Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Krakau Diary, Day 67: The Rediscovery of the Drinking Buddy
After weeks and weeks of high-brow literary discussion and non-stop parsing of James Joyce and the aesthetics of the use of the qualifier in sentences under five words, I needed a break. So I imported my old friend Christoph the Rock 'n' Roll Doctor for a weekend.
Christoph has more of an artistic vein than I do – he plays guitar and composes (in fact, he revealed himself, standing before a busking guitarist at the Krakau Rynek, to be quite a guitar snob, if I may say so myself). But was less interested in that aspect of his personality than I was in another: He is also a great drinking buddy.
I know an old-fashioned drinking buddy may not be all that hip in certain circles, but sometimes that's precisely what a guy needs. We toured the clubs of Krakau, watched the beautiful women, watched the other guys watching the beautiful women and made jokes about to old to stand around watching the beautiful women anymore. (Though I have to admit I thought it was a little bit shameless the way he weaseled his way into everyone's heart at the Writer's Villa by whipping up an excellent pasta in the middle of the night, while I've been trying to get their attention using all my literary cunning and prowess and have made no headway so far. But that's all water under the bridge now.)
Nothing much happened, really. We bartered our way into a hip club that was closing. We sat in an old people's cafe where Lenin once sat. We climbed to the top of a mound outside the town said to be a place where old generals were buried. The strangest encounter we had was at McDonald's at four in the morning. While Christoph went in search of the toilet...
...I pulled out my camera and took a photo of a drunk Irishman. Some nights, you think drunk Irishmen are worth photographing, don't ask me why. Suddenly there was a security guard at my elbow: "No photos."
"I don't know."
In the meantime, Christoph was getting closer and closer to the toilet.
"Well, if it's a rule," I said, "there must be a logical explanation. Can you get the manager to come over and explain the rule to me?"
In the meantime, Christoph was still getting closer and closer to bathroom.
A conversation ensured as the manager tried to think up some reason why it would be forbidden in a place like McDonald's to take photos. No one really seemed to know, and the greater their uncertainty grew, the more I rubbed salt in the wound, by saying, "There must be a rule book around here someplace, I'm sure there's a simple enough explanation, maybe we should all go into the back office and look through the bookcase, maybe we can turn it up."
In the meantime, that toilet was down there somewhere, for sure...
Finally the McDonald's security guard and manager decided the best thing to do was to just wander off and leave me, my camera and my two cheeseburgers alone. But as they left, I heard them mutter something in Polish. Though I can't be sure, I'm pretty sure it was, "I'm not paid enough for this crap." Or something very similar.
In the meantime, Christoph was still getting closer and closer and closer to the toilet...
Christoph never did find that bathroom.
It was a great weekend of a lot of nothing special. Nothing special. Hanging around. Goofing off. With a drinking buddy, you don't have to worry so much about impressing people. You can afford to make stupid jokes, stupid comments, do stupid things, just hang around like a loser and not worry about it. It's one of the simple pleasures that guys have, and it's been such a long time since I did it. Thanks for coming, Christoph.