mrs-roboto's Diaryland Diary



A more perfect weekend could not be possible. The weather cooperated beautifully for our trip up north to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Back in my travel and tourism days, I'd lead large groups of Japanese people through these fields all day long for an entire month. They usually didn't speak a word of English and I can't say too much in Japanese ("Domo Arigato," pretty much covers it). The funny thing is that despite the fact that these people couldn't comprehend me, the company I was employed by insisted that I give a lengthy talk (pretty much verbatim from a script they provided) on the history of the area and the process of growing the tulips and they refused to provide me with an interpreter. So for each tour I'd stand up at the front of the bus and speak into a megaphone while pointing out the windows at this thing or that and the passengers would either ignore me completely or politely smile and nod as if they understood me. I'd later try to engage the people who had made eye contact with me only to learn that they had no idea what I was saying.

I thought about completely forgoing my speech but rumors had circulated around the tour company that there were spies being sent out to see if we were actually doing our jobs. I'd eye each tourist cautiously. Is the little guy with the USA hat and all the camera equipment here to catch me slacking? Of course, after a while, I realized these really were just tourists. No company I've ever worked for has done a decent job of disguising a spy and I highly doubted this place was going to go to the trouble of actually finding a Japanese man and outfitting him with a fanny pack, ill-fitting khaki pants and hundreds of dollars worth of electronic equipment. I began to relax. Although I didn't completely stop giving my lectures, I did begin to ad lib quite a bit and throw in some fictitious facts here and there for my own amusement.

"If you look out on your left folks," I'd say with a big smile, "you'll see the field where many a crop circle has been reported. Crop Circles are the extraterrestrials way of communicating with us. Well, crop circles and anal probes but this is a family tour so we won't get into the latter." Here's where they'd all nod and give me a huge "Aaahhhh" in response as if what I were saying was fascinating. "Out on your right you'll see Sasquatch, also sometimes referred to as Bigfoot, Yeti, Yowie, and Skunk Ape." "Up ahead is the home of Elvis. He often throws great parties and invites his friends James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and TuPac." And so on.

My antics kept both myself and the bus driver amused for weeks. Each day I grew more creative and daring. And then it all came crashing down. I was finishing up a tour when a man who'd sat quietly in the back raised his hand. I had noticed him earlier in the trip, leaning over to whisper in his wife's ear, then later saying something in Japanese to the man in front of him. The two men had both stared oddly at me and then gone back to looking out the windows. I met his eyes warily and then pointed in his direction as if calling on a student. I prayed he hadn't understood but I was screwed. "This is all very fascinating," he said with hardly a trace of an accent. "I especially enjoyed the part about the local goats immigrating to Canada to avoid the Northwest's famous chupacabra thus the lack of decent feta cheese. I wonder if your supervisor knows just how informative you are." The wind was completely blown out of my sails. I sank into my seat and prayed for the day to end. Needless to say, this gentleman did not add any dollars to my tip jar upon disembarking.

I sat around on pins and needles for about a week wondering if I'd get canned but somehow I didn't. I'll admit to being extra kiss-assy after that. I was out and about in those fields volunteering to shoot pictures of anyone at all. Luckily, the hand signal for snapping photos is pretty universal. And I totally stuck to my script from then on. Somehow, karma gave me a break and word never made it back to the big boss.

If I wanted to be super mellow dramatic, I'd write something here about
how I can relate to that lone white tulip in a sea of red but anyone
who knows me would just piss themselves at that and well they should .

1:02 p.m. - 2004-04-05


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