I’ve written before about how when I was 18, my family and I took a road trip from the east coast over to Banff, Canada.
On one day of our trip, we took a hike at Lake Louise. It was July, but at the top of the hike up the mountain, it was so cold that there were snow flurries. It was a seriously strange experience.
At any rate, I was dressed like this, which is important to the story:
There’s a beautiful hotel right by Lake Louise, and this being pre-pandemic times, we were able to walk right into the lobby and look around.
I don’t remember exactly what the lobby looked like, but I do remember that it seemed very elegant to me, and I also remember that a lady in a beautiful ball-gown-like dress was playing her harp in the hall.
Dressed in my smoke-scented hiking/camping clothing, I felt seriously out of place. A building where someone is hired to play the harp as background music is not the type of place you feel comfortable wearing hiking boots.
(You can see photos of the hotel here.)
I think Mr. FG would enjoy visiting Banff, and I feel quite sure that he would prefer not to camp his way through the sightseeing there.
So, maybe one day I will go back and splurge on a night at the Lake Louise Fairmont, but this time I will be dressed appropriately.
And I will smell better too. 😉
I went to a wedding for a co-worker. We shared an office and I knew she had invited some co-workers of ours as well, so, I went. Once at the reception, I realized there was exactly ONE co-worker of ours there, and he went to her church (where this was held) so he and his wife sat at a table full of her extended family and church friends. There was no seating chart, and I found myself at the end of a long table of complete strangers. The ones on either side of me looked at me oddly, as if wondering from whence I sprang, then ignored me for the rest of the reception. The conversation amongst my table-mates was all about friends, family and church members, none of whom I knew, and my opening attempts at conversation were answered in monosyllables. Loud country-western music started up and was loud enough to keep me from hearing anything else. I’ve nothing against country-western, but this was so loud as to be painful. Sometime while watching the bride’s parents and siblings (poorly) attempting a rehearsed, trendy dance together, trying not to wince at the music’s decibel level and trying to look pleasant while being rudely ignored, I came to the conclusion that I was really, really, out of place.
Oh, that sounds like an utterly uncomfortable experience. Yikes.
Hi Kristen, I have stayed at that hotel. It is a lovely spot and we enjoyed our short stay. However, someone stole my expensive waterproof jacket in the short time I left it behind in the cafe. At first I could not believe that something like that could happen in such a supposedly high class environment! Also, that day I was wearing jodhpurs and muddy riding boots after a wonderful glaciers trail ride and no one batted an eyelid at me 😀
I hope you do get to stay there one day but keep an eye on your belongings!
Oh, goodness, I can’t believe someone took your jacket!
kristin @ going country says
I had a similar experience once when my husband and I spontaneously took our boat across the lake to a winery. We had been digging potatoes and burning brush on our beach right before we went and didn’t bother changing. We also had our grubby toddler with us. To say we were out of place among the childless wine-tour types from NYC would be a great understatement, but the memory of sitting on the lawn in front of the winery sharing a bottle of wine while the toddler ran around eating bread and cheese is one of my favorite memories of living on the lake.
I also feel very out of place every year at our county fair. We’re about the only family here that has no connection to ranching, and so we’re about the only ones not in jeans, boots, big buckles, and cowboy hats.
Joanne in the U.K. says
I had a very ‘out of place’ experience a few weeks ago when a very good friend who I’ve known for over 20 years invited me to an event at her new church.
I’m not a believer at all but have attended events at her previous church and enjoyed them greatly. I love a good hymn and the feeling of fellowship and I’ve always had a very good time. However her new church is super evangelical and I was totally out of my comfort zone. I’d never experienced arm waving and out loud praying and repeating of phrases by the congregation and I wasn’t comfortable at all.
Everyone was sweet and welcoming and I was happy to support my friend but I was very pleased when the 3 hour event was over.
I can imagine how you might have felt! A more liturgical service might have been more comfortable. 🙂
Lynda W. says
Sadly enough, being in church until I moved away frm home & didn’t need to go anymore (parent’s rules). Have since found a loving Higher Power & all is good now.
Every time I had to go to a function at my husband’s job. Everyone was always nice to me but I just felt like a fraud—dressed in a manner I never would other wise be (a fancy dress) and quiet because I did not want to embarrass my husband by being too loud or starting to talk about my job and ending up focusing on its more grizzly aspects and not realizing I was horrifying people. I am socially awkward and it has not gotten better with age.
Ruth T says
My senior year of high school we had 2 lunch periods and almost all of my friends were in the one I didn’t have. My school was kind of small (about 100 kids per grade) and I tried sitting with the other seniors at the start of the year. On one side of me I had a bunch of guys that were talking about their drunken party over the weekend. On the other side I had a group of girls talking about birth control and what it allowed them to do with their boyfriends. Neither was a conversation I could participate in. After a week of awkwardness and feeling our of place, I started eating lunch in the library. My mom worked in the school library that year and I would take my lunch into one of the back rooms of the library and look through old yearbooks from the 1940’s through the 1960’s. It was really interesting and I loved it! So what started out as a time I felt totally out of place turned into a year full of fond memories.
These are “character-building” experiences! Awkward and weird, maybe painful or hilarious; yes, I’ve had several similar to these. My takeaway is to try to ease others’ discomfort if I’m somewhere and see someone else who looks like they are feeling out of place or alone. I’ve met some great people that way.
My comment is not about being out of place, more about being “in” place. My middle name is Louise. After Lake Louise. Before my parents married, my mother worked for a photographer who made his living selling landscape photography of different parts of the park. One of her jobs was to hand colour what were at that time, black and white prints.
Thank you for this unintended reminder.