In Columbia, the real world desperately needed Michelle’s attention again. This was a shame, because she had basically single-handedly organised our entire trip and driven us around and explained why high school kids took her on dates to gas stations (the answer is West Virginia, and it was a FANCY gas station) and why her shithead ex who also played the game might be wandering around her old college town still. But in Columbia she had to go to her partners graduation from medical school and get all dressed up and fancy. And while we were travelling around, while we were day drunk and sleepy in our cabin, she suddenly had to write an essay in order to get the job of her dreams. The real world has trouble letting Michelle go.
The rest of us went to the after party of the graduation after drinking some beers in the most quintessentially American bar I can imagine. It had plates all over the wall. I can’t explain it better than that. The graduation after party was in a fancy cocktail bar with a live jazz band, and for the first time since I’d become traveller Patrick, I felt like I wanted to be real world Patrick again. And the reason for that was very simple: clothes. There I was in my sneakers and stinky travel t-shirt, rubbing my tourist shoulders with well dressed, freshly minted doctors, and I felt off. I like clothes a lot, and I wanted to be wearing some nice shoes.
There was also the fact that we were Michelle’s weird internet friends, and they were her fancy doctor friends. We weren’t sure if we should even say that we are ancient nerd brethren, and instead lie, and say that we are a travelling tuba group or something more respectable. Steven spilt his drink all over the floor and the only topic of conversation I could think of was ‘when I get back to Australia I’m having a colonoscopy!’
But it was fine. Jazz is such a wanky thing.