GrandEntrances

GrandEntrance
"We will have no opportunity to remake that first impression with another GrandEntrance."

The Romans perfected this schtick. Following some victory in Gaul or equally far-flung place, a triumphant general would ride into Rome at the head of his legions with much heraldry and trumpet-blowing. Employing the photographic technology of the time, the celebration would then be painstakingly carved into a bas relief and cemented into a city wall. An arch might be constructed over the following century or two, ensuring that this victory would live long in the citizens' memory. Today, some nerd schlumps off a long train ride to insist that he doesn't need a cab or a tram or even a subway ride. He and his lovely wife will instead drag their roller-bags through the middle of town during the height of the evening strolling hour. A lasting impression will remain, but mostly in the minds of those pulling those bags over dispassionate cobblestone. Finally arriving sweaty and breathless at their hotel, they receive the dispassionate attention of a distracted night clerk before proceeding without trumpetry to their room where they will leave a temporary bas relief of their exhaustion in the bedcovers when they rise the next morning.

The Muse and I have produced a considerable history of making GrandEntrances such as the latter.
We have accumulated no history whatsoever of making the former kind, though when we plan travel, our minds can't seem but keep themselves from imagining at least a plaintive bugler celebrating our arrivals. We tend to schlump into new places, failing to make that all-important positive first impression. We probably make impressions of the alternate variety. One of us might have thrown a shoe and come limping through the door. One or both of us are about three quarters of an hour past an urgently needed restroom break, so we might seem a tad brusk or distracted on first meeting. Our greetings might seem more curt than we intend. Of course there's never any way to go back and remake that critical first impression again.

I feel grateful that our arrivals don't attract large crowds. Even an appreciative crowd can get so out of hand that they're hardly worth the bother. The few hundred who witnessed our nerdily insistent entrance into Prague probably forgot all about it after a second pilsner later that evening. We were not really trying to make any kind of impression, but like with any great parody, we were merely being true to our naive intentions. We're not driving this trip, not even taking cabs, but relying solely upon hoof power and public transportation. The public transportation options seemed like a Chinese algebra puzzle to our train-traveled brains, so I insisted that we just walk the short two clicks, not remembering that every horizontal surface in Prague is covered with cobblestones and, more importantly, by their sizable cracks between. We made the sound of clay playing cards clinking in a kid's bicycle spokes. A security guard asked if he could help. I replied that he probably couldn't. "Wouldn't the lady be more comfortable on a tram?" he asked. "Probably, but we'll walk."

There was that time, now every bit as legend in our family as any triumphant prefect's victorious entry into Rome, when I managed to get a traffic cone stuck in the wheel well of our rental car. We drove the length of the Vegas Strip making one helluva racket. We finally lost the percussion section near a suburban strip mall. We've showed up on the wrong day, a day late, and sometimes even a dollar short. Last night, after the waitress informed us that the establishment didn't accept plastic, I counted our local currency to find that we were about fifty cents short of the total on the bill. I offered Euro, even dollars, but she just told us, through gritting teeth, to get lost and to enjoy our stay. We will have no opportunity to remake that first impression with another GrandEntrance.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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