The adventures, thoughts, and general scrawlings of a classical pianist

The bus stop

Well, I’ve moved one step up from going around starting conversations with “Sprechen sie Englisch?” and speaking in English all the time. Thanks to my German class I can now ask a few key questions and give a few very specific answers. Now when I brush past someone I say “Entschuldigung” instead of being mute.
The unfortunate downside is that I sometimes accidentally give the impression that I know more German outside of these few key phrases.
The other day I got to the bus stop just as the bus had left, as did an older lady who sat down next to me at the stop. She turned to me and said something, probably about how it was just our luck that we’d barely just missed the bus.
Now, when people speak German to me and what they’re saying falls outside of the tiny realm of my German understanding, my mind, instead of properly processing what they might be saying, automatically fills it in with “[GERMAN GERMAN GERMAN GERMAN.]”
So this is how the conversation went:
Me: [nods and smiles]
Me: Um…sprechen Sie Englisch?
Lady: Nein. (“No.”)
At this point, I knew I was doomed.
Me: Okay, ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch. (“I speak a tiny bit of German.”)
Me: Umm…uh…ich weiß es nicht. (“I don’t know.”)
Me: Ich weiß es nicht!
Lady: [GERMAN GERMAN]? (At this point she was asking the same question again and again, clearly under the impression that if she repeated it enough, I would understand.)
Me: Ja. (“Yes.” I have no idea what I was saying “Yes” to, I just wanted it to stop.)
Lady: Woher kommen Sie? (“Where do you come from?”)
Me: Aus den USA! (“From the USA!”)
Me: Um…
Eventually, after a whole round of questions that ended in me answering “Ich weiß es nicht” each time, the lady gave up and we waited for the 21 bus in awkward silence.

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