So I recently wrote a post about Werner Castelrotto, my bartender in the Leverkusen Best Western (I refered to him as W. as I didn’t know his name at the time). I wrote the post sitting across the bar from him, furiously typing away with my thumbs on the blackberry and putting away the pilsners at a pretty good clip. As is often the case given my fiercely competitive nature, I didn’t really like what I’d written about him; I didn’t think it fully did him justice.
Well, I was wrong. I made friends with Anna, another bartender at the hotel during my stay, and showed her some of my pictures from Brussels on the blog. She asked for the website and I excitedly obliged her. She read on and found my post about Werner, her coworker, and in turn referred him to the site. When she told me this I was scared shitless. I, with nothing but good intentions, wrote about this dude without permission, mentioned his sexual orientation, observed that he looked a bit like a Frenchman (the Germans and French get along pretty well right? No historical issues there or anything) and generally spilled his proverbial beans for him, frankly all of which was probably not horribly appropriate to do.
So, imagine my surprise when his face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning upon seeing me the next night. He loved it. And I loved that he loved it. He told me that he immediately printed the post out, showed his boyfriend and friends, and was tickled pink that he was “on the internet now.” He did however ask me to clear a few things up, which I’ll do now. First and foremost, he wanted his actual name included, so let me formally introduce “W” as Werner Castelrotto. Also, he didn’t own a hotel and restaurant in the country-side, just a restaurant. And I’m sure there were other corrections I was supposed to make and forgot, so Werner, let me know if anything else needs some clarification.
My last night in the hotel Werner presented me with a sketch he’d been working on. I was floored and utterly touched by his kindness, and by the fact that I had touched him. He had obviously spent a good chunk of time working on it, and he said giving it to me was the least he could do. I never imagined when I was typing away on my blackberry that it would end up touching him the way it did. Pretty cool shit.
Also, Werner gave the link to a future patron, who read the article, and wrote a very flattering comment about it (scroll down and click comments on the first Werner post if you’re interested). She mentioned that the article might be the “highlight of [Werner’s] life.” I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read it. I guess the bottom line is that two separate people, one of whom I’d never met a few days before the post was published, and one I never will were affected by my half-intoxicated ramblings. And that in and of itself makes the countless hours I’ve spend in front of my laptop in various corners of this little planet of ours 100% worthwhile.
So Werner, thank you for your kindness and your friendship, as abbreviated as it had to be. I can honestly say I’ll never forget the experiences I had chatting with you in the corner bar, and I hope I did you justice. You’re officially on the internet now.