There are many things I love about Vienna. One of the things I do not love is the social acceptability of drunkenness in public transportation vehicles at all hours of the day and night, to wit:
I go out at noon on a Sunday and ride around for about two hours (searching, in vain, for a satisfying place for brunch – been having a run of bad luck in that department lately, but that’s another story) in three or four different trams, all populated by people either (a) carrying cans of beer or, worse, (b) rank with the fragrance of their bodies trying desperately to process a too-generous dosage of same at some point in the last 12 hours. Or (c) both (a) and (b).
Although my political leanings are largely what’s normally termed “liberal” or “socialist”, I am decidedly libertarian when it comes to legal infringements on daily life. I see them as just that: infringements. One should not try to legislate morality. However, my carefully-thought-out positions on things just fly overboard when I am greeted by that acrid aroma, those molecules of poison and physical unwell-being signalling everyone within a roughly ten-foot radius that this person is best avoided. It also helps that many of them are still visibly drunk, talking to themselves, mean-looking, or whatever.
I ask myself what these people are doing to themselves, for heaven’s sake, and why can’t they at least take a freaking shower before they leave the house, and say to myself that – yes – perhaps there Ought To Be A Law. In short, I sound to myself like the reprehensibly bourgeois bohemian that I probably am. Why reprehensible? Because judging, and lacking compassion. Though compassion often works better after I’ve eaten.

Breakfast, by the way, turned out to be cold lox and dill sauce on a bagel as unconvincing as it was untoasted. I know you can’t get bagels here but sometimes I still can’t help trying. Also a Viennese double espresso: only roughly half as watered-down as is customary around here, and I’m not really crazy about the roaster. Above-average for here, but unsatisfying.

You know what? A roundup post on coffee in Vienna will follow in short order, for those who are interested in that sort of thing.