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Free Advice Over German Beer

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Every once in a while I get a pass from my lovely bride to go see my old friend in Germany. I left last Thursday, arrived on Friday and came back on Monday. While that may seem like a short trip, trust me this is about all I can take at my age. In three days, I have had enough beer and sausage to last me for another year or so. I hope my friend only does this kind of stuff when I come to town, otherwise his liver should give out in another year or so.

This trip was a little different, my friend of many years is having women troubles and wanted to talk, so we spent a lot of time discussing the differences between men and women without coming to any new conclusions. The phrase we know as "You can't live with them and you can't live without them" is well known over there as well as it is in this country.

My friend needed some serious advice on what to do about his current girl friend and of course that requires considerable amounts of German beer. If he decides to break up with her I may have to join some twelve-step program. Just kidding, not that bad.

I thought we had made some progress until Sunday night when we arrived on a flight from Salzburg that had been delayed for about an hour due to the weather. His significant other was mad as hops over having to circle the airport while trying to pick us up. I can't understand German, but I do know about tone inflections and body language and this was not a pleasant ride over to the place we were having dinner. When we pulled up into the parking lot, I jumped out of the car since the space was so narrow. My friend made some comment to the girl friend about parking too close to other cars. I went on inside and sat down and ordered myself a beer. About ten minutes later, he shows up alone, and says she is looking for some place to park.

I said…"Sure, like back at her house."

He looked at me as if I had poured gasoline on him and was about to set him on fire.

"No way, she'll be here in a minute."

Time passes. We order another beer. Time passes.

He looks at me and has to admit that I am probably right since the car is not outside in the lot. He wants to know how I knew that was going to happen when I don't speak or understand German.

I told him I have been around women all of my life and married for over half of my life and it doesn't take PHD to read the tell tale signs when a woman is mad. Which she was.

Well, there we are trying to figure out the meaning of life, when what happens next?

Here in the US of A, if you go into a restaurant with two people and they seat you at a table for four, the folks coming in waiting for a table wait until you leave before taking over where you have been sitting. Not in Europe. If there are two seats open at your table, they then sit down and join you as if you are old life long friends.

Sometimes this is good, and you meet new people and sometimes it isn't so good.

Tonight it was of those not so good nights.

The fellow comes over and sits down in one of our empty chairs, brings his wine, orders his meal and proceeds to sit in on my marriage relationship seminar I am holding with my friend. The poor guy says he was an engineer and made the trip over every seven or ten weeks. It was hard to tell how old he was, but he looked like he had been rode hard and put up wet, if you know what I mean. This guy was terrible looking.

Well, he moves in a little closer and proceeds to start telling us his advice on his relationships with women and his wives. Here we are in the middle of a serious conversation, having our dinner, drinking some great beer and this unknown person proceeds to elaborate on his troubles over all of his seventy some odd years with women. If there had been another empty table, we would have moved, but there wasn't so, we were stuck. Most of the advice he was giving to my friend was the exact opposite of what I had been saying for the past couple of days, but try as I might I could not get him to shut up. In addition to be an expert on marriage, he also knew who killed Kennedy and was firmly convinced we had never landed on the moon.

Both of us skipped dessert. The old guy wrapped up his story with one significant statement. When we asked if he was divorced, he told us …"I escaped."

Truth to tell, I'd bet his wife left the gate unlocked.

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America >

August 30, 2006 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to www.pearyperry.com
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