Thursday, March 19, 2009

drinking in public: it's the law

so it seems it's pretty much accepted, nein, it's the law that you must drink in public. here i am on my bicycle, the only one in this entire city who isn't swigging a beck's or a bottle of merlot. you know how much easier (and cheaper) my life would be in DC if i could drink my prosecco on the darn street instead of at some foofy wine bar?
adults, oldies, juveniles, people in uniforms, pretty much anyone has a drink in their hand when going from a to b. and especially on the train. it's become standard that after any out of town meetings, i get the pretzels or chips or chocolate and my colleague hits the beer store for no less than 4 litres of hefeweisen per 1.45 hour of train. only drag is that if you don't drink it fast enough, warm hefeweisen can make you pretty gassy.
if you happen to be late, or are waiting on the platform with someone kinda high up in the organization and so having your bag clink with bottles is sorta awkward, well then you don't byob, you buy your tall glass of draft weissbier in the train. it comes in the huge tall glass, just like in the bar. unfortunately, it seems we're always seated in wagen 1, and barcar is wagen 12, so you and a few unhappy passengers are wearing some of it.
so we take turns going on the adequately called "beer run." each time you buy one, the bartender guy goes, "please, please, please bring this glass back?" you mean this wonderful, sturdy tall pint glass that has a picture of a drunk monk named francis on it that would make the perfect souvenir? ummm...
so the train turns into a sortof 245km/hr bar. one day, there was a compartment next to us with 6 elderly beck-a-holics. they their own personal beer steins and traditional music which they complemented with loud raucus singing. when the ticket collector came, he warned us they would give them a good talking to. they greeted him with hitler-style salutes, calling him "senior secretary, sir!" whenever someone of the female persuasion walked by they would hoot, holler and cheer. when i happened to have to pee 2 columns of 3 vertical heads peered out into the corridor screaming "schmiiiiiidt! hallo, schmidt!" i couldn't figure it out. when i came back, and after round two of the weird schmidting, the annoyed looking gentleman to my right explained that schmidt is the most common name in germany, like smith to us americans. and so when they call me schmidt they are playing the numbers, hoping to get my name right and have me turn around and say hi. but they didn't have to call me schmidt, their throwing of beer caps and chanting and cartoon knee slapping, holwing, spinning and woowoo siren calling clearly caught my attention.

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