Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered

This Is Why I Don’t Ride A Bike

, , , , , | Legal | October 14, 2021

On my first day of a holiday to Austria, I rent a bicycle. I hit the back of a car at five km/h and fall off my bike. The driver is an Austrian woman. I am a British man. To be fair to her, I was using my phone to navigate, and I was on the road instead of the cycle lane.

She starts shouting in German.

Me: “Sprache sie Englisch?”

Driver: “Why are you cycling on the road?”

Me: “I’m not injured, thanks. I have never been to this country. What happens when there is a collision?”

She produces a form, all in German.

Driver: “We both have to complete this form for the insurance.”

She points to a five-centimeter scratch on her car.

Me: “Crime of the century. You can have my name and address, but I will not complete a legal document in a language I don’t understand.”

Driver: “I will explain it to you. Look, this—”

Me: “No offence, but I can’t trust you to translate it independently. You’re biased.”

Driver: “But Austria is a German-speaking country! Why don’t you speak German?”

Seriously? I start thinking of the psychological and historical reasons why I, as a Brit, wouldn’t be interested in German.

Me: “This situation didn’t really feature in my holiday planning. Who produced that form? Have they an English version?”

Driver: “But Austria is a German-speaking country!”

After a while, we’re going round in circles. She is getting frustrated. I’m searching for any way at all to end the stalemate.

Me: “No disrespect, but I will not complete that without an independent, human translation. I could get sued for a lot of money if I don’t understand what I am signing. I’m on holiday here and I can wait a very long time.”

Driver: “What German do you know?”

Me: “Since you asked, I can say three things. I can say, ‘Du bist ein löffel.’”

Driver: “I… I am a spoon? Where did you learn this?”

Me: “School. My teacher had a strange sense of humour.”

Driver: “I… Anything else?”

Me: “Yes. ‘Mein luftkissenboot ist voll mit alle,’ and, ‘Möchtest du ein darmspülung.’”

Driver: “I… I, what— Do you know what this means?”

Me: “‘My hovercraft is full of eels,’ and, ‘Would you like an enema?’”

Driver: “Nein, danke?”

Me: “That’s from The Big Bang Theory. Is this of any use in understanding the form?”

Driver: “I’m calling the police!”

Me: “You do that. Maybe they will translate.”

Ten minutes later, a car with “Polizei” on the side arrives, and two tall, beautiful blondes in their early twenties get out. 

Cop #1: “What happened?”

Me: “I hit her on my bike, and I won’t complete the form because I don’t understand German.”

Cop #1: “That form is to report the accident to her car insurance. That’s normal in Austria. Are you a resident here?”

Me: “No, I live in Wales. What does the form say?”

Cop #1: “I will translate it.”

She goes through the form line by line while I complete my details. Meanwhile, [Cop #2] and the woman get heated.

Me: “If this is about me can you summarise?”

Cop #2: “She says you were on your phone, but I don’t care because that is not a crime. Not unless you were in a call.”

Me: “I would not get this sort of service at home.”

Cop #2: “I think you understand the danger.”

Me: “I have another question about traffic laws, please?”

Cop #2: “Yes?”

Me: “Is the cycle lane compulsory or optional?”

Cop #2: “The special bike route is mandatory.”

Me: “That’s called a ‘cycle lane’ in English. Are you saying you have the power to punish me just because I cycled on the road when a cycle lane is available?”

Cop #2: “Yes. I could make you pay a fine for that.”

Me: “At home, I would have had a lecture about cycling with a phone, and the cycle lane wouldn’t have existed in the first place.”

For the rest of my trip, I found that Austrians, both the authorities and the people, always answered a straight question. Advice was only offered where it was needed. I felt very safe and very happy to the point that I would live there.

Sometimes The Helpline Needs A Little Bit Of Help, Too

, , , , | Right | September 27, 2021

Things looked rough a few years ago. I almost lost a close friend of mine to alcohol and drugs, was being harassed at work for months, and was constantly in need of medication because of flu symptoms and throat infections, which I later found out were stress-related.

I heard of those phone helplines where you talk to strangers about your life. I tried it out, and WOW! Multiple times I had someone to talk to for what felt like hours. 

A year later, things weren’t that grim anymore and I felt the need to thank them for their support, so I called the line. 

Contact: “[Phoneline], happy to help, this is [Contact].”

Me: *Stuttering and nervous* “Yes, this is [My Name]. I got helped by you and your helpline multiple times these years and… and I simply wanted to say thank you. You are all doing great work and I felt the need to say it out loud.”

There’s a prolonged silence on the other end of the line. Then, she responds, with a trembling voice.

Contact: “Wow. In all my years of working here, I haven’t had someone call to just say thank you. That was very sweet, and I want to thank you in return.”

That felt good!

Back Off Or Become The Butt Of My Joke

, , , , | Right | September 20, 2021

Social distancing in supermarkets is strictly enforced here. One of the rules is that each customer must use a cart, both to limit the number of customers allowed in at the same time and to ensure distance — keeping a cart length away from the nearest customer.

I’m queuing up at the counter when I feel a touch on my butt. I turn around: it’s a middle-aged woman leading her cart by grabbing its front. She has gotten so close that her hand and the cart bump me from behind.

Me: “Please keep your distance.”

Customer: “Oh, don’t worry. It’s all right.”

She comes another step closer, again bumping me from behind. I don’t know what possesses me — I’m usually very non-confrontational — but I answer her quite loudly.

Me: “As long as you’ve got your hand on my butt, you’re standing too close!”

She turned a wonderful shade of red and scurried off!

Bending Your Knowledge Of Medicine Until It Breaks

, , , | Healthy | June 22, 2021

I went on a winter holiday in Austria. It was my second time snowboarding after finishing my lessons the year before. On the afternoon of our third day there, I was exhausted and I tried to push myself up from a sitting position but fell right away. I felt a small snapping sensation in my right ring finger, but I didn’t think much about it.

Thirty minutes and two ski lifts later, I realized that my finger was swollen. I decided to go back to our hotel. I asked my cousin — a med student — about what I needed to use to reduce the pain. She tried to feel the bone but couldn’t because the finger was very thick already.

Cousin: “Can you bend your finger?”

Me: “Only like a third of the way.”

Cousin: “How painful is it out of ten?”

Me: “I think six.”

Cousin: “I think you just sprained it. Just use the ointment to reduce bruising, wrap it with elastic sport tape to keep it still, and you should be okay in a few days.”

Me: “You don’t think it’s broken?”

Cousin: “You would know it if it was broken. You would feel more pain.”

Me: “I don’t have to go to the emergency clinic here, then?”

Cousin: “Nah. It’s too expensive here. You can wait until we’re back in Amsterdam.”

Me: “Okay.”

A few days after we were back, almost a week after the accident, I had to go to Indonesia. By then, the swelling was gone, but the finger was still crooked and couldn’t bend. I decided to go to a clinic there.

From the x-ray picture, they saw that I had a hairline fracture close to the second joint of my right ring finger. Unfortunately, it had already been too long, so the bone already started healing itself, in the wrong position. Now the finger is forever crooked.

When I told my family about it, [Cousin] received a lot of teasing, and the story is retold every winter holiday. She did not choose orthopedics as her specialty.

Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 5

, , , , | Right | June 14, 2021

We’re on holiday in Austria, and as the weather is grey and rainy, we decide to hit a mall and do some shopping. My fiancé and I are in a clothing store, waiting to check out. In this store, there is only one queue, zigzagging through some impulse-item shelves, and whenever a register becomes available, the first person in line is called ahead.

The store is quite busy, and we’re standing just outside of the shelves with some people already forming a line between the regular aisles. Some middle-aged woman huffs at the younger woman with her.

Middle-Aged Woman: “I’m not going to wait in line!”

And she swiftly moves to the register near the exit of the row. She even calls the younger woman over.

Middle-Aged Woman: “This way, we’ll be able to leave here sooner and go on to the next store!”

Slightly embarrassed, the younger woman stays in the line.

Younger Woman: “I’m fine with waiting here.”

My fiancé, who is not one to speak out quickly and also doesn’t speak German very well, gets extremely irritated and keeps an eye on the lady. As I’m not a fan of confrontation either, I decide to wait until the cashier notices what the woman is trying to do.

As soon as the cashier finishes up her customer, the woman jumps up to the register and throws down some clothing to check out. Luckily, the cashier is very firm.

Cashier: “You will have to get in line if you want to buy these clothes.”

She turned around to rejoin the line, which had grown by four more people by now. The people around us were snickering when she sheepishly got behind the last person and waited her turn.

Related:
Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 4
Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 3
Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 2
Not In Line And Out Of Line