You learn to be patient. You learn that it doesn’t help getting upset, that the blood you end up burning is your own. The smartest thing you can do is to accept the fact that you are helpless. You are dealing with the people who probably invented logic, but don’t quite understand it themselves. They are an emotional bunch. And you are dealing with the unions that are apt at blackmailing and disrupting the whole day, the whole city and the whole country, if not the whole continent, by going on strike only for two hours! Just take it easy. Not being able to get off the ground is not the worst thing that can happen on earth. Never get too upset and block your ability to reason. Never forget, you are dealing with the country that once was the greatest in Europe, and you are dealing with the people called THE ITALIANS.

The Zürich flight is leaving at 13:15. It has turned into a beautiful day. Sunny, the clean  unpolluted blue sky, the crisp air and the friendly sunrays stroking your skin. I look outside the window as the Swissair slowly rolls towards the runway. I waive, ‘Ciao Milano’.  And soon we are in Zürich.. We have three hours layover before Lufthansa takes off for Munich. We walk up the stairs of the atrium to the airport  restaurant. We clink our glasses to prost.

‘Back to the civilization!’ I say.

‘Yes, back to the civilization!’ Rosemary echoes with a broad smile.

I rush to call Brigit. ‘No party tonight,’ I tell her. She is disappointed. Heinz (Nellissen) has taken the trip from Essen and is around. We’re party people and don’t let little thing like Italian strike stop us

‘Don’t worry. We will arrange everything!’ Its nice to hear Heinz’s reassuring voice.

The party is already in full swing when I walk into the corridor of our Munich offices at little past six in the evening. It’s the loudest and the most rambunctious reception. The revelry goes on until four in the morning. When I finally hit the sack, I feel happily nostalgic about what I considered to be the longest cocktail party of my life – that was the act one of my time at Playboy.

© Haresh Shah 2013

Illustration: Celia Rose Marks

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Next Friday, October 4, 2013

THE TAIWANESE BARBER SHOP

When I was just a little kid, the family barber would stop by our joint family home every morning to shave-cut hair-do head massage to the grown up males. He would squat on the floor with one of the males sitting in front of him, also on the floor, with his legs crossed. And submit himself  to be pampered. My generation got more modern barber shops called salons. And then I got to visit a Taiwanese Barber Shop. That would change forever the way I would think of the business of cutting hair.  

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