Where this really backfired was in Graz, Austria. I was walking around the area new to me (having only been there a few days) and was looking for an open bar. I couldn’t find it, but I noticed someone drinking it at a Mexican burger place, so I stopped by, knowing it was bottled beer (I prefer draft beer), but I was happy to buy something. .
I didn’t try to speak German, but when I asked the owner if he spoke English, he confirmed that he did and told me the guy who was drinking even though I hadn’t asked. I also confirmed that they speak English. So I ordered a beer and a glass which was brought and then questions were asked. “Where are you from?” Now I’m not sure why I said Ireland. Granted, I didn’t want to be part of the Brexit conversation and I know he could have started the argument because the guy at the bar was already unsteady on his feet. But I said it…and enjoyed the results. The bar owner replied, “Oh, it’s a beautiful country and it’s very warm. It must be really cold here!” In retrospect, maybe I should have just laughed and moved on, but while I do agree that Ireland is really beautiful, it’s certainly seldom warm, and it’s been a long time since August. At night it will be much colder than in Graz. So I said, You think “The owner said it’s next to Australia.” “No, that’s New Zealand. Ireland is part of England,” said my tipsy friend.
I couldn’t let it go now, and had a hard time explaining that Ireland wasn’t part of England, but it was closer to England. So the bar owner researched the country on his mobile phone and gave me pictures of the glaciers and hot springs he found. At this point I have to give up and confess that we spent half an hour talking about how “we” dealt with ice and snow and the high cost of living in Reykjavík. It got weirder and worse and as I was leaving I was drunkenly hugged by another customer who told me he loved me and would never forget an Icelandic man. . I’m sure I forgot about it by the next morning.