At my current workplace I don’t really get a lot of opportunities to make mindful conversations with my coworkers (they prefer not to talk to me), but on the rare occasions they forget about the main policy* of the Austrian working and lower middle class**, there are chances our small talk session turns out to be quite memorable.
* Don’t Talk To Strangers! They Are Evil, Stupid And Dangerous!
**and, most likely, the aristocracy. (Un)fortunately, I have exactly zero experience with Austrian nobility, so I can’t really tell about this one
coworker: – Are you the only child of your parents?
me: – I have a sister.
coworker: – Does she have children?
me: – She has two sons.
coworker: – Well, it’s your turn now!
me: – ???
coworker: – Go on! Start to have babies!
me: – ???!!!
coworker: – Your sister has already made it. Now it’s your turn.
me: – Why should I copy every decision of my sister? What if she jumps out of the window? Should I jump too?
coworker: (shows embarrassing lack of knowledge about world history)
me: – Don’t you learn this stuff in school?
coworker: – No, we only learn about Austrian history.
me (incredulously): – What’s about the Soviet Union? The American Civil War? The French Revolution?
coworker: – We only learn about Austria.
me: – That can’t be true. Please tell me it isn’t.
coworker (trying hard to come up with something): – Hitler got mentioned though.
me: – That’s reassuring.
(Hitler was born in Austria. Maybe that’s how he made it into the curriculum.)
coworker: – There is a good ice cream parlour in Grein.
me: – Oh, Grein, isn’t it that place with that historical theatre?
coworker: – I don’t know. I only go to Grein to get ice cream.
me: – It’s the oldest theater in Austria still in use…
coworker: – You can also have schnitzel with fries…
me: – …it’s more than two hundred years old…
coworker: – …and tafelspitz…
me: – …and is completely preserved in its original state…
coworker: – …quite expensive though…
me: – …prisoners were also allowed to visit it…
coworker: – …but you get a lot of food for your money, so it’s a good deal.
me: – …and you could even watch the performance while sitting on the toilet!