This is a short one today, but a definitive case of wonder.
On Thursdays, I meet with a small group of twelfth-grade boys for food, Halo 3, and a little spiritual discussion thrown in at the end. This evening, while we chomped down on our Döner Kebap orders at the Munzer, I asked one of the guys, Josh, what he thought of the Angels and Airwaves concert he attended last week. He replied, “It was awesome” (which is a standard senior guy adjective of response, right up there with “wicked” and “epic”).
“Where was it?” I asked.
“Luxembourg,” he said as if the Grand Duchy was nothing more than a club down the street.
“Oh, wow,” I replied. “That’s farther away than I thought.”
“It’s not to far away,” he said.
“Yeah, it’s pretty close,” said Jan, one of the other guys.
“Oh, I guess you’re right. It’s just north of Ramstein, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” said Josh. “Doesn’t take that long to get there. You just cut through France.”
There are very few places in the world that allow for a statement like that. It’s even hard for a Massachusetts resident to explain a route by saying, “Oh, yeah, you just cut through Rhode Island” (though, really, the real extraordinary thing about Massachusetts residents is how every set of directions they give contains at least one Dunkin Donuts as a landmark). I found it extraordinary not that Josh and the other concert-goers “cut through France,” but how nonchalantly he said it. I guess I still haven’t gotten used to the whole European lifestyle – carving a swath of expedience through an entirely different country still seems … well … foreign.
I’m not sure exactly what this exchange can teach me, but I know one thing: if you’re ever up from southwestern Germany on your way to visit the Grand Duke, take the highway through France. Apparently, it’s a shortcut.