A question of etiquette

Columns | David Richard | February 2013

Ball Season in Austria only heightens the level of good manners and etiquette. Emerging from the U2 at Volkstheater, the recent heavy snowfall left me disoriented. It was the final frigid Friday night in January, and I needed to find the Palais Auersperg quickly. I was supposed to be videotaping the 69th Alt-Kalksburger Ball, and legendary dance instructor Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer was to be on hand overseeing the opening Quadrille.

I spotted a gentleman similarly attired in a "Smoking" (tuxedo) waiting for the streetlight to change. I inquired auf Deutsch, "Entschuldigen Sie bitte? Wo ist das Palais Auersperg?" The kindly man turned 360 degrees and pointed, "Two hundred meters that way." What about a Bankomat? "Follow me!" he said cheerfully, and off we strode as he explained he was on his way to the Hofburg for the BOKU Ball, for the University for Natural Resource Sciences.

With both our wallets drawn, I insisted he use the cash machine first. He insisted otherwise, and my arrival at the Palais was wonderfully Austrian – five minutes early.

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