I took a tablet of melatonin last night when it was well past dark, and was jaw-crackingly sleepy within an hour. Even though my download of "Rock of Love" was almost done and I was looking forward to my first look at the trampscapades (my friend Daphne says this is the funniest show ever), I couldn't keep my eyes open any more. It was 8:30. I slept until 8 the next morning, when renovation workers woke me up with a racket of tools and metal and stone. I called down to the reception and they went away, and I slept another hour. And I only got up because it is Sunday, which means that breakfast is a Very Important Meal today - because everything in the world is closed. I felt like I was still dreaming - totally OBE. Too much sleep? Is that possible?

While waiting for the elevator (which always takes forever) I educated myself on firefighting tips via the plaque mounted above the fire extinguisher:

1. Fight fire with the wind!
2. When fighting fire, start with a corner piece.

As to the REST of the instructions... Honestly, if I was the copyeditor on this piece I would replace the whole thing with:

In case of fire in hotel, grab your stuff and RUN THE HELL AWAY.

I went downstairs and ate a bowl of muesli and a piece of toast. Over the course of the next hour I drank chocolate coffee, and picked up a plate with a few slices of cheese and olives and bread (seriously, olives and pickles for breakfast, Germans?) with the intention of squirrelling it away in my messenger bag when nobody was watching to have for lunch later. Unfortunately, about a minute after I sat down with what I was mentally excusing as my Hobbity "second breakfast" instead of covert hotel pilferage, a really good-looking guy sat down next to me. Sigh. I sat and drank my coffee and waited for him to go away, but it didn't happen. And then the breakfast room was closing, so I had no choice - I stuck it all in a napkin, tucked it in my bag, and got up. Ugh. Lame. And as I was in for a penny, I went in for a pound and did another circuit of the breakfast bar, picking up an apple, an orange, two little aluminum cups of Nutella, two hardboiled eggs, and another roll. FEH! I am so ghetto. Ghetto fabulous! All I can say for myself is that I'm cheap and too lazy to haul my butt all the way down to the train station, which will be open, to pay five euros for a hot dog that will immediately send my intestines into Defcon Five.

Observe my haul - including a romance novel (more about this in a minute):

I went to the elevator to catch it up to my room and of COURSE the cute guy is standing right there and smiles and asks me what floor and he's on three, right below me. And there I am, looking my absolute most bed-rumpled and gross, hat on my bed head, no makeup or lippy, and a messenger bag that he knows for a fact contains olives and cheese. Wrapped in a paper napkin. GREAT.

When I got to my room, the cleaners were still in there, so I came back down to reception, and there is a guy sitting cat-a-corner to me right now who has been picking his nose for as long as I've been typing this, and not subtly. He is picking his nose with elaborately choreographed JAZZ HANDS. Then he sticks the same fingers in his ears and gives them a dewaxing twirl, then picks his teeth, rubs his eyes, chews a cuticle, and ladies and gentlemen - he just reached down and gave his balls a good tweaking - without any pause between any of these activities to even pretend to wipe those fingers on a hankie or nothin'. He seriously cannot stop giving his own face and/or balls Bad Touch. There's a definite mania about it, too, like a kind of OCD. He's talking to someone now and as it turns out, he's Spanish. It would have seriously surprised me if he'd been German. They're just way sexier than that.

Which brings me to my next topic: German guys are so hot. Seriously. They are dead sexy - tending toward tall and well-built and solid and super masculine in the face and body and body language. And none of their masculinity seems fake or put-on, it's not at all like Latin or Italian machismo. It just kind of naturally originates in their physical confidence, and it's personal, not performative. It is very appealling. And I find the sound of German spoken by men very attractive also. Considerably less so when it's being whispered by old men, like that bewizened old archival troglodyte pepaw who talked to himself in German in a hoarse whisper RIGHT BEHIND ME in the archive that one day, ALL DAY LONG. That just gives me the howling fantods. It makes me think of gimlet-eyed withering Nazi zombies clawing their way up from my corner of the collective unconscious, which starts flashing and blinking just like this hacked road sign:

And more specifically,

This Norwegian zombie Nazis comedy-horror film has gotten a lot of great reviews at festivals and I'm totally stoked about it. While having the howling fantods.

There is a bookcase in the lobby that has paperbacks for guests to borrow or whatever, and I just went over to have a look and see if there's anything in English in it to take with me to the laundromat. Answer: not one but TWO copies of How to Play Dirty Tennis, two guidebooks to Arizona published in 1963, "One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Dodd" and "This Splendid Peril."

The latter is a bodice-ripper historical romance  Here is the back blurb:

"As English troops advanced across the channel, the beautiful demoiselle Nicole de Guidon, her russet hair tumbling, her blue eyes blazing, made the hazardous pilgrimage to the misty shores of Mont St. Michel. There, in the guise of a lowly fisherman, Jean-Pierre protected the great fortress against France's enemies, his noble features bespeaking his proud heritage, his gray eyes searching Nicole's, making a silent promise. For his sake she would suffer any hardship, would woo the elegant Sir Edmunde, whose amorous attentions masked deadly treachery. In the face of bitter strife and mortal danger, she would risk everything for her country... and for the man she loved beyond life itself!" The first chapter is dated 1410.

Bodice ripper set in Mont Saint Michel, my second most favorite place in France? SCORE. I also found a little Arabic language pocket map of Munich, where Arabic is really the second language. Arabic is to Munich as Spanish is to El Paso, Texas.

Went back up to reception and the housekeeper is still in there! Sunday must be hardcore cleaning day. When the elevator door opened I could see him (room door open and right in front of the elevator) holding up the mattress and tucking hospital corners (no fitted sheets here, all of them are tucked) and a cheerful lady with a suitcase. I didn't leave the elevator, opting to come back down to the lobby, and she thought that was curious and said something to me in German. I pointed to the room and said "Das ist mein zimmer!" and she said something about the sheets and laughed and I felt very clever for having managed to spit out a sentence in German without premeditation.

Third time was the charm. Came back up to a crisply made bed and everything all clean and tidy. Can I have a housekeeper in real life please?

I have no words to describe to you how comfortable this bed is. It's one of those latex foam mattresses with a spring core, an extra-long twin. The pillows are feather. The duvet is down. The linens are crisp and smooth. I want to send the whole thing home and sleep in it always. Also, I think I'm sleeping much better on a twin bed than I do in the big queens and kings. You can't exactly toss and turn in a twin bed because this would involve flinging yourself onto the floor.

Some time ago I lost my German phrase book and replaced it with one that is intended to help German people speak American. Which, evidently, is considered by many Europeans to be a different language than English, and it would be hard to argue with that assessment.

The chick on the front is clearly supposed to be American. How can I tell that? Because she has enormous, perfectly even, blindingly white teeth. That is the universal European visual signifier for "American" person. I would be willing to bet that in some European sign languages, the word for American even involves pointing at your teeth.

The first chapter (first!) is called "First Contact" (Die Erste Kontakt) and it starts out innocuously enough:

Turn the page and BAM: pickup lines, including one that is so idiosyncratically Euro (I found it absolutely baffling in France, anyway) that it is almost guaranteed to make an American woman think the man saying it is GAY, or as my mother would say "a little light in the loafers.": I mean seriously. If a guy walks up to you and says "I like your style!" and then possibly proceeds directly to the subject of your SHOES, what would you think? Personally, I always think "Gay men are so sweet." 

The pickup lines then escalate quickly through like->love->sexytime in dizzying succession. 

"Lass mich in Ruhe" probably should have been higher up in the chapter.

And now it is time for me to enjoy my lunch and finally get to watch ROCK OF LOVE. Because nothing soothes the minor aches and pains of culture shock like directly applying American kitsch to the frontal lobe. With a hammer.

Will Bret Michaels find true, skanky love? Will the songs of Poison feature prominently and make me laugh like a hyena? I can only hope that the answer to both of these questions is YES.

Bis spater!


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