I had not payed the rent for my room at the hostel for the last three months. I should have searched for an alternative stay, before they kicked me out from there. I just didn’t have money to take an apartment. R.K. did find by accident an advertisement, I called there. It was hardly to believe, but a real baroness was searching for somebody to make her breakfest, and for that she was offering a room to stay free of charge. The baroness was a ninety-one years old, petite and a really cool lady (with some Hungarian aristocrat blue blood from the Battyányi family). She did like me, so I got the room and in September I could move into her house with a huge backyard and garden. It was located in the thirteenth district, one of the green districts of Vienna. In the neighbor house Egon Schiele had lived and painted. That was a good sign. The baroness lived very modestly, her daily breakfest consisted of two hard rolls with butter and tea, but she was adamant about taking the breakfast in her bed. That was my only task - to prepare every morning at the same time her Earl Grey tea, to butter the rolls, to bring it into her room, to open the window saying „Good Morning!“ That was all, she was asking for. She needed that. The room she was offering to me had an own entryway and was furnished with beautiful, precious, original Biedermeier furniture. We shared the bathroom, the kitchen, and the phone. Never before had I had a private room for myself. At home I didn’t even have an own bed. I had to share it with my grandmother for a long time till I asked for my own. So I simply loved to be there, and prayed every day, long may live the baroness! I was searching for some society of similiar spirit, it required quite a lot of grit to enter the Rosa Lila Villa, which was (and is) a popular gay meeting-point for all genders. So I went there one day. I entered the pink house with big expectations, I hoped for getting to know somebody there. I entered a yawning empty local. I was too early. I spended there, I guess, eight hours on a Sunday afternoon, drinking two coffees during the whole time, reading the few illuminative brochures back and forth, waiting for the female Godot. She didn’t came. /of course../ As the local filled up, I needed to admit (superficially seen..), that I never had seen so many ugly women at one heap. I couldn’t ascertain beyond doubt, if they were men or women at all. I could not catch a glimpse of a feminine woman there. One cigaret yet, after that I wanted to go, when somebody came to my table, she had been sitting eight hours long, like me, vis-à-vis to me. Finally we started a conversation. She was studying art history, and was a big fan from K.D. Lang. I didn’t know the music from her. I didn’t know any gay artists. (Or I didn’t know they were gay.) In the following period, we met a few times, she was showing me some gay cult movies, and introduced me into the scene. I got a new friend. But I was searching for a new girlfriend.
RAY CHARLES • HIT THE ROAD JACK