You can tell we're American by the way we clonk down the metro stairs. We drag our over-sized suitcases as the wheels thug on the concrete steps and we attempt to figure out which line to take to get from Gare du Nord to Rue du Bac. We don't even have to be speaking loudly. Heck, we could even be dressed in chic suits rather than trainers and sweats. You hear the clonk-clonk-clonk and you know immediately.
I think every American should have to travel to places where he or she becomes immediately self-conscious of the inherent American-ism that are so deeply ingrained in us we often fail to notice their existence.
At home, I have no problem pulling my suitcase down the 12 stairs despite having a modern machine that could do it for me. I know the modern machine is not an option for me in the Paris metro, and the clonk sound is slightly dulled in my house due to carpeting. Standing in the metro rush on a Friday evening, though, I feel the necessity to pick up my suitcase and carry it up and down the many stairs we encounter on our two transfer-three train journey from the train station to the apartment. The disregard I feel towards my luggage at my house becomes something inherently linked to my pride/self presentation to the world in the metro, as if dragging my luggage is a sign of greater lapses in judgement, those of apathy and disregard. Things I do not want to associate myself with.
I want to be caring and passionate. I want to leave a mark that's greater than tire tracks of small rubber wheels.
Then again, though, it's just a suitcase. It's meant to be lugged.
a bientot & cheers,