Wednesday, September 21, 2016

     During my three-month stint in Europe at age 21, I traveled in France, Switzerland and Germany. In those days, the Eurailpass was the way to go—inexpensive travel for a month at a time. I was on my way to Augsburg and I stopped in Hamburg. Why? I have no idea. I remember getting off the train and not having a hotel, so I was standing alone with my luggage in the train station when a man of about 50 approached me. He asked me if he
could help. Duh. That should have been my first clue. He was dressed in a nice trench coat, and he spoke perfect English. I said I was looking for a hotel. That translates in any language to “Come get me.” He said he would be happy (no shit) to help me, and we could check my luggage at the station until we found a place close by. So off we went, me and Mr. Trench coat, to find a place for me to set myself up. I waited on the sidewalk while he went up to the hotel to check on availability as he spoke German, and I did not. Duh. Was I brain dead or what? Finally, after a couple of tries, he found just the right place, and we returned to the station to pick up my luggage. By the way, this luggage was enormous and weighed about 200 pounds, as though there were two dead co-eds inside. He carried it for me and checked me into the hotel. It was late afternoon, and I was tired from my travels. The guy at the desk carried my luggage to the room and left me to get settled. A couple of minutes later, Mr. Trench coat shows up at my door and throws his arms around me trying to find my tiny mouth. Oh, my God. “What are you doing?” I shrieked. He looked at me as though I were an idiot as if to say, “What do you think I’m doing?” Somehow I managed to fight off this predator, and off he went.Shaken and unharmed, I locked the door. I don’t remember where or if I ate dinner that night, but I got undressed, put my retainer in my mouth, rolled my head in rollers and climbed under the duvet. In the middle of the night, I heard the door open, and in walked the front desk guy attempting a repeat of Mr. Trench Coat’s approach. (They obviously didn’t concur on a more successful ploy). I fought him off, and told him to get the hell out of my room. Now I was totally awake and shaking uncontrollably. You would have thought that the retainer and rollers would have had him shaking uncontrollably, but I guess predators can’t be choosers. Needless to say, I narrowly escaped that stopover, and I learned my lesson. Don’t talk to strangers, especially those in trench coats or with Master keys.