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Welcome to December's Secret Subject Swap.
Again 5 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.
Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.
My subject is
Never have I ever... and why haven't you?
It was submitted by: Climaxed - thank you, Jenniy!
First off: Never have I ever actually watched "Never have I ever" ;-)
Our family would rather pay for the sports channel than Netflix, hahaha!
So for inspiration I headed over to this super long list of questions on the Cosmopolitan website, In the process I had to look up a few expressions on the Urban Dictionary. Pick a wedgie? Catfish someone? Do a nude streak?
What questions were there?
Never have I ever...
Hitchhiked a ride: Yes, I have a handful of times when I was between 14 and 18 years old and had neither a driver's license nor a car. Looking back, I'm shocked about my carelessness.
Lied on a dating app: Yes. Who doesn't? Back then there were no apps yet, though. Just a website, match.com. I don't remember what exactly I embellished about my persona, but I'm sure I did it. God knows the guys did it, too!
Kissed a celebrity: Sadly I haven't. That's probably because I have never met George Clooney in person?!
One question caught my attention, and I'd like to give you the full story.
Never have I ever...
Dined and dashed. I haven't, but I sure wish I had!!!
New Year's Eve 2002/03.
A former coworker and her fiancé were getting married. Considering the special date of their wedding, they had been planning everything well in advance. The venue was about an hour's drive from our home, plus we expected to celebrate until long after midnight, so when they mentioned they had pre-booked all the rooms at the fancy Country Inn, we gladly put our name on the list.
We arrived in the late afternoon, and the manager asked for our ID and credit card.
"Just leave your bags here, I'll make sure they get to your room" he said.
I would have loved to go to our room to use the restroom and change my shoes.
"You're at our off-site accommodation" he explained. "We don't have enough rooms for the entire wedding party here. You're welcome to use the public restroom though."
It was no biggie at the time. Also we noticed that people were already mingling and getting ready to be seated for the ceremony, so we dropped it.
So the happy couple said "I do", we did cocktails, we were assigned to our tables. I knew some of the people at our table since they were also former coworkers. We didn't know the couple we sat directly across from us. They looked grumpy. Plus they smoked.
As I was saying, it was the year 2002. It took Switzerland until 2010 to ban smoking from workplaces, especially restaurants. Yuck. I know.
We tried hard to strike a conversation with the smoking grumps, but eventually focused on talking to my former colleagues. One was worried about the food. We noticed there were réchauds on the tables. Réchauds are gadgets to keep your food warm, and the ones I'm talking about, are particular ones used for fondue.
There was either going to be a Swiss cheese fondue, however, it being New Year's Eve and a wedding, we assumed it was going to be a meat fondue. And the person who was getting nervous, was a vegetarian. It didn't take long, and her worries were confirmed.
The waiters started to distribute meat platters. The vegetarian's face turned pale. Her husband asked "weren't you notified in advance, my wife checked no meat when we RSVPed?"
The supervisor was called. The question was repeated. He went "we are super busy, it's New Year's Eve, everybody's having meat fondue, there's nothing else. Can't you just eat the sides?"
How does meat fondue work? You skewer a piece of meat and cook it in hot broth (or oil) until it's done. The way I grew up "sides" were potato chips, pickles and lots of different sauces. It's called meat fondue for a reason: you eat meat.
These people seriously wanted this poor woman, a wedding guest, on New Year's Eve, to eat chips and and to dip pickled nothings in cocktail sauce?
It got "better": Our table was lucky enough to get a real réchaud. Others didn't. They had some make-shift constructions involving tea lights, aluminum molds and other items that they probably scrambled together in a pickle - pun intended. One of the materials turned out to be flammable, and at some point, the "construction" plus a napkin caught fire at a neighbour table. Good times.
The groom - on his way to the bathroom - walked by, waving at us, asking "how's it going, having a good time?"
Should we tell him? It was his wedding, he should enjoy the most wonderful day in his life. When he returned, he approached us. "Something the matter? You guys don't look too happy?"
As soon as he heard about the vegetarian and the pickles, he stormed off to the kitchen.
See, the groom... in his former life he was a fitness instructor and a body builder. You don't want to pick a fight with that guy! Soon after, a waiter came to our table, apologetic, suggested to make some pasta, both of which the lady gladly accepted.
Midnight, champagne, music, dancing, everything went smoothly from now on.
After 2am the shuttle was taking the "off-site guests" to their hotel.
"I'll be here at 9am to pick you up and drive back to the Country Inn. Don't be late."
And with that he left us there, in the middle of nowhere, in front of an accommodation that frankly did not look too accommodating - pun intended.
Once we got inside, it got worse. It smelled old and unventilated. It looked old and fllthy. Nobody was working there. On the counter we found some old-school keys with some heavy metal rings attached.
They did not seem to have our names on the tag, so each party just grabbed one and climbed to their room. Yes, up the stairs. There was no elevator in this building that was probably built 100 years ago. Did I mention someone had just thrown all the bags into a corner? So much for "we'll put them in your room."
For me personally, the biggest shock now followed: There were only floor showers (and bathrooms, for that matter) for our rooms. Did I say room? "Broom closet" is probably closer to the point. The stale smell was unbearable. It was cold, too.
The window could only be opened with a lot of effort. We had to air that housing unit though.
There were some scratchy wool blankets on the beds. Nice.
Needless to say we didn't sleep well or long.
On the plus side, we were more than ready to leave at 9am. Between you guys and me: I saved even more time by not giving the floor shower a try, even though God knows my hair was smelly from all that cigarette smoke I had been exposed to all night long,.
Were we being picked up at nine?
Of course not.
At least we had cell phones, even back then, so we could call the Inn. Too bad that nobody answered the phone though.
One of the other guests walked down the street and found a bus station. Usually there's a bus every half hour, but today was January 1st. The "Holiday Schedule" takes into account that people don't need to get to work, so they expect considerably less passengers early in the morning. The next bus was going to be in about 40 minutes.
So we waited in the cold. And vented.
We hatched a plan on how to reclaim our money for the overnight stay in that dump if we were going to be charged the full fancy Country Inn price, when finally the shuttle bus arrived.
The reception at the Inn was not manned, so we grabbed breakfast first. The people working there didn't look familiar. Turned out most of the waiters from New Year's Eve were temporary aids for the event. No wonder they seemed incompetent.
Upon asking for the manager, we learned that he had a day off.
Good for him, but he was not off the hook.
The following days I kept calling, but they never connected me to him. My e-mail remained unanswered. As a last ditch effort, I printed out my "reclaim message" and sent it to him by certified mail. The letter came back after the required deadline as "acceptance refused".
After a while I dropped, but never fully forgot about it.
The plan was to go there once spring / summer arrived, get a nice outdoor patio table, order delicious food and wine and slip out unnoticed before the check was going to arrive.
Well - we never got to it.
A few years later, when we had dinner with our friends - the bride and groom - they told us they were very disappointed in this venue. As regular guests, they were used to better service. We shared our own experience, and they went "you've missed your chance of getting even. Destiny caught up with the manager of that place. He got cancer and passed away."
Wow. I wasn't expecting this.
Am I sad or glad that the open case never got settled?
Well, the way karma works, I'd rather overpay for my stay and be still alive almost 20 years later.
What do you think?