Saturday, October 31, 2015
Back in the day I worked all around in Europe.
Hotels in those days worked seasonally. December to March. May to September. In between, we were on our own. Picking grapes, doing maintenance in the chateau, hanging out.
In my case, in the year Patty Hearst was kidnapped….I am very old....I ran out of funds a few weeks before my new contract in Kitzbuhel.
I lived in my tent in fields in Austria in the snow. I would weep in the morning rolling up my tent and sleeping bag with my frozen Irish fingers.…And then found a crazy cheap room in an attic in Kirchberg on the other side of the mountain from Kitzbuhel with a rich .
No dollars for weeks works on you. You know you will be good for it….and you know your rich buddy doesn’t really care….and the rent is actually only a dollar a day…but, still. There was rent and warmth….and some booze…but not much food. And no peace or comfort.
And the pressure of being Sidewalk Monkey 24-7 to sing for your supper. No peace or comfort.
Finally we were hired in at Hotel Wiesses Rossl two days before Christmas. First paycheck was on 30 Dec, just before New Year’s. I got 1600 schillings in cash. About $200.
I was so excited. I grabbed my skiis and jumped on the cable car up to the top of the mountain and started skiing down to Kirchberg to pay my bills.
The slopes on Austrian mountains are mostly wide open….pastures in summertime….the farmers are paid by the town coop to take down their fences. Skiing is smooth and almost balletic….nothing like Colorado mogul skiing.
Still, some fat German idiot managed to ski out of control in the early season….get accidental air, land badly, and actually explode on landing Blood and guts were spread all along the last slope I had to ski down to get the lift, to ski down the other slope to Kirchberg….to pay my bills and regain my honor.
There is no Ski Patrol in Austria. The area workers are mostly local actual cow boys who dress in green jumpsuits and man the lifts and do grooming with tractors. The Green Heroes.
The Green Heroes had not cleaned up the mess of the exploded German….why? It will snow soon!
I skied faster than normal down the slope, anxious to settle my bills……hit the mess, ate shit…flew through the air and landed in a heap. Fuck.
I picked myself up, skied down, got in line for the lift, rode the lift up to the place I could ski down to Kirchberg to pay my bills……Got my shit together after the horrific crash.
And realized…..my money was gone!
Fuck! I must have lost it in the crash!
I skied back down to the lift that would bring me back, rode to the top….and skied like a maniac down to the crash site. I stomped around in my torn up snow….and the other bloody torn up snow…..Nothing.
God hates me. My shit was gone.
I skied down again to the lift. In Austria the lift line is called a schwnanz…..a snake….which is also Yiddish for a prick. Right on.
I was cursing and kicking and sobbing my way through the schwanz until I got to the Green Hero at the bottom of the lift.
Was machts-du, schtuck schiesse? What’s up, yankee fuckhead?
Fuck….I wiped out by the dead German and lost all my first pay from the Wiesses Rossl in cash. I can’t pay my back rent in Kirchberg. I am fucked!
Lose anything else?
Well…..my comb……like it matters! Schtuck shiesse, yourself!
Green Hero reached into his pocket and handed me my cash, and my comb.
Picture this. I wipe out, lose my cash in the horrific crash site. Another local comes by, finds the cash….it is not his….so he turns it in to the Green Hero.
Who gives it back to me with no questions asked.
This is the kind of world I want to live in.
Which is why we have been trying to find the person who dropped cash on the floor of The Store on Monday Night.
I think we have figured it out……