Thursday, November 14, 2013

Story vomit, part B

Yesterday on Inside Heidi's Head, I shared how awkward I was in Europe. No one was surprised. We'll continue along that same vein with "more silly stories from across the pond," plus one story from the day after I got back.

I'm a Mormon
The day I was in Cesky Krumlov and assuaging my depression with chocolate cake, I went into a restaurant to find myself the only patron in there. (Is 11 a.m. too early to start on chocolate cake? I might have a problem.) The server was at first extremely friendly, giving me a cozy table and pointing out the best desserts. Then he asked if I wanted coffee.

"Hot chocolate," I answered. Cue the wrinkled nose.

"Hot chocolate? With dessert?"

"I don't drink coffee," I responded, then immediately got mad at myself for explaining my order to a stranger who I owed no explanation and him for ridiculing my beverage choice. Just serve me the dang hot chocolate already!

He did, then asked why I don't drink coffee. I explained that I'm Mormon, and we don't drink coffee. No, in answer to his question, we don't drink alcohol either.

A minute later I heard him talking to the only other employee in the restaurant. I can't be sure, since I don't speak Czech, but I think he was mocking me.

Unfortunately, the idiocy didn't stop there. European restaurants don't always have you pay at the table, which had been a source of great frustration: I'm sitting at the table waiting for the check, they're probably wondering why I'm sitting at the table instead of just paying and leaving. So I asked if I paid at the table or up at the front.

Except I'm not sure he got the up at the front part and thought I might want to exit the building to pay.

"You pay here," he said, eyebrows arched in a quizzical, "I can't decide if you're naïve or just dumb" sort of way. "You say you're traveling around the world?"

"Europe," I corrected, then got mad at myself and him. I owe nobody any explanations!

I don't think that server is going to be baptized anytime soon.

Sprechen zie espanol?

In Vienna I went to this really nice café for a dessert that my guidebook highly recommended. Other than butchering the German, everything went fine.

After I'd finished eating and drinking and was waiting to catch the server's eye so I could get my check (never happened: see above), a man approached me and sort of mumbled a hello. I smiled and said a weak hello, unsure of why he was talking to me. And he kept talking.

"I don't speak German," I responded.

He gave me a look that rivaled the Czech dude's contemptuousness.

"Dinero," he said.

Oh. I know that word. I also know Spanish sounds nothing like German.

I shook my head. He knew that word.

Something similar happened the next day; I'd just sat down in a park to read a book and eat some Viennese cookies, which I am now addicted to and look for in every store. Just as I'd sat down -- I may have eaten one cookie -- a woman came up and started talking to me.

"I don't speak German," I said.

She kept talking in German, waving a stack of magazines at me. I gathered she wanted me to buy one.

"I don't understand what you're saying."

She said something more.

"I'm sorry," I said, increasingly frustrated. Rejection is pretty understandable regardless of language, right? "I don't understand you."

Then she pulled up a 50-eurocent piece. That must be how much the magazine I didn't want cost. Then she gestured at my cookies. I'm pretty sure she was implying that since I'd bought cookies, I could afford her magazine. The difference, of course, is that the magazine would be really dry, even with the chocolate hazelnut spread in between the layers.

Oh, and that I didn't want her magazine.

Rain, rain, go away

 I didn't use my umbrella much until I got to Germany. I woke up in Heidelberg to a steady, not quite downpour of rain. I walked out of my hostel armed with raincoat and umbrella, popped the umbrella open about 20 feet from the hostel -- and immediately got the skin of my thumb caught in the little thing that keeps the umbrella open.

The battle between (wo)man and machine(ish) lasted about five seconds, at which point I successfully separated thumb from umbrella. I had no time to gloat, however, because my thumb would not stop bleeding. I had to go into the tourist info building and ask for a bandage.

Car tricks

Androg was in good hands while I was gone. He stayed at Rachel's and she drove him occasionally and moved him around so he had new scenery. Also so that neighbors and police officers wouldn't think he was abandoned. He got snowed on once or twice, but it really wasn't too bad.

The day after I came back I had to run some errands. It had snowed the day before but a lot of the snow had melted by early afternoon, when I left; the windshield, however, was covered in several inches of snow. I got in and turned the wipers on, only to watch them falter just a few inches up. The snow was too heavy. I rooted around for my scraper and opened the car door.

Guess what suddenly started working? The wipers. I couldn't get the door shut fast enough. Several inches of snow made its way into my seat and floor area. Meanwhile, the traitorous wipers just sat there benignly, although I'm sure they were high-fiving the engine somehow. This is what happens when you leave your car for a long time and go off on adventures without him. He gets mad at you.

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