After work this evening I wandered back to the hotel, got changed, and made my way up the street towards the faux American bar I’ve visited a few times during recent visits to Frankfurt – the one with the model railroad in the rafters, the fake signed guitars hanging on the walls, and numerous questionable quotes from famous musicians advertising various beverages. I think my favourite is one attributed to a member of the Black Eye’d Peas – assigning the existence of rock and roll to the existence of Jack Daniels.
Along the way to the bar – it’s about a ten minute walk – I listened to Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast. This week he was talking to Charles Demers. I started listening to his podcast way back around the time he interviewed Barack Obama, and got hooked. He has a relaxed way with guests – he somehow disarms them, and it feels like you’re sitting at the kitchen table with them after a meal, sharing stories and thoughts about anything and everything. In a strange sort of way, he reminds me of me.
Anyway – while Marc and Charles talked about everything from homosexual family members, to depression, college, and making it on the comedy circuit in the shadow of Robin Williams, I made my way along the road – past numerous street cafes. As I picked my way past one particular cafe, a pair of beautiful eyes met mine from a headscarf. It was a young muslim girl, perhaps eighteen years old, wrapped in an orange silk headscarf, with dark eyeliner surrounding the most brilliant eyes I have seen in quite some time. The only way I can describe her eyes is that they were somehow “alive” – twinkling – sparkling. The moment was over in an instant, but I thought about her gaze for the rest of the way to the restaurant.
After climbing the carpeted steps to the hidden corner of Americana, a tall, willowey waitress strode up, her ponytail bouncing behind her. She greeted me with a stream of Germany – that I didn’t understand a word of – and I smiled. This apparently answered her question, and resulted in me being shepherded to a tall table in the middle of the bar – a “table for one”.
She left a German menu on the table.
A few minutes later – after realising that the titles of the menu were still in English (or American English), she returned, and I ordered. I can only imagine she thought I was trying to be clever, because after taking down the titled dishes in English, she returned to German, and said something else I didn’t understand, before skipping off to her next customer.
It was only after finishing my meal, and waving my wallet towards her that she realised I was English – after swiping my card in the machine, it offered to make payment in sterling, or euros. She grinned, looked sideways at me, and in her best English accent said “can you enter your pin number please?”
I smiled back, and said “you found me out!”. Her smile broadened further – into a real smile – and before I knew it, the transaction was over.
A few minutes later – as I picked my way past a family waiting at the entrance, she waved, and said goodbye in both English and German, before turning her attention away and greeting the newcomers.