by Rory Hinchey
What is the life of a man if he is unable to push the concerns of business out of his mind for a few precious hours? That was the unspoken mantra of Buddy Boy* and his old friends Frederick and Gottfried. The trio originally met in university, and had a long established habit of coming together for drinks every month or so. Their usual was port of call was Schumann's, an opulent bar well known as a hub for Munichís business elite.
While there was no official embargo on the discussion of business matters, the mutually accepted and appreciated topics of conversation were those which did not relate to their working lives. Instead, their words often meandered down familiar paths, with talk of past capers, acquaintances, and calamities. During and after these meetings, Buddy Boy sometimes mused about the present undertakings of his eldest son, Josef, who had just started his university career. While Josef had always been very serious about his studies, Buddy Boy hoped that the young man would also make avail of opportunities to network and socialize within the context of his final years of schooling.
As a night at Schumann's would progress, so too would the conversations of the three men, from general to personal. Typically, these evenings would permit the airing of certain grievances which would otherwise go unheard. And although their complaints were sincere, any particularly firey sentiments were not offered without subtle humor. The statements of Buddy Boy and Gottfried expressed mild irritation with the overbearing and demanding nature of their wives, respectively. Nevertheless, these claims were usually harmless, and belying of tenderness and affection. Frederick, however, was recently divorced, had many comments that towed a venomous line on the topic of the severed relationship. In spite of the more negative tone of their friendís commentary, Buddy Boy, having experienced a similar episode two decades prior with his ex-wife, and Gottfried, who had nearly divorced his wife 6 years ago, were content to listen, especially with Frederickís colorful and often comical choice of wording.
At the end of these meetings, the parties would propose a tentative date for their next evening at Schumann's, shake hands, and be on their way. Neither of the men vocalized too loudly their admiration for the others, but they were each content to explicitly convey, feeling the drink, that they looked forward to the next evening at the bar very much.
(The Buddy Boy Chronicles continues next month with Rose Reach)
* Names, personal details, and certain details have been intentionally obscured in order to preserve the anonymity of the individuals discussed herein.