The Edinburgh Files: German Society Night
Mar 7th, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The cold I had is going around work right now, and people are going to doctors (responsibly), taking some time away from work (responsibly) and getting prescribed medicine (responsibly). I didn’t do any of those things, so I was on over-the-counter cold medicine for almost my entire trip. 

(Actually, does “over the counter” mean that the “doctor” at the Safeway pharmacy gave it to you over that counter? I always thought it refered to the useless stuff you got in the aisle and then you handed it over the counter to the clerk who rang it up, and you can tell how long they’ve been at the job by whether they wince at the possibility of catching customer rabies, or whether they were already dead inside and no longer cared.) 

There are two things that you’re not supposed to take with cold medicine – the first is any shit from your co-workers, because if they give you a hard time, you just slobber all over their telephone when they get up to be smug in their 18 constitution, and the other is alcohol.

But I wanted to have a few beers with Lex, so I went off the discount Tussin TM and flushed out my system with more wasabi than I ever had in my life.

I usually don’t partake in spicy food, because it makes me hiccup, and that’s fine when it’s just me slobbing around the house in a football jersey with the cats, dinner and the Mr. Do! machine. Do you know why Mr. Do! is so popular? He doesn’t judge, that’s why. He’s got unicorns in his garden, even mine hasn’t become that unkept: Do!’s in no position to judge anybody, and certainly not for hiccuping. But, hey, if I’m on a date, I don’t need my system desperately sucking down molecules of oxygen, with my eyes bugging out like I was in the last five minutes of Total Recall because I ordered the korma “hot.”

Nik had no such hang-ups.

She was basically throwing more wasabi onto each bite of sushi than I had ever consumed, combined, in my entire life. This had the short-term effect of disintegrating her septum, and I thought that was fantastic, so when we went for more sushi, we got an obscene amount of… well, let me link the photo of Mount Wasabi.


(If I had to guess, between trying wasabi for the first time, and public transportation for the first time, that it was the green stuff that was gonna give me the nose bleed, I woulda been surprised. Seriously, we later went for tea that day, and blood randomly burst out of my nose. I’m no scientist, and if I were, I’d certainly not be a nose, ear and throat guy, but when two people eat copious amounts of wasabi and then start bleeding out of every pore in their head, I’m willing to think there’s a link.)

So, properly flushed out, I was able to go to the German Society Meeting on Thursday with Lex.

The bar we went to was a “German” establishment, and a real, live Germaness was tending bar. She was nice and sweet in the way Germans are (these days, anyway) but she had to go downstairs no matter what you ordered. Lex and I started off with a fairly esoteric beer (a chocolate-derived one) and it was a ten-minute trip into the seedy underbelly of the Edinburgh Underground to retrieve it. I mean, I didn’t care, I was on vacation, but I sort of felt bad when every time we tried a new drink it meant nobody getting their whistles wet for a while.

But this was the thing: it was still relaxing. Everybody was having a good time, and because the place wasn’t a meat market, there wasn’t this silent cloud of desperation floating about, where god dammit, if dudes don’t get back with the drinks right away, the chicks they’ve been hitting on will be getting hit upon by other guys who were more demonstrably fit to procure drinks from the bar. Instead, everyone was casual and beaming, and I think the world can exhale when its collective of Germans are chill.

Lex and I had a pretty good time, although no actual Germans from the German Society showed up, and I was essentially chatting with a group of Americans the entire night. This went on for a few hours, and as we got up to leave, I was introduced to something called the “chippy.”

Full disclosure: I had no idea that a “kebab” was particularly terrible for your system before this trip, because to me, the shish-kebab is an array of vegetables and meat on a skewer, then grilled. I listen to a Scottish DJ Friday afternoons, who had declared that he was being slightly decadent by having a kebab once, and my reaction was along the lines of, “What, do they deep fry them in paraffin blubber or something over there?” Well, the kebabs are different, and it was just better if I didn’t have one with the group, since the last thing I needed was to get addicted to them when I didn’t have access to a gym.

(Of course, there was a Fish and Chip place that Lex recommended around the corner, and I DID give into that. Lex bought me what was either dinner or breakfast depending on the time, and oh Christ was that the LARGEST piece of fish I’d ever seen in my life. I couldn’t get through it, and the entire time I was thinking how rotten I’d feel if I left some fish on the table in Scotland, since it’s tough to get amazing and fresh fish in Colorado. Well, I did ‘leave some on the table’ and, yeah, weeks later I feel terrible about it. On the flip side, not that Lex’s flat was a bit of a mess or anything, but I’m fairly certain it’d still be there if I wanted to fly back and finish it, ha ha just kidding, Alex.)

Lex and I got back to the flat. I sat round the television at the end of the night with Lex, Lex’s roommate Liam and Liam’s little brother Ryan. We watched an episode of my favorite show (it was the “Backwards” episode of Red Dwarf), gobbling our late night chippy food. I was taking in the ambience of how awesome it was to be with the British. 

I went back to my hotel and avoided getting dragged into any spontaneous 2:00 AM drinking songs. I was going to need all my energy to keep it together the next night when the new Punisher movie started off with McNulty from “The Wire” putting together the worst performance of his life while the Punisher hangs upside-down from a chandelier, just massacring as many mobsters as humanl– inhumanly possible.

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