Last Friday, invited to dear friends' wedding, J, Django and I made our way to Baden, the dump I grew up in. Even though it is a far stretch, it felt nice to go to a wedding on the day the US finally reinstated the sanctity of marriage, correcting the millennia old mistake of treating love as a farce reserved to only man against woman. Of course, Austria is still a bit behind the drag, but given that starting in 2018 you won't be allowed to smoke in bars anymore, the legal discrimination between straight and gay marriage might fall in this century or the next.
So, I had saved a couple of extra calories for this day, had looked forward to the celebrations, and then, when we stepped out of the train station into th abyssal sulfuric depths of old people smell that is the town I was born in, I totally flashed back to all the disgusting things that happened here; most notably, my youth. I have been writing on my childhood and youth for therapeutic reasons in the last couple of weeks, so many things that I usually keep buried under layers and layers of booze were readily at hand for association, shame and a feeling of emptiness. Half-absent-mindedly I had convinced J that we should take advantage of the beautiful Kurpark that is the remaining lung-cell in the cancerous growth of pseudo-urban peasant nobility, which gave me more than enough time to reflect on everything I hated about this mistake of a Roman settlement. Where of course every tree that had to make way for civilization is a loss for the world, using the created death zones for the building of Aquae, now Baden, might have been the worst mistake in the first ten-thousand years after leaving the hunt behind us. Climbing the aptly named Kalvarienberg, Mount Calvary, all that was on each side of the path was regret and forsaken cages. The animals that had once been kept had been removed, probably to be ritually murdered in some pagan ritual, bullet holes scarred the signs in the woods. Eventually we ascended to Rudolfshof, which provides a lovely view of the valley of manure, as well as the villages next to it.
This was also were the wedding took place. And the feast afterwards. The wedding was as beautiful as they come, a very engaged (ha!) family had thought of many nice and funny presentations, none of them including PowerPoint, all generations participated in sketches, dances, songs, and friends had been asked to participate as well. By friends, I mean Jörg and me, who had shared almost all years of school with the groom, and many hardships and bottles with both bride and groom when they still lived in unholy union. Now, when I should have prepared, I was, as you might know, on a different continent, and I missed all ever so generous deadlines that the bride's mother had proposed to enable some sort of planning on her side. I don't want to say I didn't care, because I did, I just have the presence of mind. Which is a reoccurring theme with me and social events. Jörg on the other hand is a doctor by now, he has real responsibilities with living people, something I couldn't ever handle. Sometimes ordering one kind of pizza is too much commitment to me. He had however found the time to go through our collective dirt, better than any Scientology press agent could have done it, and found a piece of video we recorded with my then new Casio Exilim Z-4 that my brother got me for my 18th birthday back in 2004. I carried it with me all the time, ALL the time, and I took pictures and low fi videos of EVERYTHING. I also took some really weird naked selfies once, but thanks to it being 2004 I never had any way of uploading them anywhere - the camera was purely offline, even if I had wanted I didn't have any way of uploading it anywhere. Also, because I was not an idiot, or at least not in this respect, because in many others I totally was, I instantly deleted them after taking them. After all, what they showed was an obese naked dude with a weird boner. Why keep something like that? I digress. This camera was also used to, once, record Stefan (the groom), Jörg and me walking through these same woods I would walk through eleven years later on my way to S's wedding. And Jörg had found this video of us doing hijinx one chilly spring afternoon in 2004, on some obscure burned CD in some crate in a sunken ship from the Heimdahl expedition at the Arctic or something, which painted a picture of us that was almost pleasant. As if the weird things that I associate my adolescence with were only a minor part of the things that actually happened. Well, I guess I was pretty good at editing back then.
Either way, Jörg approached me at the wedding, whether I would help him say a couple of words before he would show the video. Feeling guilty for not having prepared anything at all anyways, I obliged. But this meant that I had to improvise. Then the wine came.
I just remember getting some laughs before I started to badmouth Baden, which I would always do, because that is all there is to it. Especially if you are a depressed writer who was born there. So the lesson I learned there was that you shouldn't call the village a wedding reception is in a "disgusting shithole", especially when children and inhabitants are present. Well, the more you know. After that some other friends and family members brightened the mood again, and Jörg and I continued to drink; at least I did.
Now, I had mentioned that I had saved a couple of calories because I had anticipated something like this, but I had assumed that I would still have some self control, let alone decency, at the time the buffet was opened. I had neither. I gulped lots and lots of foodstuff down, perhaps half of it in wine that must have been imported from another village because it was good, and chocolate dumplings. Holy hell. the chocolate dumplings. A couple of hours of headache later I awoke in my parents house, J and dog next to me, as hungover as me. We used the day to rest and to walk through the nice part of town, which is the part that is outside of it. The vineyards adjacent to Baden are a thing of beauty, with their trails and paths, horses and drunk teenagers. I hoped, I think, to burn at least some of the chocolate I had subjected my system to the night before, but while doing so, I realized how much fun that is and how I do this far to little.
Thus yesterday we took the bus to Cobenzl to walk a bit, we ended up walking all the way to Kahlenberg and from there to Klosterneuburg. While the part in Klosterneuburg was all streets, the rest of the path was nice. Django was pleasantly exhausted in the evening. Today J has to work, so I took Djenx and we took the bus again, to Cobenzl, and walked a different route, Hermannskogel, Sievering, and back to Am Himmel/Cobenzl. Django is still very enthusiastic, as am I, and I love how three days of walking make me feel so much more energetic already. So, if you're in the area and want to join me, apart from the parts where I'm panting and wheezing, I'd love the company!