In late August of 97, on a Saturday, during the last days of a warm summer, I traveled to Rosenberg, a small rural town with a massive print facility in Southern Germany.
With their predictable sense of punctuality and efficiency, the print company picked me up at Munich airport in a sparkling brand new Mercedes minivan.
With equal predictability the Turkish guy they were also picking up was late. When he finally arrived and entered the minivan he was wearing a fez. He nodded and said one word to me. The word was "Goodbye".
I took my book out of my bag and began to read during the 2 hour ride. I would later regret this.
Arriving in Rosenberg I was treated to a fish supper. Not great.
Sunday morning and the first press approval for Hungarian chocolate bars designed by an English agency.
The printer had fiddled with our files. The first design looked nothing like I expected.
So. Sunday on a long weekend with nobody to call today or Monday. I made an adjustment the best I could and approved the first of 8 chocolate bar wrappers. The next approval would be in 4-5 hours time. Back in my room I finished my book.
I was now staring down at 48 hours in rural Germany with nothing to read or listen to. The print rep, Hans as I recall, challenged me to a game of chess, and beat me in 19 moves.
Next we went on a drive to the nearest town. Now, I may be a cynical bastard when writing a blog, but I can be a gracious guest in real life. As we drove around this boring town I made all the right noises and approvals about the town square and the maypole.
Until he started apologizing for the Nazi regime.
Do not mention zi war!
The longest 2 days of my life followed. For kicks I would walk to the village store, which had 3 magazines - none of which were pornographic, which breaks one stereotype I suppose. German celebrity magazines are full of guys in leather jackets and chicks with underarm hair.
After the 8th approval, I was ushered into a side room and offered one of two gifts. I rejected a chess board.
When I got home the design agency rejected all of my approvals. Fucksticks!