I personally feel that in the last couple of weeks I've been making some excellent progress with my German, and I am actually starting to feel excited about going into stores and maybe having a 1 in 100 chance of communicating with the employees, rather than my previous odds which were When Pigs Fly or When Puppies Stop Being Cute.
So as I do every month, on Wednesday I went into the village pet shop to get some food and treats for Cosmo and Poppy. When I walked in I groaned a little to see my least favourite person manning the register. This woman is as spaced out as cornflake; for the past nine months that I have patronized the shop (no matter the month) she always looks like her hair has never met a brush, she is wearing a winter scarf wrapped around her neck, she is constantly wiping her nose with a tissue that looks like it should have been thrown away five sneezes ago, and her eyes have a watery quality that make her appear as though (a) she is about to cry, or (b) the Flu has taken it's germy fist and thrown repeated left hooks at her face.
Basically, she looks like she's in throws of suffering from disease, and she's one sneeze away from getting it all over you. But the worst thing is, she is so spaced out you have to make sure she's not double scanning the items she's ringing in, and it feels like it takes her a hundred years to process your payment: dropping change all over the floor, miscounting your money back and then feeling the need to start back at one, etc. It's painful even for me, and I'm never in a hurry.
On Wednesday after she rang in my items, she asked if I had my client card. I actually didn't have my client card with me, but rather than my usual panicked reaction of "Holy f-ck this person is talking to me and I don't know how to respond, how about I nod and shake my head at the same time so she knows I duh-duh-don't get it," I felt quite brave and decided to answer back auf Deutsch.
(Just pretend the following exchange is written in German.)
"I don't have my client card with me, my husband has it. It's okay, I know I must pay normally."
My sentence was shaky, I used a lot of hand gestures, but my meaning was clear: I realize I must pay normally.
Then Ol' Thunderstruck answered me back auf Deutsch: "I can't give you points."
"Without the card, I can't give you points."
"Yes, I understand."
"You must have the card in order to get points."
"I understand you."
"You are not going to get any points."
"Thank you, I un-der-stand."
"You should always have the card."
Would you kindly STFU and accept my money!
Obviously I didn't say that, I just pushed my money across the counter and continued to say: "Ja, ich verstehe. Ich verstehe. Ich verstehe!"
Then as she dropped my change all over the counter, rubbed her raw nose with a scrap of tissue, and peered out at me from under frizzy bangs with her watery-"No points for you!"-blue eyes, I felt a bit of pride because I have been proven right: not only does this woman look annoying, she really is annoying.
I can understand that.