I’m an idiot

Today I was very much looking forward to a talk I’d been invited to at Friedrichstadt Palast.

The Palast in Berlin. Photo by Soenne.
The Palast in Berlin. Photo by Soenne.

I like everything about the Palast. The building is stunning and features the biggest theatre stage in Europe. It has hosted some of the biggest names in show business – Marlene Dietrich, Shirley Bassey, Joe Cocker, Phil Collins and Liza Minnelli to name but a few, and is visited by over 500,000 guests every year.

Its current grand show, The WYLD, is the world’s most elaborate show outside Las Vegas and features (rightly so) on The New York Times “Top 10 Must-See” places in Berlin. But it’s not all jazz hands and glitzy costumes – the Palast has principles.

Ambassadors of countries where people are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation are no longer invited to premieres. The Palast is also involved with The Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism, the Alliance Against Homophobia, and the Berlin Against Nazis network.

Oh, and the General Director, Berndt Schmidt, is a complete and utter hottie.

He's the one in the middle.
He’s the one in the middle.


The topic for tonight’s talk was to be – Female decision-makers in dance and theatre: where are all the women? Seemingly, in Germany, less than a quarter of directorial positions in German theatres are held by women and less than one in seven of all German ballet companies are led by women. So what’s going on?

I had recently had a similar discussion with a group of students. They (mainly the women) told me that it just wasn’t possible to be a mother and a manager. You could be a mother and work, but a manager? No siree. Or madamee, I guess.

Frankly, I didn’t buy it. But then, I’m not a mother or a manager so what do I know? I was interested to hear what an international panel of experts had to say on the subject.

Right before I (almost) ran the child into a bench
Right before I (almost) ran the child into a bench

I showed up at around 17.45, fifteen minutes early (as usual). Oddly, the main doors were locked but there was a sign saying “Entry through the ticket office”. Those doors were locked too. Interesting…

I was about to go over to the ticket desk to ask what was happening, when I glanced down at the invitation in my hand.

We warmly invite you to our 2nd Palast-Talk being held on Tuesday, 2 June 2016. 

Tuesday. Check.

2 June, 2016… hold on a second, isn’t it still May?

Oh no! I wasn’t only fifteen minutes early; I was TWO DAYS and fifteen minutes early! I must have looked at the invitation and mainly taken notice of the day, not the date.  I wouldn’t mind but Germans are always getting Tuesday and Thursday mixed up so I really should have known better.

It’s hard to walk out of the ticket office of a theatre you’ve just tried to break into with your head held high but I think I pulled it off. Unfortunately, I have a class at the same time on Thursday so I won’t be able to go to the talk now.

At least I can feel secure in the knowledge that I got the year right. Right?



40 thoughts on “I’m an idiot”

  1. I’m an idiot too. I read the dates and assumed you were a month late (I took it to be June 26, because who knows, and also in my book June comes before May). So… I DEFINITELY would have missed the event. Even after reading the directions in English.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do this thing with dates all the time. I put the 9th in my calendar as the 19th. It only gets worse as you get older and blinder. But at least I’ve never gotten on the wrong plane. Yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I get ‘mardi’ and ‘jeudi’ mixed up all the time – I have those Winnie the Pooh moments when what comes out of my mouth doesn’t sound anything like what I had decided to say, and the word ‘Tuesday’ mysteriously gets transformed into the French translation of ‘Thursday ‘ on its way through my windpipe.
    It’s striking to see that women are the first ones to underestimate their ability and their right to a place in management. Cripes. Talk about putting misogynists out of a job… I’d be interested to read your post about what the ‘experts’ think about it, and indeed, who said specialists are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would be too but unfortunately I can’t go now! They had a panel of 5 people – professors, choreographers, directors and the like. I just don’t believe that it’s simply down to motherhood. It might be part of it but that can’t be the only reason. The company I was at that day has only one woman on the board – she’s the HR Director because “women are better at stuff like that”… 😉 Hopefully someone else who is attending will write a piece on it and I’ll share it!


  4. Plenty of female decision makers in theatre. I heard about one once who had baresocked people wriggling around on the floor pretending to be worms! I hope she’s been invited… if not, you really ought to give her your ticket.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This day, 31st May, when Linda put up a post entitled ‘I’m an idiot’, has been declared a national holiday in Latvia!

    Also, I think that ‘where are all the women?’ is the quintessential question for much of theatre throughout history. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha, it was in Germany too – if you do your taxes by yourself. If you have a tax consultant, the deadline is the end of the year. More German bureaucratic madness, but I’m prepared to throw money at this one 😉


          1. Speaking of bureaucratic madness I’m translating a bunch of legal documents from German to English, so I’m encountering gorgeous phrases like

            Ein Abgehen von diesem Schriftformerfordernis bedarf ebenfalls der Schriftform.

            all the time. Weirdly, this makes me want to experience German bureaucracy more, not less. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Bwahaha! Oh, I’ve done worse Berlinda. I tried to deliver 45,000 pounds (about 20,000 kg) of frozen fish to the wrong freezer in Boston once. The load always went to the same freezer and when I loaded it I didn’t even look at the Bill of Lading – just went where i always went. I drove 2 days and never once looked to see where I was going. When I arrived, i gave in my Bills and they said they could not unload me. I was incensed as I had an appointment – then they showed me my own Bills and pointed out that I was 100 miles away from my delivery – Duh! Feel stupid or what?

    Talking about doors, you’ll love this. We have two restaurants called The Keg here in Ottawa. They are high end steak houses with the same owner. So, I had worked 24 hours a day for 3 days when we had 4 trucks stuck in a truckers strike that had closed the road in a northern community. I stayed with them by phone until we managed to get them\ released. In return my boss gave me $300 worth of gift certificates for The Keg and I took the family and a friend for each kid (2 kids plus two friends plus my wife and I = 6 ) for dinner. It was bitterly cold and had just snowed. The restaurant had old style twin wooden doors at the entrance. Then inside was a second set of doors that kept the heat in. The young boy raced ahead (he was about 12 at the time) and grabbed the door but it would not open. there was a build up ice and snow at the bottom of the door. I tried the door and it wouldn’t move. i peeked inside, in case they were closed,but there were many diners and staff moving around inside. I pulled a bit harder but still nothing. Anticipating a juicy steak and being stopped by only a door, I set my feet, grabbed the heavy handle with both hands, arched my back and used every muscle I had. At the time I was 6 foot 3 1/2 inches, 250 pounds and worked out three times a week at the Athletic Club. There was a sick tearing sound and the hinges on the right side pulled right out of the wall. I shifted the heavy door (about 200 pounds) slightly to the right and the latch disengaged. I then picked up the door and set it carefully against the wall next to the frame.
    It was not immediately obvious that anyone had noticed and we entered through the inside doors and were taken to a table. As we walked along I noticed that a number of customers had stopped eating and stared at us as we went by. I thought that maybe it was because we looked like a large family with the added friends.

    So we settled into our seats and ordered drinks when a small pale looking man with greasy hair , a handlebar mustache, and wearing a cook’s whites appeared beside our table He was wringing his hands as he excused himself and he looked very nervous. I asked how we could help him and he started to stutter that he needed to talk to me about the door. I went on the attack and informed him that I was the safety director for a large company and that I found it disturbing that the hinges on his front door were so weak that they failed when I tried to open the door.I continued by suggesting that had those hinges come loose when a person smaller than I had tried the door he could be escorting an ambulance right now. I told him that I had saved him a liability suit and that I would appreciate it if his establishment recognized that.

    Bwahaha! We got our meal for free! i saved the gift certificates for a later date.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh God haha! I’m glad I’m small and wasn’t strong enough to rip the door off! Then again, this is German engineering so maybe you wouldn’t have been able to either 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Your first story reminds me of when I was a cab driver in Minneapolis and a man came out of the airport, asking for a cab to a hotel none of us had ever heard of. So he pulled out some letterhead to show us his reservation.

      “That’s in Milwaukee,” one of the drivers said.

      When I got a fare and left, some minutes later, he was still standing there, surrounded by cab drivers, saying, “You mean this isn’t Milwaukee?”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Bwahahaha! Too funny. I have a friend who discovered 1/2 way to Boston that she was not on the plane to New York. Ha! At least she didn’t have to find out from someone else.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. It is free but it’s invite only! I’d be pushing my luck asking to take another 9 people along haha! Plus it’s in English and they’re only a pre-int group. I’m not sure how much of it they’d understand. Pretty sure some of it would have gone over my head 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I guess I got a blog post out of it either way, though it wasn’t quite what I was expecting! A lot of press are invited to these things so hopefully I can read about what was said somewhere else 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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