Anecdote time….

We were in the Autogrill (restaurant) over the Autostrada A1 (highway) north of Rome (Italy), on vacation.

The restaurant is on a bridge which had been built over the highway to house the restaurant. You climb the stairs at one end, the restaurant (and a small convenience/tourist store) sits directly over the highway. Cars pass directly under you at 100kph+.

In the restaurant with us were a small number of random Italians, a small number of random tourists, a medium size group of Japanese tourists, and a larger group of Australian tourists.

As we were leaving, I was walking down the stairs and found them blocked by a group of Japanese tourists speaking in Japanese.

I haven’t spoken Japanese since college, but I remember about enough to say “excuse me”. I hadn’t spoken Italian since high school, but it was coming back after a week in the country. So I’m sitting there behind a group of Japanese tourists, in Italy, trying to say “excuse me”, and three different parts of my brain fighting for dominance and I… just… froze. My brain went into deadlock. I literally couldn’t move or think straight until the Italian speaking part took control and I mumbled something in Italian and someone moved aside and I walked through and recovered.