January 11th, 2014


57037--The less cranky supplement

Back when I was living in Germany, we piled into the car to take one of our friends to the airport in Frankfurt, about 2 hours from the base. About 30k from the airport, the car broke down, and we had to split up. I ended up in a small village down the road, all by myself, with no idea how I was going to get back to the base. I walked into a gasthouse and asked if anyone spoke English. No one did. For the first time I felt like I was in in a foreign country, a long way from home. Which was absolutely true.

I sat there for a few minutes, wondering what to do. All of a sudden, a German phrase bubbled up from my high school German class, the one I never paid much attention in.

Können sie einen dolmetscher finden, bitte?

Can you please find me an interpreter?

The guy behind the bar laughed and called into the other room. A guy came out and told me he spoke a little English. I told him my plight, and he told me there would be a bus coming through the village in about a half-hour that could take me to Wiesbaden, another military base. I knew I could get home from there. They sold bus tickets at the bar. The bartender bought me a beer while I waited, and they chatted away at me in German. They got me on the bus, and I was on my way back to the base.


I felt a little like that yesterday. It's interesting, because I have done so much traveling to so many different places, and have always been able to get by. I should know better. Sometimes I think it's not so much that I doubt I can negotiate through an issue, it's more that, at that moment, I don't want to. I don't want to have to deal with it. But I do, and it works out.

We drove the car home on the little spare, at 80km an hour. This morning Adi and I went to the tire shop and dropped the car off to have it fixed. 87 Euros for a new winter tire. Could have been worse. And now I know how to say "tire" in German.