This weekend, my wife went out of town to hang out with a few hundred people, dancing and drinking beer. She will do this again next weekend. And the weekend after that, and so on for about six weeks.
My wife has a problem.
She belongs to a German band.
No, that is not a euphemism for anything. She actually plays trombone in a band that performs German music. She has played with them for a couple of years now, and they get hired regularly on weekends in September and October for Oktoberfest events. She will travel all over the Sacramento region (and further on occasion) to play Roll Out the Barrel for a crowd of drunken revelers over and over again until it is time to chase everybody out of the venue and mop up the vomit on the floor.
To be fair, they play many different songs during the evening; they have quite an impressive repertoire. It’s just that it all sounds like Roll Out the Barrel to me. There are only so many sounds you can get out of an accordion played with brass accompaniment. It gets a little repetitive after a while, especially when you get a few beers in you.
They don’t just play German music while wearing street clothes, either. They dress the part. My wife grabs her trombone and heads out the door every Saturday in her wide skirts, fluffy white underwear, push-up half-vest, and open white shirt. Yup. My wife is the St. Paulie Girl.
If only I could get her to wear the outfit and stay home for a weekend. But, I won’t dwell on that since I’m trying to keep this blog PG.
Generally, I don’t go with her to these events. The reason I stay home every weekend instead of going to the performances is two-fold. First, I don’t really like German music. Second, I can’t stand German music.
When I say, “German music,” let me clarify that I am not referring to the compositions of Bach and Beethoven as well as dozens (perhaps hundreds) of others of classically trained musicians. Germany has a long, rich history of amazing composers and artists that all contributed a great deal of beauty and incredible music to Europe and the rest of the world. From the 1600’s through the late 1800’s, Germany was the pulse of the classical movement and the go-to place for devotees of the arts.
And then some son-of-a-bitch invented the Polka.
Now, before you start firing off e-mails telling me that Germany didn’t invent the Polka, I am aware of that fact. It was born somewhere in Eastern Bohemia, created by Czech peasants. It was probably created by a bunch of brooding teenagers with long hair that wanted to torment their parents. The older generation probably complained and told their kids to stop making so much noise, and the kids would say stuff like, “Mom! You just don’t understand my art.” Then they would throw their accordions on the floor and lock themselves in their rooms using those big metal keys that take two hands to turn.
But I digress.
Although the Germans did not invent Polka, they embraced it like a baby embraces its mother’s breast. Like a cancer, it spread through the body of central Europe eating away at the healthy music until there was nothing left but Polka. Europe, sickened and wasting away, tried everything to cure itself, but the Polka was too aggressive. Too invasive. By the mid 1900’s the disease … sorry, music, had even spread to the United States.
More recently, Polka has gone partially into remission, but it is not completely gone. There was a brief reoccurance in the 1980’s and 90’s, thanks to a comedian with an accordion named Weird Al Yankovic. Why he named his accordion Weird Al, I’ll never know. (*Sorry, obligatory Groucho Marx joke*)
And here we are today. With proper medication and a healthy lifestyle, Polka can be managed, but there are still unavoidable flare-ups in the early Fall. Which brings us back to my wife and her merry band of polkateers.
I don’t mind that she leaves me every weekend for two months. She genuinely seems to enjoy it and I want her to be happy. She can run off with her rowdy, beer-drinking friends and play the devil’s music; I will just hang out at home and celebrate October the way it was originally intended to be celebrated: by eating junk food and watching horror movies on television. And, I am comfortable knowing that when she is done carousing with the Austrian rabble, my wife will come back to me.
When the sun rises on Sunday morning, she will wake up in her seedy hotel room with a hangover and a vague memory of what happened the night before. Too ashamed to risk making eye contact with anyone, she will slink out of the hotel, spend a few hours wandering through the parking lot looking for her car, then drive herself home, where she will find me waiting patiently for her return.
I just hope she washes her hands thoroughly before she comes back home. I don’t watch to catch a bad case of Polka.