Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Good of the Germans

I just did one of the stupidest things I have ever done. The cost was low, but the stupidity was high.

I was rushing down the stairs to the U-Bahn as I saw the dreaded wave coming up to me- my train was here! Struggling through the crowd with my bags I pushed through and got one bag half in the compartment as the doors slid solidly closed. I had the straps, but the goods were firmly trapped inside. Two guys tried to force it open from the inside as I frantically hit pulled the lever. But with a huff, the U-Bahn started to pull away and I threw up my hands & watched helplessly as half my groceries glided away.

As I waited for the next train, I felt enormously stupid. The next train was coming in 4 minutes- what was my rush? Pacing, I tried to remember what was in the bag. Ground beef, chocolate ice cream, and cherry tomatoes. At least it wasn't the beer.....

I jumped on the next train and sweated it out the wait to the next stop. As we rolled through the station, I saw the two guys who had tried to help with my Kaiser bag, holding it up to the passing train. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

I thanked them ineptly in German, and received a short lecture about not doing it again. "Never!" I promised.

Soaking in sweat and laughing like a madwoman, I made it home with all the groceries. As I re-counted the story to Ian, I couldn't believe that I could believe my luck. As much shit as we talk about the Germans, and the one extremely notable instance of us getting scammed, Germans are decent, honest, straight-forward people. While this may result in the blunt assertion, that "Yes, that dress does make you look fat", it also means there isn't as much worrying about hidden fees or getting ripped off. Most of the time- you can trust that things are as they seem. In a city as big and cosmopolitan and turbulent as Berlin, I have never felt ill-at-ease or in danger.

A Prost to the guys that stopped to help, and to all you other wonderful Germans.

11 comments:

~ cheryl said...

Nice to know that people everywhere can take a moment to be kind to other people in need. We all need good things to happen to us occasionally to make life worthwhile, so that we can pass on that kindness to someone else with a need. Glad this worked out well for you - and I can only hope that this is the stupidest thing you'll ever do - if so - your life will be be pretty damn great!

Irish Berliner said...

Hahahaha! Great story, and well told! I wonder if there had been Bier in the bag whether they would have been so civic minded...

ianandebe said...

Ah, thanks! I agree that the chances of my bag returning would have been decidedly lower if the beer had been in there. But I tried to offer them a beer and they refused- surprising

Jan said...

Love it! So glad you could have a "redeeming" story after getting ripped off--the apartment guy wasn't German, was he?

Melissa said...

Hell yeah! I think the magic of berlin is that there really is more honesty--in the way people connect, act, think etc. I feel like its a lot easier to be yourself here because of it.

ianandebe said...

@Jan - we thought the guy was Austrian, turns out he's a German "grosse Kriminal". Awesome - http://ianandebe.blogspot.com/2011/07/pardon-interruption-but.html

@Melissa - true dat. Love your stuff, by the way.

Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead said...

That's pretty funny. Most of the time Germans are pretty trustworthy (although the youth are a bit dim when they get all tanked up). Here in our little village of 2000, the people are great. Not always so expected in the big city, tho. ;)

You guys should try to hop over to Köln in October if you're around for the WEBMU -- the next expat bloggers meet up. I will have a post up about it later -- or go to expatbloggersingermany.com/meetup/ and register. They like their privacy so you'll have to be verified :)

Herspective said...

I often wonder too why people get so pissed off when the U-Bahn pulls out right as they are trying to rush in (although I'm totally guilty of it too). I've seen quite a few number of arms and hands get squished trying to keep the door from closing.

Lucky that it was just groceries and not some more expensive purchase and even luckier that a kind German came to the rescue.

Great blog btw. :)

ianandebe said...

@Tiffany - thanks for the info about WEBMU. I saw something about it on your blog as well & it looks really interesting.

@Herspective Thanks so much!

my3tartlets.com said...

It's amazing, isn't it? I'm always amazed at 1)how often I lose things and 2)someone always turns it in to the Büro or leaves it high up, so it can be seen. Even a credit card was left at Galeria Kaufhof - and it was returned to the main office. (yes, I lose lots - I attribute it to 3 crazy kids ruining my brain). Great to know it happens in Berlin too... <3 those Germans!

ianandebe said...

It truly is Tartlets! Berlin can seem like such a big city and Germans can seem so gruff, but they are a good people and it really is a great place to live.

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008