It happened to me the last time I was in Alaska, where on a bus tour of Denali National Park I sat next to a guy who had about six cameras dangling from his neck. "Where you from?" he asked.
I answered, "Seattle."
He broke into a broad grin, as if I had just said that I was from Atlantis. "Where in Seattle?"
"The Ballard neighborhood," I said, beginning to shrink into my seat.
The grin got even broader. "Where in Ballard?"
Oh for God's sakes! The part of Ballard with the streets and the stoplights and all the houses! But I didn't say that. I told him which part of Ballard, and then he said something like, "My cousin Seymour used to drive through Ballard on his way to work, fourteen years ago." As if that nugget of information made life bearable. Imagine the luck, coming all the way to Denali National Park to find out such riveting news about your cousin! And was that a bear that we just missed while you were talking?
Then he asked me where I grew up so we could go through the whole thing again. So I coated him in honey and threw him out the bus window to fend for himself.
Honestly, can we just come to some kind of agreement on this? I'll tell you where I'm from, but no follow-up questions?
Okay, I got that off my chest. What are some of the things that annoy you about your fellow travelers? And where you from?