3 Guys Standing Around Talking About Europe

“Tara and I are heading up to Seattle this weekend.”

“Cool. You guys taking the train?”

“No, we’re driving. But we’d love to take the train sometime.”

“You should. It’s not much more expensive than driving, and you can kick back and enjoy the scenery.”

“Plus, two words: cocktail car!”

“And it would give you time to knock out your freelance writing assignment. Might even give you inspiration. What’s the topic about?”

“It’s a pressure washer manual that was translated from German into English by a German guy who speaks English, so the writing is pretty clunky. I basically have to translate the translation.”

“Chris speaks German.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yes, I do. I lived in Salzburg, Austria for a year. Loved it over there.”

“I’ve been thinking of moving to Spain. Or was, before my son was born. Actually, I still am. I love the idea of living in a country where a siesta is a built-in part of every day.”

“That, and you get generous vacation time. And family leave. If you have a baby over there, you get up to a year and a half off. With pay. Both mothers and fathers.”

“Holy shit. I want to move to Europe, take a job, and start having babies. Hell, having babies will be my job.”

“The healthcare system is fantastic.”

“On the downside, though, a friend of mine who moved to Germany last year just posted on Facebook today that gas costs about $8 a gallon.”

“True, but they have an excellent transportation system. Nobody thinks twice about taking the train.”

“That, and they walk everywhere. In Salzburg, on our lunch hour we’d walk fifteen blocks for a kebab. It was no big deal. There would be interesting markets and shops along the way.”

“And I complain about walking to the pizza joint across the street. I did it once, and thought, why am I doing this? I’ve got a car!

“The thing I miss most about France is gas station baguettes.”

“They sell baguettes in gas stations over there?!”

“Not just baguettes. All kinds of things. Gas stations in France are a lot different than gas stations here. They’re very upscale, with bakeries and sit-down restaurants. Everything is baked fresh, and delicious.”

“Yeah, over here our food is always wrapped in plastic and full of preservatives. In Europe, it’s all fresh. Do they even sell cheese in plastic?”

“People usually just buy what they need. They’ll cut off a hunk for you. Same with fruit. You can buy a ten pound bag of cherries, or just a handful.”

“That’s great, but you have to shop every day, right? I don’t know if I could handle that. I dread going to the grocery store once a week.”

“You can buy enough for a couple days at a time. But they make it more convenient to shop there every day. There are markets everywhere.”

“That’s true. You hop off the train after an easy day at work, and there’s probably a market with fresh produce on the bottom floor of your flat. You just grab what you need, go upstairs, and cook yourself a meal.”

“You guys realize that somewhere in Germany right now, there are three guys standing around a break room talking about America, right? ‘Their gas stations are awful places with fried gizzards under heat lamps. They hop in their cars to drive across the street, and only get two weeks of vacation a year.'”

“‘Yeah, but their gas only costs $3-something a gallon.'”

“It’s all about perspective.”



Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

12 thoughts on “3 Guys Standing Around Talking About Europe

  1. Hilarious. I will say that one thing we absolutely loved about Italy was that we could walk everywhere we wanted to go, except the Vatican, for that we needed a taxi. And stopping for a cafe in the afternoon…wonderFUL! Buying fresh, local foods…marvelous! Everyone we interacted with in shops and restaurants seemed truly happy to be there and happy we were there. Of course, we were on vacation…perspective.


    1. I don’t picture the Vatican as being big enough for a taxi. I always thought it was basically just a square, but I realize now that’s incorrect. I think Americans need to get into the habit of stopping in cafes in the afternoon. Then again, we do have “happy hour…”


      1. We had to take a taxi to the Vatican. It was too far from our hotel, but once we got there we walked everywhere.
        Ahh, the happy hour. A great American past time no doubt. Sad that we allow ourselves only an hour to be “happy”.


  2. Mark, hysterical! LOVE the last two lines.

    As Honie Briggs shared, it’s a whole other atmosphere in Europe. Laid back and more about quality than quantity. I’ve only visited a few European countries, but I lived in Amsterdam for a whole summer and LOVED it. I also lived in Japan for a summer and loved it as well. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I actually thought of returning there and staying for a whole year. But it’s funny, for as much as I admired and respected their culture and thought it far better than ours in MANY ways, they too thought the same about the U.S. and wanted to move here.

    Yup…it’s all about the perspective.


    1. It’s interesting to hear about their perspective regarding us. I’ve never been to Europe, but would love to go someday. The question is, where? There are so many great countries I’d like to visit. I guess the answer is: multiple trips!


    1. I suppose if you invested in a Eurorail pass and didn’t have to worry about paying $8 for a gallon of gas, it would be a tad more affordable.

      Glad you like the background. I’m trying to focus the blog more on the Pacific Northwest. What better way to do so than to have a background image filled with rain?


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