Saturday, July 23, 2011

40th Anniversary Report: Tumbling Tumbleweeds

So, we were in Vienna a few days last week, being shown the sights by Brother Number Four, when we visited the Leopold Museum on July 15.  The Wife was particularly interested in the collection of Gustav Klimt paintings.

While wandering around the museum, I happened to notice (well, "happened" is not exactly the right word, but it will have to do for now,) a very attractive young woman, in her late 20s or early 30s, with bright red hair, wearing an elegant, long butt-hugging dress, very high heels, a black hat and veil, long black gloves and a red fur.  She looked like she had stepped out of a fin-de-siecle painting and was casually strolling around to see who else was in the museum.  I tried hard not to stare, but to casually look at the Klimt's, which I'm sure were wonderful, while keeping an eye on where she was.  Nobody in the museum was talking with her, except for the young man accompanying her, but everyone was staring at her, while trying hard not to stare.  I half-expected her at some point to climb back into a painting and resume a mysterious smile.

There was no point in pretending to The Wife that I was not admiring this young woman, everyone in the museum was watching her with great fascination (men) and envy (women.)  I tried to get The Wife, and also Brother Number Four (who has an amazing way with women) to go ask her what her schtick was, but everyone, including me, was too shy.

Finally, we left the museum and outside on the steps, there were some musicians playing music and some young people slowly tumbling down the steps.  Here is some video I took of that sight.
While watching that strange performance, I noticed the mysterious young lady in red at the bottom of the stairs also watching it.  After trying again to get The Wife and Number Four Brother to go find out what's up, I finally decided I would do it.  So, I went over and asked her why she was dressed like that. She told me that she always dresses like that; she like the decadence of the fin de siecle area.  I asked her where she was from -- it turned out she was from Poland; she's a costume designer and she works
with the dance troupe that was tumbling down the stairs.  They had been brought to Vienna by the Polish consulate to perform later that evening and this was kind of a preview.  We continued talking about people staring at her, and whether many actually came up and talked with her (not many,) animal rights advocates and their objections to her wearing fur, our upcoming trip to Paris, etc. As I was talking, I glanced to my side and there at my right elbow (that was after the  picture was taken) were Brother Number Four and The Wife, trying to listen in on the conversation, but too shy to get involved themselves.

The Wife and I were quite impressed with the whole deal -- the strangely dressed young woman and the artistes tumbling down the stairs, so the next morning at the Vienna Airport, we decided to see if we could impress anyone.  As we were going down the escalator with our nifty new rolling Swiss bags, The Wife tried to adjust her bag just before she reached the bottom, whereupon it fell over, knocking her over, into me, and I and my nifty new Swiss bag went down, all in a heap at the bottom of the escalator.  We were unhurt, except for our dignity, and we discovered the fun of having everyone around us staring at us.

It was so much fun that when we got to Paris a couple of hours later, we tried it again.  This time, it was at the top of the escalator and The Wife had already safely escaped when my bag and I went down.  Again, there were no serious injuries.  I had a nasty-looking gash in the back of my head, for which The Wife wanted to take me to the socialized medicine hospital to get stitches, but I insisted  on just stanching the blood and hoped for a nasty-looking scar that would gain me respect, with the stares.

As a result of our adventures, The Wife and I see the attraction in getting stared at, but I am trying to talk her into a butt-hugging dress, black hat, veil, gloves and high heels, so we can stop the stair tumbling.  (Alas, no pictures of our escapades.)


PG said...

Funny. And ouch.

Gnightgirl said...

Oh, that post took a turn I wasn't expecting! You guys weren't wearing platform shoes on the escalators, were you? Glad you're ok, and can laugh about it.

Nancy said...

Splendid writing and snaps, John, as well as chust vonderful vignetting for all of us non-Viennese-hopping voyeurs.

Catch Her in the Wry said...

When farm boys visit the cities, it's always escalators and revolving doors that do them in.

So happy you're OK. The scar on your head will be just an invitation to retell the story behind it.

forsythia said...

Reminds me of the song, "Throw Papa Down the Stairs His Hat."