Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Germany 9: Getting on the wrong coach
Saturday evening, we changed from a hotel in central Munich to one in Freising, closer to the airport, which is about an hour away from downtown. Who wants to spend an extra hour getting to the airport for an early-morning flight? Not me. I'd rather sleep an extra hour.
We retrieved our bags from the old hotel - the one that didn't have a mirror over the bed but did have mood lights on the headboard that changed from orange to green, both of which are just the shades you want bathing your nekkid body. Whose skin doesn't look good with green light shining on it? It was the perfect shade for the someone with a lizard fetish. Which neither of us have.
This hotel - Fleming Hotel - is very stylish. We stayed there last time we were in Munich. Each person gets his own comforter, which solves those nighttime covers fighting issues. The pillows are awful (way too soft but then, at least they are not those hard as rock bolsters that the French and Spanish use), but when you come in to the room for the first time, you see each pillow squished in the middle with a perfect dent. The comforters are folded perfectly into thirds. The green lights are on to go with the white plate on the nightstand holding three green apples.
The shower? Go here to see. This is the perfect setup if you want to watch someone else bathe.
We had planned to take the 7:04 train to Freising, but then SH hauled out the trusty computer to check the schedules one last time and found that there was an express train at 6:44 that would take only 20 minutes to get there as compared to the 40 minute journey with the 7:04 local.
A word about computers and internet and smartypants phone where we pay a lot of money to be able to get online with our phones.
T-Mobile, I hate you and your stupid roaming charges and your crummy connectivity.
Please explain to me why I cannot make a phone call from the YMCA three miles from my house, much less check my email to see if my books are in at the library, but why I have to fight to keep my phone from connecting in Munich.
Every time I would turn on my phone - SH and I had decided that texting each other was the least expensive way to communicate, even though we both hate texting and if someone besides SH sends me a text, I will not answer, so my friends who are reading this, if you have something important to tell me, send me an email or call do not text - I would have to say, No! NO! Do not connect! Do not incur extra charges of I don't know how much because all you say is that I could incur "significant" roaming charges and there is no way for me to know how much "significant" is without going online and checking with you and even then, I can't trust what you say.
Yet when I'm at home and see that whitefish is on sale for $4.99 a lb and I want to call SH to see if he's gotten the steak out of the freezer yet because if he hasn't, I'm going to buy the fish, I cannot get a darn signal.
T-Mobile was like Laverne, yanking at the leash to get outside, dying, DYING to connect in Germany but when I want it to connect? When I need it to connect?
I cannot get a signal to save my life. Some day, when I am at Sendik's and the old lady blocking me from the produce bargain counter has dropped from a stroke and I am trying to call 911, I will not be able to because T-Mobile will not give me a signal and it will be their fault that she dies. I hope they can live with themselves after that.
Where was I? Right. At the computer. Because SH couldn't just use his smartypants phone because that would have cost about $40 million in roaming fees. Which meant he had get out and then repack his computer and get all situated and by then it was 6:32, which meant we had only 12 minutes to get to the train.
Not impossible: we were two blocks from the train station. But we were handicapped with luggage (remember that I way overpacked, plus I now had chocolate and coasters in my suitcase) and the train station was crowded.
Why? Because the Munich soccer team, which apparently has red as its team color, had just finished a huge match, and armies of singing, red-jerseyed men carrying coolers of beer were marching through the station. One of them was even wearing the Munich equivalent of a cheesehead: a beer stein foam hat.
I have scoured the internet trying to find a photo of this Glamor Do, but have not been able to find it. I would have taken a photo myself, but my hands were not free because I was pulling my large pink suitcase and carrying a computer bag and a purse and my hat.
We weaved our way through the either celebrating or commiserating fans. I speak no German except "Danke" and "Bitte," so I don't know if they were singing songs of victory or sorrow.
We were seeking Platform 26. I had a vague idea of where Platform 26 was located, as I had been sent on a wild goose chase to Platform 26/Platform 33/Platform 36 on my trip to Regensburg a few days before.
"Follow me!" I told SH confidently.
He hates following me.
He hates it when I am in charge.
He wants to be the one in charge.
All the time.
Which I don't usually care about as long as his in-chargeness is done efficiently and ruthlessly.
(Although really, I think I should be in charge of everything. I am just better of letting go of my inner dictator than SH is.)
Which it usually isn't, as SH is very deliberative in everything he does.
He almost never makes a mistake and does almost everything perfectly, which is good for putting that compound in the shower between the tub and the tiles, but sometimes, it is better to be 95% correct, as in, sometimes, it is better to spend only 17 seconds than four minutes choosing bacon. Must we look at every single package of Cudahy bacon to optimize 1. the expiration date (it's cured meat, for pete's sake) and 2. the lean/fat ratio to both our satisfaction, as I would prefer no fat at all and he would like almost all fat?
SH thinks I rush things and that I make mistakes, or at least that I make suboptimal choices, but I get things done. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good is what I say. I don't take seven hours to buy groceries.
I found Platform 26. The clock next to the sign proclaiming "Platform 26" was broken, so I didn't know what time it was. I looked into the coach. Asked the people, "Freisin?"
Which was not the right name.
"Freising," they answered.
"This is it," I announced to SH. "Come on."
I threw my big pink Lands End suitcase that SH mocks in but I can always see my bag on in luggage claim and climbed aboard. It was crowded. I had to haul the bag up against the far end near the door. All the seats were taken and the standing room was full of people and their luggage. SH was stuck in the middle of the standing room with nothing to hold on to.
"Come over here!" I said. He didn't want to.
The train started. He swayed. Grabbed his bags. "We should have found a less crowded coach!" he hissed.
"But the train was about to leave!" I said.
"No it wasn't," he said.
"But I didn't know. The clock is broken," I answered.
"You always do this! You just barge ahead and make decisions without consulting me!"
"But the train was crowded! And about to leave!"
"We could have found someplace better."
"Then why didn't you say something?"
"Because you were already on!"
"Whatever," I said. SH gets cranky sometimes.
What he wanted, I assumed, was for us to march up and down Platform 26, evaluate the state of each coach and pick the perfect coach based on 1. the number of people in each coach, 2. the amount of luggage and floor space in each coach, 3. the number of available seats, 4. the ease of getting into each coach- not all of the coaches were at platform level, as ours was - some required lifting one's bags up four steps, 5. the body fragrances in each coach - it was a very warm day and 6. any other factors to be determined as we marched.
We would have had 90 seconds to do all of this.
I love my husband. He is the perfect person for any detailed analysis or project that does not have a deadline.
But sometimes, things just have to be done, perfectly or otherwise.
The man next to us said, in heavily accented English, "It is crowded all over the train. All the people are going to home from the football game."
"See!" I said triumphantly.
Then the man's wife stepped away from the wall next to her bag. "Please. You put your bag here."
SH said, "No. I'm fine."
Sometimes he can be a martyr.
"No. I will not let you," she insisted. "You must to put your bag here."
SH wanted to be mad at me for picking the wrong coach, but there wouldn't have been a better option, at least if this man was telling the truth and why would he lie to us? Plus now these nice people were letting him put his luggage against the wall, thus solving the problem but eliminating the excuse for a good sulk.
The next time, he can find us the train and if we don't find it in time and have to take the 7:04 local, I guess I can blame him and I can be the sulker.