a sense that, although I doubt any of us would willingly trade a good life for a hard one, there was an immense value in her suffering. She was able to smile through a story that was so sad I had trouble controlling my emotions while I listened to it. She told me about riding a bike down a street she used to ride on as a kid. She told me about what I'm sure was crushing poverty and long nights on both sides of the world's greatest pissing contest. She told me about some people she knew that never made it back to Czechoslovakia; particularly her parents. How do you smile while saying things like that? How are you not sad or angry or filled with self pity?

I suddenly didn't feel like talking about how great it was to go to Oktoberfest or see people smoking weed in Amsterdam. It was very cool to meet a person like her. I'm glad I did.

Ok, next blog'll be about Oktoberfest or something.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Stooge, A Tourist and A Turk

Once in Berlin, after a very long night of drinking with a pair of Irish rock and roll types, Eberhard and I got onto a very crowded night bus to head back to our temporary domicile. To say it was a weird night would be an understatement and we were tired. Hell, everyone was. With that in mind, neither Eberhard nor I paid any real attention to where the other was on the bus. We both knew the stop so why would we? Fast forward to about halfway home. There were two drunks sitting next to each other, one sloppy drunk and one mean drunk. The sloppy drunk most closely resembled what one might think of if a person could be the physical embodiment of an over cooked piece of pasta. Meanwhile, his counterpart wore, from what I remember, a white T-shirt and jeans. His hair was cut close to his scalp and in one hand he was still carrying his last drink from the party or bar or far rightwing mixer or whatever.
 The sloppy drunk went to get out of the bus but tripped over the mean drunk who took a marked offense to this. I happened to be the only person that had a useful angle on the matter and pushed the sloppy drunk behind me towards the door. The mean drunk was apparently in a mood to take offense to most things by now and decided he didn't like me. I can really only guess that because I don't know what he was yelling at me in German. I only know that he was saying it as hard as he possibly could, seriously red faced. It was at this point I took off my glasses for fear that he might decide to do something rash. It was also at this point that I wished I had thought to stick with my larger friend. Damn. Back to the villain, everything was getting pretty intense. A few people, in their desire to get away from this lunatic, had evacuated the space around him and given him enough room to move comfortably. Double damn. I wondered what German prisons were like. Or hospitals.
What happened next was unbelievable. I was woefully outclasses by a modern day German Goliath. He moved towards me with a grim inevitability. I raised my hands as he lunged toward me. Years of getting beaten up… I mean training came back to me. I stepped into his path, pulled my shoulder back, aimed for the nerve that runs along the underside of his jaw line, then extended my arm while twisting my hips and leaning forward. His head rocked back before he fell onto the bus floor. Everyone in the bus stood in shocked and silent admiration. One woman looked at me as if she had not seen a real man until… Ok, this didn’t happen. Back to reality.
            I don't exactly remember this guy’s size but it is safe to say that he was bigger than me. Most people are. If he had wanted to hit me, he could have. What did he decide to do here? Here are three options: sit down and forget it, punch me in the face OR Three Stooges style eye poke. Nyuk nyuk nyuk. He was clearly a tough guy, and it did hurt. Actually, it hurt a lot. I don't know how those guys did it for all those years. At this point Eberhard jumps down and grabs the gentleman. I'd tell you more about what happened there but I couldn't really see it on account of the fingers that were recently inserted into my eye sockets. With the two of us separated, he had no way to reach me. No way that is, save for the cup in his hand containing an undisclosed alcoholic beverage. Light bulb. His next move was to throw said alcohol at me... on a crowded bus... wait for it. It hits me on my left shoulder. That is some of it hits me on my left shoulder. Most of it actually went over my shoulder and landed on the giant Turkish man in the red shirt and brown vest behind me. Awesome. While he was less than fashionable he was more than angry. What came next was sort of a blur. Again, I couldn't see very well. What I do know is the Turkish guy pushed past me and planted the backpack he was carrying on the ground. As he reached into his bag, the previously brave German drunk made a hasty path to the back of the bus. What did the Incredible Turkish Hulk pull out of his backpack? The most dangerous weapon of all; a pot lid. Was it some cool weaponized pot lid maybe, with a knife edge on it? No. Was it at least a quality pot lid like the one’s from the various cookware sets I want but know I’ll never actually spend the $374 on? No. This was my kind of pot lid. Cheap crap. Cheap intimidating crap apparently. I’m not making that up. He never reached the German guy and eventually we got off the bus. Shame. I really liked that Turkish guy. And his pot lid.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

7 hits in Russia? Cool.

I've noticed in the stats that the blog is being viewed in countries where I don't know anyone. If I don't know you then I'd like you to comment on one of my post. Let me know what you think. It's cool seeing who's reading this.

Girl from L.A.

The Girl from L.A.

The main reason I went on my trip was to meet people. Ok, that isn't true. The main reason was to drink but meeting new people came in a close second. This readily led me to walking tours. They provide a captive group of travelers, most of which are alone and looking to meet and be social.
              Every conversation on one of these tours begins the same way. “What's your name and where do you live?” To say that people thought it was unusual that I was from Alabama would be an understatement. To get an idea of their reaction, imagine you met a nice man who tells you he is from the center of the Earth. I came back with a very firm belief that the rest of the world believes that there are either no roads in Alabama or a very tall wall surrounds my state. It reminds me of that scene in the new Star Trek movie where Spock sees those other Vulcans in that weird college admissions interview thing and they congratulate him on doing so well despite the fact that he's half human. I guess that's what its like. It's like someone saying you're half human. Wait, no... Never mind.
            On one of the previously mentioned tours, the free introductory tour of Prague to be exact, I met a person I found very interesting. Our conversation began as such:

Madison: “Where are you from?”
L.A. Girl: “California, you?” She was smiling at this point with the same smile she had on since the tour started. I think her cheeks were pinned.
Madison: “California, cool. I'm from Alabama.”
L.A. Girl: “WOW, Alabama? Really?!”
Madison: “...Yeah. So what part of California?” I already had a pretty good guess by this point.
L.A. Girl: “L.A. I'd ask you where you are from but I've never been to Alabama before.” Side note: I once saw a TV show that talked about Alabama. I guess she missed that one.

(Uncomfortably long pause)

Madison: “Well I've never been to California but I know where L.A. is...” In retrospect, I'm sure she had               already assumed this.
L.A. Girl: “Well yeah but, like, you've heard of L.A. before right?”
Madison: “Hhhhmmmm, L.A.?,” I said while tapping my right index finger on the center of my upper lip.                         "How do you spell it?”

(Another uncomfortably long pause)

L.A. Girl: “Aaahhhh. Very funny you.”

               At this point I acted like I had to go to the restroom and excused myself from the conversation. She seemed nice but in a fake way. And I apologize if I have offended anyone from the great state of the Govenator but if you honestly don't know enough to hazard a guess about the largest city in my state, I doubt we have much to talk about.

She never stopped smiling the entire time.

Later ya'll