Sometimes I get the feeling that when (some) strangers speak to me, when I’m not overjoyed at their intrusion into my general peace that they wonder whether or not I can speak or understand German.
Yesterday, after walking a half an hour in the pouring rain, one of the neighbors caught me as I was trying to unload and deconstruct our monster of a stroller. First she asked me if I lived in the building. Then she verified the floor. After staring a bit, she went to pick up her mail. And then she came back…
I figured she was assessing my level of German to adjust her eventual complaint about something for Mittelstufe II or whatever. I hope you aren’t planning to leave your stroller in the hallway. Can’t you get your child to shut up because I don’t want to wake up at 6:30am? Is that your child? I’m calling the Jugendamt. etc.
But all she asked, after peering into the stroller, was: Is it a boy or a girl?
After an awkward silence, she went upstairs. I guess she was just trying to be nice. Who knew all you had to do was have a kid and people start being friendly. I’ve met more old Turkish couples over the past month than I have in the past three years. Maybe it’s also the weather… People don’t usually smile this much in this town, ever.
Our girl is smiling too.