Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Death of a Queen

We had our medical examinations for our drivers licences. The Doctor took great pains to advise us that if we had any medical problems of any type we could expect to be caught up in the Austrian bureaucracy for some considerable time – and that deportation was a likely outcome.

The required answer for all the questions was no – and this answer we dutifully gave to all questions.

I had to fake my eye test. I said I had a piece of kitty litter in my right eye. Cate confessed outright that she is legally blind and that her dog was in the waiting room with me.

This did not stop the Doctor who was focused on filling in the form and getting it stamped properly. In Austria this is always the most important thing as there is a special government department that punishes people who fill out forms incorrectly. Those caught are turned into parking police until they meet a quota – and this explains why the parking police are so zealous.

We eventually emerged triumphant with our certificates. I had some difficulty as the door handle of the surgery came off in the Doctor’s hand and she had to put it back together again before we could leave. I was not worried as we were only on the first floor and there was enough material in her blouse and my jeans that we could use to make an escape rope. In fact her blouse was plenty big enough.

Step 2 is to go to the required government department where we will be subjected to a number of atrocities and indignities before being issued with drivers licences. These procedures are designed to let you know that you are insignificant, powerless and are but a dollop of Pelican poo defiling the Austrian Nation with your presence.

You have to jump through many administrative hoops to get a licence – but none of them involves driving a car or knowing any road rules. This is evident once you start to drive and are subject to frequent suicide attacks by other drivers.

Frau Schlumberger has decorated the fir tree in our courtyard as a Christmas tree. Frau Schlumberger is the building Hausmeisterin and looks after the building, does the cleaning, changes the light globes and makes sure that the young Asian ladies in the massage parlour on level 2 don’t hang their knickers over the balcony.

Cate is disappointed in the outcome with the Christmas Tree and thinks that Mrs Schlumberger did not have her heart in it. I think Cate is expecting far too much – Mrs S has a great deal to do in an apartment building this size - even without the knickers - but must admit that the tree looks much better at night than it does during the day. Based on this performance Mrs S is unlikely to get the job of doing the Christmas lights in Karntnerstrasse.

The big news is of course that the Queen Mary has been draped in black and has been dragged off up Opernring on a gun carriage. The route was lined with Budget Rental Car employees wearing black arm bands who shouted things like ‘it was a suicide mission!’ , ‘too young to die!’ and ‘we love you Queenie!’

The man who collected her was a battled scarred veteran but even he bit his lip as he catalogued the disgraceful condition of the once glorious Queen Mary. After a lengthy restoration process the Queen Mary will be placed in a glass case on rosewood plinths in the Budget Hall of Martyrs – with before and after pictures – so that the Viennese can see what happens when you lend your cars to Auslanders.

On a brighter note…….her replacement - a gleaming and perfectly formed Mercedes Benz C-Class Estate – sits quivering in the garage ready for action. You can almost hear her snorting and pawing the ground as she waits to come to grips with the cobble stones in Ungargasse.

Tomorrow I shall unleash her on Wien! Vorsicht!


  1. Congrats on the new Wagen! Does it fit in the garage space better that the Alte Königen?

  2. Yes it does fit much better. And it has a really good proximity warning system which shrieks well before the crunching starts.