Just me and the Germans in OTA country while the World Cup semi final between France and Belgium played on television. The Krauts were actually eating sauerkraut on their OTA hot dogs. They had brought in a jar and asked permission to use it as a condiment. The OTA bartender agreed, although it probably violated a health code regulation.
I sat at a table with a view of the highway. Wind gusted outside the joint. My mind gusted with it. I was blowing in the wind and the answers weren’t there.
Flies died around me, smashing into the unlit neon signs and crashing to the particle-wood floor. I like the look of particle wood flooring. Why cover it? Okay, maybe lacquer is acceptable.
Incredibly, the Germans were drinking coffee and not beer while watching soccer. It made no sense. It felt like something was seriously wrong in the world.
A log truck rolled by. Then a retro RV all kitted out. Then a one-armed transient smoking a cigarette while riding a unicycle. He was smiling. The wind was at his back.
It occurred to me that I should welcome the Germans to Oregon and offer my deepest apologies for President Trump. It also occurred to me that I would be conducting diplomatic relations in OTA country for the first time. The future of NATO might depend on them. Perhaps world peace would depend on them.
I sipped my porter in preparation to engage the foreigners with talk.
A better idea materialized after I glanced at an advertisement behind the bar. Why not order a round of jello-shots for our allies. The game was going into extra time and probably penalty kicks. There might even be time for two rounds.
I placed the order with the bartender. She smiled and it was a memorable smile because she had only half her teeth.
A few seconds later she was carrying my gift to the Germans and a signature brand of OTA diplomacy would soon begin.
Perhaps 30 years from now, Germans will elect one of these men President, and this man will remember my unique gesture of friendship. He might decide to help what was left of the United States of America. We’re certainly going to need it one of these years.