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16th of April, 2024



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G'scheits - German Blogging


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Common Experiences

Sitting in bars, watching humanity go by. Blues music on the speakers, bar staff doing their job, or not. Drinkers sitting in the corner waiting for other drinkers, waiting for inspiration, or maybe just waiting for last call. Indicators, you could call them, annoying little Jiminy Crickets that tell you when you’ve had enough.

You’ve got to hand it to humans, they’ve found a common language that every one can speak. Every civilization that has ever existed has found a way to brew beer. It’s probably the only human invention that can claim that. The Aztecs never even figured out the concept of the wheel, but there they were on Saturday night, getting loaded and hitting on barmaids.

I’ve seen a lot of shit happening in bars across the world. I’ve met a lot of strange characters, and taken part in that strange subculture that exists between Happy Hour and closing time. I remember sitting in a bar with a buddy back in 2000, knocking back Scotches in a late-night dive in Salzburg. We were killing time before going back to the hotel, having spent the day touring a salt mine, drinking it up, talking smack. An Austrian soldier grabbed me by the shoulder and asked, in German, if I we were Americans. Frank Sinatra was playing on an honest-to-goodness Wurlitzer in the corner, and I told him, likewise in German, we were Americans, and if he’d sit down and have a drink with us, I’d be buying.

He said he didn’t speak English, but if I was buying, he’d be more than happy to rattle on and let me translate. Soldiering is a job I respect, so I figured I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. He pulled up a bar stool and sat down, clinking glasses with me and my friend, introducing himself with much effort, hi, how are you, nice to meet you, et cetera. Having exhausted his English, he turned to me, and asked if we were soldiers, too. I said, hey man, do we look like soldiers? Then he shook his head and said, “prepare for war.”

Within the next five years, he explained, the world will begin to explode. Austria will close its borders, Germany and France will be overrun by immigrants and descend into civil war, and countries in the Balkans will solidify under evil rulers, and begin attacking their neighbors. Italy will be the first to fall, and its conquerors will take the war to France. Unrest would then continue to the Low Countries, Scandinavia, the Baltic Republics. At which point, Central Europe would be adrift in a sea of starvation and war that America would be slow to rescue them from.

I stared at him, a bit overwhelmed. He was drunk, that much was clear, and I began to wonder just what they taught their solders there in Austria. Then he stood up and said, Amerika ist die letztze Hoffnung, and kissed me, right on the lips. (You know, I wanted to write “but not in a gay way” right after that, but what could be gayer than kissing a dude on the lips in a bar at three in the morning?) Luckily, he sat his glass down on the bar and walked out the door, before it got to that awkward exchanging of telephone numbers and hotel key-cards stage.

My friend sitting next to me, who didn’t understand a word, said “what was that all about?” I sat there silent for a moment, then said, “the guy’s obviously a Sinatra fan...”


Jim - PRS

It's beginning to look to me like Oesterreich "ist die letzte Hoffnung", except for the kissing on the lips shit.

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