The Mad Chatter

| Groningen, The Netherlands | Working | June 2, 2017

(I’m the idiot in this story. I’ve traveled to a handful of countries before and now I’ve gotten into a particular habit when interacting with local shopkeepers, which doesn’t really work well when interacting with the Dutch who are better English speakers than most of the people I go to university with, and who really dislike dithering:)

Me: “Hi! Oh, wait, I know the Dutch. Wait…”

Barkeeper: “Umm—”

Me: *interrupts* “Oh, now I remember, it’s just hai and it sounds exactly the same.”

Barkeeper: “Yep. What can I get for you?”

Me: “Oh, I’m not really sure what I want. What do you think is the most Dutch-like drink to get?”

Barkeeper: “Well, the Dutch always drink beer, so I guess that?”

Me: “Do I want a beer? I don’t really like beer. I don’t normally drink it. It tastes too bitter.”

Barkeeper: “You can just buy a soda; we have Coke drinks.”

Me: “No, no, soda is too American. Well, I guess I’ll get a beer, even though I don’t like it.”

Barkeeper: “You can buy a randler; it’s a beer and juice mixture.”

Me: “A randler! I’ve never heard of that before! Okay, I’ll buy one of those. How much is it?”

Barkeeper: “1,35.”

Me: *hands him 1,40 because I don’t have the right coins*

Barkeeper: *sighs and gives me change*

Me: “Oh, I’m so sorry. I guess normally people give you exact change because they already know what drink they’ll buy and how much it costs.”

Barkeeper: “They also don’t take time to chat, but I know Americans can’t help but do it.”

(In other countries I’ve visited, trying to say a word in the local language and asking the store person for a recommendation opens up a friendly conversation, so I felt bad to realize I had just been an irritating customer by accident!)

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