Let’s go over the primary reasons I’m taking German:
1. Because I live here and believe that if you’re going to live somewhere outside of your own country, you should know or try to speak the language. Yes, I’m three years late but oh well.
2. I will not have to live in a world of constant paranoia anymore and hopefully, I’ll be able to learn the phrases, Why are you looking at me? STOP STARING AT ME, You could smile once in a while, and the very important, I can HEAR YOU TALKING ABOUT ME.
3. It’ll help with my many and frequent Politzi run-ins. Though I hope to lower my fugitive status in the future, it wouldn’t kill me to learn, Why are you at my house now, Yes, I will turn in my license to you WHEN I DO NOT NEED IT, I’m sorry and please don’t deport me.
4. My German advisors will be so impressed and it will secure my presence at Camp Normandy this fall, where I can drink all of their beer and I don’t have to sit around and listen to hours of conversation and only understand 6 words, Ja being one of them.
5. I will hopefully be able to cause less of a scene in public when I don’t understand or really need help with something and charades and pictionary and pointing don’t work.
Like today. Today I horrified this poor, unsuspecting girl at the Vet and she didn’t see it coming and I had no idea what to do. I’m sure I left a lasting impression and even I am not impressed with myself. Now don’t take the following story too seriously. Even I can find the humor in being one of the waiting room guests.
So I get a call from the girl who actually speaks English, telling me to come pick up dog food early so they can close at noon. I arrive early, drinking my iced coffee and listening to Bigsta Beats and having a grand old time on my morning drive around town. Well, that all ended the minute I walked in the Vet and smelled the place, which sent me spiralling back to the day I arrived to go see Moxie the day after she passed.
I didn’t expect a meltdown of epic proportions, but that is exactly what the poor girl and four other families witnessed before lunch today. All of a sudden, my hands started shaking, I felt hot and light-headed and tears started to pour out of my eyes so aggressively that knowing I couldn’t stop this breakdown, I turned quickly away from everyone and faced the door I just came through, hoping to do some deep breathing, quick wiping of the tears and get through the pick-up and get out of there.
But then someone walked through the door because of course that would be my luck. So now I’m weeping facing someone, which surprised them so they said something, which then made everyone in the room look at me, which made me face the opposite wall as quick as possible, but then I realized, ummm, you are facing a wall like you’re being punished and everyone is still staring at you so you should maybe do something like get your shit together.
Then the new girl at the desk tried to let me go first and speak to me in German which was horrifying because I didn’t know the words dog food, pick-up, payment or hold on, I’m mentally unstable right now for reasons you obviously don’t know because you’re new so I’m going to go to my car and try to work this one out and come back in when I’m not sobbing.
No, I didn’t know any of that above so I just held up one finger and pointed to my face and said I’m sorry and walked out. Because that probably didn’t look awkward or insane.
After sitting in my car for ten minutes, having an excessive cry and nervous breakdown, I decided to do a once over of myself and go back in to get it over with so I could leave. In looking in the mirror, I saw two things: My makeup was everywhere. My eyelashes looked like spiders and the bronzer I had put on this morning to carry on my tanned face look was all over the place, looking like dirt had been smeared everywhere. Note to self, bronzer makes your face look dirty and also, breakdowns, never fail, make me break out into a rash.
So fine, I was going to be ugly but I had to get through this. Back inside I went, but again, nothing changed the minute I walked back in the door and off I went, back into train wreck status again. For ten minutes, the girl tried to talk to me about the food and payment and then, “Pay Moxie?” escaped her lips and she looked up when she asked me to pay what I owed for Moxie’s final visit and I think finally understood why I was standing there, sobbing as quietly as humanly possible, shaking like a heroine addict going through withdrawals.
“Oh.” She said, apologetically.
“Ja, es tut mir leid, I’m unstable heute,” I offered. Awesome display of German right there. Please feel free to talk with the level of proficiency and ease that I display in my town on a regular basis.
“Kein problem,” she said, and finished my transaction.
There’s really nothing like watching a Heather breakdown while trying to conquer a language barrier with people who show very little emotion usually.
So. While I should be most concerned about my inability to keep my shit together in a public setting, I’m more excited about starting class tonight. Maybe I’ll ask the girl to start with, “Hi, I’m Heather and I’m unstable. I’m sorry and carry on your business. I’ll be leaving soon.”
That’d be something I’m sure I can use in the future.