I arrived in Barcelona not really having slept in a few days. I wandered around the Gothic quarter, found myself a hostel, ditched my backpack, and hit the town.
Returning to the hostel that evening, I found the dorm room packed. Three nice girls from Canada, the Italian guy who’d passed out in his underwear with no sheet on top, and Stefan. A Canadian girl warned me about Stefan, saying he’d moved bunks for the past few nights, systematically choosing other people’s beds and making himself at home. Stefan was tall and stocky, covered in hair everywhere but his head.
At three o’clock
in the morning, I got to listen to Stefan. He’d rolled over on to his back, and his snoring made the windows shake. I apparently sat upstrait in my bunk and said, “ What? Where am I?” to which the Canadian girl responded, “You’re in a hostel in Barcelona.” “Barcelona?” I asked, confused, and hit my pillow with a thud.
The next afternoon I went back to the room, trying to catch up on lost sleep. I wasn’t alone. Stefan felt like talking, so I was polite, introducing myself, asking where he was from, and so on. Stefan was German, and came from Hamburg. His English wasn’t so good, he could talk passably, but he failed to understand me when I said “I really need to take a nap.”
Stefan still felt like talking when I came back that evening. I’d had one hell of a night, listened to a great band at a bar, drank three dizzying rounds of absinthe, followed a free flier into a club, and danced until it hurt. I stumbled back to the hostelmat around four thirty.
The Canadian girls and the near-naked Italian had wisely found beds in quieter rooms. It was just me and Stefan in the room, and Stefan felt like making friends. Drunk and wearing only his tighty whities, Stefan decided to ask me if I had a boyfriend. “No, I said firmly. “I need to go to sleep.” “You no have boyfriend? You want fuck me?”
I looked at him in disbelief. “No. I. Need. To. Go.
To. Sleep.” I said it as firmly as I could.
“You no fuck me? You no suck me?”
“No!” I pulled the sheet above my head.
“What?” He said, touching my arm and looking genuinely
“You no fuck the Hamburger?”
This wasn’t the absinthe talking. I do not fuck Hamburgers. The guy at the reception desk laughed hard at me when I told him why I needed a bed in a new room. I stood there, furious, until two girls came down to the desk themselves.
“There’s a guy on the third floor wandering around in his underwear with a hard on and he says he’s locked
out of his room,” one girl said. Apparently, the Hamburger realized that he may have said something to offend me. He had followed me out of the room and the door locked behind him.
I explained the situation. The girls were American, I asked where they were from. “Brooklyn,” they said. I
said I was from Carroll Gardens. “Canarsie,” the girl said. “Come with us, there’s a free bunk in our
I went back upstairs, generously let the Hamburger into his room, and went to sleep in the room, relived
to be with my fellow New Yorkers.