Me. Looking like one of those scary volleyball chicks in gym class who slammed the ball in your head and then laughed.
Funny story about me in a pub with a couple of friends in Tübingen, Germany. (The picture isn’t of me in Germany, but it does capture me looking like one of those scary volleyball girls who would throw the ball at your head and then laugh. It seemed somehow appropriate for this post.)
In Germany, most people drink mineral water — that is the nasty-tasting, salty, fizzy crap in a bottle that is way over-priced. Asking for still water straight from the tap will usually get you a look of shock bordering on horror. Also, the server will believe you to be cheap and will give you a nasty look just for that. Nonetheless, I just don’t have the taste for mineral water. In fact, I feel more thirsty drinking that than not drinking anything at all.
So, in a pub, I ordered both a pint of local beer and a “plain from the tap water.” A look of horror that I had grown used to, but the server complied with my request. A few minutes later, I received my pint and my water. I said the polite “Danke” to the waitress. She looked straight at me, and I swear to God, I heard her say
I was absolutely too stunned to say anything, and my mouth literally hung open. It was like I had been slapped in the face in slow motion. My German wasn’t *that* bad…was it? I had tried to be extra polite.
I think what concerned me even more was the fact the two people I was with at the pub didn’t seem to see anything out of the ordinary. I had to wonder if perhaps they were agreeing with the server’s assessment, or if I really made a large social faux pas, so I asked them.
“Um, Guys. Did she just call me a bitch for ordering plain water?”
My friends both gave me a really screwed-up look as they replayed the recent conversation in their minds. Then, one of them — a guy who lived in Washington state USA for a year — started laughing. A lot.
Apparently, what the waitress said — phonetically — was “Bitchin”…spelled properly in German is “Bitte Schoen.”
She was saying “You’re welcome.”