Dixie Peach: The Outside World

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Outside World

As we're snowless today I was able to get downtown to get a little shopping done.

Just a few observations and random thoughts from the experience...and I'll throw in anything else that may occur to me, downtown trip related or not.

1. Good God, could the old ladies of Magdeburg wet their pants a little more over eyelash yarn? I went to get some so I could finally make the scarf I'd promised my sister (and one for my MIL as well) and I practically had to beat these ol' gals away from it. Dang ladies, leave some for the rest of us!

2. Upon observing a guy standing at the streetcar stop sporting a faded orange much-too-long mohawk, cammo pants and Doc Martins I had to ask myself "At what point does wearing your self expression just turn into you wearing a cliche?". The rebellious punk look is no longer rebellious. It doesn't give people a start any longer. It doesn't make us do a double-take nor does it make one actually stand out. It's actually boring now.

3. I went Müllers today (think of a three storied Walgreens with no perscription counter but department store makeup and perfume sold self serve) to get some shampoo and conditioner and while checking out the clerk said to me "Do you really like this brand?" I answered that I did and she said "I had to ask because..." and that's where she lost me. Between her talking too fast and too low and the beeping of the scanner and the general store noise, I couldn't really follow what she was saying. I thought at first that she was saying she had to thought to try it herself and wanted my opinion on the product but as she went on and was gesturing to her hair I got the idea that perhaps she was saying she had tried it and it didn't help her dry, frizzy hair. I, of course, due to not only my lack of time to get into a in depth conversation about this stranger's hair but also my genuine lack of interest, didn't ask her to clarify her meaning. I merely said "Yep. Right. Right. I understand." except I really didn't understand. She seemed pleased with how I was responding to what she was saying and I took my change and my shampoo, said goodbye and split. It made me think that over the years of living in Germany I've developed the ability to bullshit my way through conversations so that the person I'm conversing with doesn't readily detect that I'm not quite following what they're saying. I try to observe their facial expression and body language and of course if I hear them say "Blah, blah, blah, blah...ja?" I know to follow with my own "Ja!". I could be agreeing with just about anything but so far I doubt I've done anything henious like agree that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands should be stripped naked, forced to do needlepoint with her toes and be beaten senseless with a box of cornflakes.

I think.

4. International Women's Day. Never heard of it before I moved to Germany but it's observed here and therefore I dig it. One more day on the calendar for me to receive flowers for no more of a reason than I exsist on the earth and am loved. While waiting for the streetcar I saw two women, one pushing a stroller, one holding a toddler and both holding the hands of two other small children. All four of them were howling crying. And I got the distinct impression that the women wanted to join in the crying jag as well. Somehow I doubt they've been honored today for being an important woman in someone's life.

5. I love streetcars. I know lots of folks hate mass transit but I love my city's streetcars. I can walk two blocks to the stop, hop on and I'll be downtown in 12 minutes. I can't walk to the garage and get my car out and close up the garage again in 12 minutes. I don't always like the people on them but I dig the convenience.

6. Can we go back to the eyelash yarn thing for a moment? I've seen it before and seen photos of the stuff used in knitting projects but I haven't touched it nor knitted with it before. I came home and started my sister's scarf and can I say that I love this stuff? It's sort of a bitch to knit with until you get the hang of it (not that big of a learning curve but for the first five minutes or so you can't see what's what) but it's soft and silky and looks groovy right away. No wonder those old gals were doing a happy jig over it.

7. While standing at the streetcar stop waiting to go downtown I saw a guy sitting on the bench drinking a beer with another sitting next to him. It's not unusual around here. There's about 20% unemployment in Magdeburg and a hell of a lot of depressed people who are over the age where getting a job will be a reality. Anyway another man, one obviously dedicated to a life of not working and plenty of drinking, sat down next to him and they exchanged a few words. I recognized the second man. He hangs around that market square where the streetcar stop is located and it's possible he's homeless. I do know he's there drinking very early in the mornings and he's there until late. And he happens to be a nice man. Once I'd been shopping at the grocery store that's just up from the streetcar stop and I had my dog, Bonnie, with me. I took the cart outdoors to where they're stored and packed the few things I bought and untied Bonnie and just then the man ran up to me and said "You've forgot a package in your cart. You forgot the dog treats for your nice little dog.". Just when you think the drunk bums are busy being depressed and zoned out they come and do something nice for you. So back to today. The two men chatted for a moment and then the second guy - the one who was looking out for Bonnie - stood up and next to him I saw a bag of tangerines he'd bought from the produce seller in the marketplace. Maybe it's just me but I don't see tangerines and drunk guys going together. But then again that's twice now that he's surprised me after I thought I had his character pegged so maybe someone's trying to teach me something.

Now if you'll pardon me, I have some ruby red eyelash yarn that's calling my name...


Blogger BranV said...

After reading that part on the store clerk, I now live for the day when you are caught red handed faking it...I already know it will be a great story :) You always know you're caught by that look of confusion passing along their face. Later you find out they said "your skirt is up in your pantyhose" only to have you respond with a "Great! You too!"

12:05 AM  

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