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November 18, 2006

My weird "Martin!" pizza experience

Claire has recently been away visiting her folks in Cyprus, leaving me on my own in Austria for a week. By co-incidence, most of the people in my office were also either away at conferences, on holiday, or at a big workshop with a client. All of which meant that apart from buying my sandwiches and ordering beer I pretty much didn't speak to anyone for a week. Which of course, naturally, meant that loads of weird stuff started happening to me.

The strangest was last Thursday, when I got the bus straight from work into Salzburg in order to get some dinner. I went to a pizza place we had previously visited on Linzergasse, I settled myself down, and then ordered my dinner.

Now I don't know about you, but I always feel a little bit self-conscious sitting down and eating alone in a restaurant.

Anyway, it was all going fine, until the bloke from the young couple next to me suddenly shouted out "Martin!".

A lifetime of behavoural conditioning caused me to turn round and look at him, and although he looked at me, he didn't say anything.

I went back to eating my pizza.


He shouted it again, and this time as I turned around, him and his girlfriend burst into laughter. I was looking at him, trying to think if he was someone I had met at the new job but didn't know very well, but I couldn't place him at all.

He did it a third time. "Yes?" I said, this time.

Well, it was the funniest thing in the world for them, and then they wouldn't believe that my name actually *was* Martin, and started going on at me until I produced my passport to prove it. And by now the table next door had also joined in the almost exclusively German language hilarity.

Suffice it to say it wasn't the most enjoyable solo dinner I've ever had.

Still, unlike the night that some Austrian guys just kept shouting "Johnny! Johnny!" at me, at least he got my name right.

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