Julie-Andrews-is-trippin-ballz.When I was on my semester abroad in Vienna back in the 80s, we went on a few trips as a group to explore the region. One was to Prague, which I loved because I’d been there before, and because I’m Czechoslovakian. The other trip was to Salzburg, which I was very much looking forward to seeing.

Being a huge Sound of Music fan, I was excited about visiting the city where Maria and the kids pranced, danced and sang Doe a Deer. I wanted to stand in front of that large fountain, splash the water with my hand and start singing I Have Confidence.

Sadly, I didn’t get to do any of that thanks to my roommates. My evil, thoughtless roommates.

I was definitely the odd man out in our room. There were 4 of us in total, with personalities that stretched across the spectrum; me being a studious dud, and Sherri, who was a total party animal. Valerie and Lexi, the other two roomies, tended to gravitate towards Sherri more. I guess a lushy pothead was a tad more alluring than a girl with low self-esteem and a teddy bear.

Sherri and I had had our quarrels during the semester…she’d blast music while I was trying to study or bring icky dudes back to our room at all hours of the day and night. Not having much of a backbone, I’d let lots of incidents slide  where she was being clearly inconsiderate, but other times I’d fight back.

One fight in particular was the one that is the focus of this little tale. I had just showered, and was trying to study. Sherri was being loud and distracting – either telling a story about the last guy she banged, or dancing around the room to some very loud music. I’d asked them to be quiet, but was ignored. So, I picked up my books and went to sit out in the lounge right outside our door.

I studied for an hour or so, and when I went to go back into my room it was locked. I pounded on the door, but they would not open it. I could hear them laughing – they were such bitches. I hated the idea that they had gotten the better of me, and I knew the more I pounded, the more they’d laugh.

I couldn’t go down to the lobby and get a new key. This was a pension, not a traditional hotel, and the lobby was closed and unmanned. I laid on the couch for a few hours, but the hallway was cold and drafty. My head was wet from my shower earlier which didn’t help matters any. I finally got so cold that I knocked on the door of the girls who lived next to us, and asked if I could sleep on their floor. At least I was out of the drafty hallway.

I woke up the next day with a fever. I felt miserable – stomach cramps to beat the band and so weak it was hard to even stand up. Once my roommates finally opened the door I collapsed into bed and curled up in a ball. After a full day of laying in bed I was no better. As the rest of my group got ready for our trip to Salzburg, it was obvious I was not going to be able to go with them.

You know it’s funny – I can’t remember if my roommates showed any remorse at this point for having locked me out. Lexi and Valerie let our trip advisor know I was sick, which was something. He came to see me, and realizing how ill I was set up an appointment at a doctor. But Sherri could’ve cared less. I think she thought it was kind of funny, and she most likely glad I wouldn’t be along to annoy her.

The group left for Salzburg and I had to drag myself up, get dressed, and walk the streets of Vienna to find the doctor’s office. I remember not being able to sit up straight in the chair. I was slumped down and had one foot up on the waiting room table. The doctor came out to call me in and yelled at me for having my feet up. This wasn’t going to be fun.

It wasn’t. The examination was rough at the hands of this doctor who was clearly annoyed with me. After being diagnosed with an intestinal infection, I was given medication and sent home.

It took me weeks and weeks to fully recover. While the fever and constant cramping went away in a day or two, I was besieged by stomach problems for much longer. I’d be sitting somewhere minding my own business when suddenly my stomach would cramp very hard, and I’d need to be in a bathroom within 20 seconds. It was no fun.

I was really pissed at my roommates for doing this to me, especially Sherri. So when I saw the opportunity to get even, I took it.

Sherri got drunk one night. Super drunk. I suggested we head down the boy’s rooms to see what was going on. But first, I suggested we put some make up on. I told Sherri she was too drunk to do it herself and offered to put it on for her.

Well, I painted a huge black eye on her. I drew all over her face with eye liner, and I gave her a clown mouth of bright pink lipstick. Then, I lead her down to the boys room for drinks. She was so wasted she didn’t even think to look in the mirror.

That night she was the one being laughed at. After she saw what I had done to her face, she cried, and asked me how I could be so mean. Yeah, it was mean, but she had it coming, and I told her just that. I told her we were even now, and she should be thankful I didn’t march down the Graben and the Kartnerstraße for all of Vienna to laugh at.

The next day, when she was sober, we talked it out. I got some form of an apology from her for locking me out of the room, which I accepted, but deep down, didn’t forgive her for. Her careless actions had robbed me of my trip to Salzburg, and crippled me physically for weeks – as far as I was concerned she could drop dead.

The remainder of our stay in Vienna was okay; it was obvious that these girls were no friends of mine, and while we were cordial to one another, I was indifferent to their presence. We just sort of existed together.

But Sherri? I think she had a new found respect for me. She’d been able to push me over all semester, but I’d shown her that I could fight back, and fight back well. She had clearly underestimated me.

Besides which you see I have confidence in me.