Home Alone

No word from the bachelors in Frankfurt yet this morning. I'm sitting here enjoying a cup of coffee from my dear friend the Saeco machine. I can't tell what temperature it is outside but the grass is dewey and the sun is shining through a hazy sky. I volunteered to rake the yard today and after the last few weeks of abandonment it looks like quite a task.

When I arrived in Munich last night, I had to take a taxi from the airport, as is the case when M. and I don't land at the same time. The routine of trying to tell the driver where I live is getting a little old but still is kind of funny. We live on a mid-sized street but it is not the most well known in Munich. So the conversation usually starts with me butchering the name of the street 7 or 8 times. If there is still confusion I resort to giving the name of the area and that usually provides enough clues. Last night, this old man was just not getting it. Finally he asked the dispatcher to help us. I said it one time and the guy knew right away so off we went. As we got close, I gave some instruction and I really don't think I could have been anymore clear, links, rechts, geradeaus. This man had it in his head where my street was and he was wrong, so between my accent, his disorientation and his general stubborness we had to go around a few blocks before he would finally listen and take me home.

On the topic of travel, one thing that is always surprising to me here is that the people at the airline check in counters don't seem to hold their amazing power over your head every chance they get. In the States you can take one look at a sour expression behind the counter and you know, if anything is out of the ordinary in your situation, you are going to be in for a rough day. Last night, I was extremely late getting to the airport (arrival 25 minutes before take off). They didn't even say a word. They put me on standby, called ahead to let them know one more piece of luggage was coming and sent me on my way with my boarding pass. No lecture, no hassle. I like that. I know I was late and don't need to be beat over the head with it.

This comes to the reason I was late. I saw the cutest pair of shoes in Basel on the way home from work to get my luggage. This led to a bit of shopping (hey now, it's cold here in winter and after so many years in DC I needed to get a little better equipped). The woman in the store was embarrassed to speak English so, in line with my renewed commitment to learn German, I gave it a go. It was actually quite fun because after food I know more einkaufen words than anything else (Glamour is free at the airport so I'm always reading silly fashion articles. I think my favorite German word is umkleidekabine anyway). I see so many complaints about customer service but in the stores in Basel and Munich they never just take your stuff and slap it in a bag and send you on your way. They still try to sell. The woman took my new shoes and put rain protection all over them. Then she threw in some free inner soles. She showed me some forms I could buy that would help keep them in shape. It was like how my grandmother said it used to be when she worked in a department store in Hartford years ago. Customer service and sell, sell sell!

Anyway, I made it home last night, safe, sound and only a bit late. And there it was. In the middle of the living room floor.. our new TV! I ran to the kitchen and grabbed some scissors to start cutting the box open, any intention of waiting for M. quickly forgotten. Snap. Snap. I cut the two straps off and was about to tear into the box itself when the door started ringing. It was L., our Dutch neighbor and good friend, coming to see if I wanted to join him and his ex-bf for dinner. So I put the tv on hold and went up for dinner. Then they decided I should join them for my first all German movie (an American film dubbed in German, by the way, and a very strange one at that) so off to the theater we went. It was very late when we got back so the TV still sits, safe and sound in its box, and now for sure I will wait for M. to get home today. Well done, M. You outmaneuvered me.

Posted from Munich


Carol said...

Adorably cute shoes is an absolutely reasonable reason to almost miss a plane!!


Kirk said...

It's true that airline staff seldom make your life difficult here, but I've also found that they're seldom especially friendly and helpful either (it always seemed like in the US you would get one extreme or the other). Maybe that's because I usually fly out of Basel where much of the staff have that well-honed French hauteur, like you're keeping them from doing better and more important things.