Part 2: Gluttony and Sloth
My trip to Dresden was not motivated by any great interest in Saxony or the greater Germany area. By and large, the only country I have an overwhelming interest in over here is England, which, fortunately enough, happens to be where I’m living at the moment. No, all of my destinations during my week of European travel were chosen because of the fact that I had friends living in those places who offered to let me stay with them for free. Admittedly, something that costs 0 Euros still costs like $1.26 at the current exchange rate, but it was still a way better deal than anything else I could find.
My gracious host in Dresden was my friend Bri, who, like myself, was one of the truly committed Sprague High School nerds to be in both the band and the speech team. She’s a few years older than I am, and after graduating from the University of Portland a few years ago with an education degree, she was offered a job teaching elementary school at an international school in Dresden.
On Saturday, my first day in town, there was a combination concert/potlatch fundraiser at Bri’s school that she was required to attend, largely to work crowd control with the kids. I tagged along, enticed by the potlatch aspect, but was disappointed to find that, 1) The potlatch came after an hour of watching other peoples’ children sing and dance, and 2) The potlatch wasn’t free.*
*Admittedly, I probably could’ve figured that one out from the fact that this was a fundraiser, but Germany is kind of a socialist country, so I figured they had some voodoo economic workaround.
Before the show I took a seat near the back of the auditorium, hoping that with my wet hair no parent would mistake me for ein childmolestenschnitzel. As more and more people filed in, an Aryan looking woman sitting two rows ahead of me with her husband kept glancing back at me for several minutes before finally turning around in her seat and directing a brisk question to me in German.
“English?” I whimpered, wanting to curl up into a fetal position. To me, whatever she’d said sounded a lot like, “Ve vill take vaht ve vish, and zen decide vether or not to blow your ship from ze vater!”
“Ve vould like to change zie seats vith you.” She said curtly, already standing up.
“Of course!” I exclaimed, bowing to German intimidation with moist, Neville Chamberlain confidence as I scampered out of my seat.
After the children performed, I set forth into the potlatch to see what not-entirely-free food I could rustle up. As this was an international school, the potlatch thrown together by the students’ parents represented all of the school’s various nationalities. Japanese parents were making sushi while a German father was preparing sausage, and at the Canadian table a husband and wife stood watch over a tall boy of Miller Genuine Draft and a pack of smokes.
I had some sort of Turkish rice stew which I’d never heard of. When I asked the Turkish parent serving it what was in it, she helpfully told me all of the ingredients in German, so for all I know it could’ve been made out of communion wafers and dick. After that, I still felt a bit hungry, so I made the perhaps misguided decision to purchase a massive doner kebab from the Turkish booth next to the one I’d gotten the stew from. The result was a food-powered exhaustion so powerful that I bypassed any and all sightseeing for the day in favor of passing out on Bri’s futon.
In my defense, this doner booth had one of those big vertical spits of meat that they slice strips off of, and if I don’t try to eat all of it, who will?
I ordered the durum and, expecting it to be small, a side of fries as well (with mayonnaise – because they offered, and in Germany I don’t have to be ashamed of the fact that I think mayonnaise is fucking delicious). Thus, I was quite shocked when the shop’s proprietor handed me a hunk of meat wrapped in pitabread so large that it could’ve probably eaten me. The side of fries, also, rivaled anything one could find at McDonald’s for hugeness, and the fact that everything was covered in mayonnaise didn’t do much to make me feel better about my eating habits.
This led me to yet another food coma, forcing me to postpone my sightseeing for another few hours. Gluttony and Sloth go hand in hand, it seems – and when they conspire to make you put off visiting a bunch of old churches, well, shit, man.
Truman Capps will return tomorrow with the tale of his last day in Dresden, which he spent watching Germans in white coats build cars. Efficiently.