The worst night I ever spent is hard to delineate,
unless I begin with categories of night. The saddest night, the
loneliest night, the scariest night and so on. Some nights are an
irritating combination of circumstances.
Many years ago, somewhere East of
Munich, I slept in a culvert. That night it rained so heavily I
think I came close to drowning. Worse was being so thoroughly wet,
because under the circumstances of homelessness drying out is always such
The clothes quickly take on
the flavor of damp and dirt that mushrooms might like. What the wife
calls 'mankiness'. Which is the perfect word, even if in some parts
of the world the word 'mank' contains what is politely called 'undertones
But 'mank', as I think the wife means it, perfectly describes that time of drying
place like Austria, with its Catholic heritage, the 'manky vagabond' can
be subject to arrest. And ultimately, to avoid that fate, there was
only one cure, sunshine along with nakedness. Which even in
Austria is sometimes frowned upon.
night remains hard to categorize, primarily because not far from that
wretched culvert is the town of Mank.