I did what I could for them and frankly reader, it was amazing stuff. For them, at least. I’ve seen shit like that a dozen times before but they were verily impressed. What can I say?
Now, I know I’ve said this other times and I reiterate: I will not write about work here… perhaps work-related experiences, but not work. Now that you believe me and trust me, let me tell you about the evening:
So there I was, sitting with my thoughts, sobriety and not a drink in sight. The office lights would occasionally go out since I was the only one still there. And dammit — I was working. Sometimes I don’t move for long periods of time when I’m that focused and at that point the light sensors lose me and out it all goes.
I was working on issues not all that small. In fact, I would venture to say that it was important. But it was work, so it won’t be mentioned here. Suffice to say that it was not trivial and I was goddamn kicking ass at it. Dammit, that’s just how I roll. I am. You think I’d be here if I didn’t rock the hell out of the system? I am, after all, a professional.
Anyways, I was at the terminal, working my innocent little butt off when my Austian host stepped into the dark room and said, “that’s enough real work for today, Pei-dro. We go now and get a bier and some dinner, yeah?”
Could you, reader, say no to that? I couldn’t.
We left that floor and headed downstairs. He was guiding me to the place that is normally the canteen. But when the glass doors opened it was like wandering into some foreign version of Mary Had a Little Lamb, what with all the costumes and strange behaviors. The beats were up-beat, the beer was flowing, and the sausages were wrapped in bacon.
This was Oktoberfest, jack. I’d made it after all. Munich’s Oktoberfest has been an elusive travel target for me for years and this year I’d missed it again, this time due to a combination of work-related excuses, lack of support and enthusiasm for the chase from my closer brethren and backstabbing acquaintances that went without so much as a facebook status alert.
I mean, it’s not like you can go to this thing alone.
But there I was, hundreds of miles from Munich in my own employer’s canteen 5 days late and yet… Oktoberfest.
I won’t tell you who paid for it all ‘cause, really, who cares? Suffice to say that it wasn’t me, and that made it all the more jolly. It took me a few beers, and a few rounds of wettnaglen but I eventually skiddadled onto the dance floor and grabbed whatever pretty and large busted Austrian girl that was willing to dance. Mate, let me tell you, these girls may have a lot to learn about dancing but they are willing! That kind of attitude goes a long way with a guy like me.
Not that it matters; it was enchanting nonetheless. Boyfriends be damned, and I’m sure they were there that night; I just didn’t give a shit – know what I mean?
Wettnaglen, by the way, is the best, the coolest, the most primordial drinking game I’ve seen in my travels, far outweighing the strange goose-slaughtering customs in the Basque regions of Spain. What they do is find a stump about the height of a bar stool and then get themselves a hammer that has, at the tail end, a straight point, non curving. This is is important so that you can get some angle onto the nail. Then, as they drink their Oktober ales and brews, they hammer away at the nails into the stump with the thin back of the hammer (one swing each). The first one to get the nail beyond “flush” with the stump wins something (gingerbread heart the size of a football) and the loser has to buy the round.
It’s inventive, to say the least, and American children could learn a thing or two from this practice, if for no other reason than that they might learn how to properly uproot a tree stump. And that’s worth knowing whether or not you have a college education.
_**Vienna, Austria — October, 2007
Marriott Renaissance, Montana Room**_