Busted At Blumenstrasse

It all started rather innocently enough. The flower street gang decided to host another May potluck party, this time Italian-themed with pastas, lasagnas, and make-it-yourself mini-pizzas, downing it with bottles of chianti and italian cream sodas, not to mention the tiramisu. As last year, it was an open invitation to all, and our apartment was soon brimming with people of all shapes and sizes.

It was quite lovely at first, really. Parties are always nice when there are people you know and like who attend, and when they all bring food and drinks to share, so that the kitchen does not go dry before midnight. There were also quite a few more Germans around, a good sign of a foreigner assimilating well with her environment. It was only after all these nice people began to drop out, around 12 or so, that it all began to degenerate into the tasteless and strange.

Because then news began to circulate throughout the flat about the girl who had locked herself in the bathroom and had fallen to the ground. I got up immediately to investigate, venturing out into the hall full of suddenly unfamiliar revelers (friends of a friend of a friend – transitive invites seemingly without closure), passing whitewashed walls dashed with red wine, and finally pushing through the crowd that had gathered in front of the door.

No one seemed to know who she was or what had happened, but everyone could just make out the girl’s form lying prostrate through the frosted glass window. Two guys started forming a plan to get her out: one fashioned a pick for the lock out of a wire hanger, the other tried coaxing her out with words. At one point, the pick was ready, but as guy A informed me, “that’s a human being in there, and she’s hurting, and we know this is your house and your bathroom, but we try to get her out using psychology..” I stood there, utterly mystified by this inane speech, thinking he could take his psychology and shove it… a good lot it’s going to do for a girl who was close to passing out and obviously needed medical attention (or a bucket of cold water). Eventually a friend of the girl showed up and convinced the boys to open the door, which they did in two seconds, and although the sight was not pretty, I left them to get her taken care of and home safely.

Then the police showed up. The German police. It’s funny, but ever since I got here, I always thought the German police were rather intimidating. They wear military-green uniforms which remind me of fatigues and concentration camps, and which I had always assumed was a throwback to the war. Cue two kindly policemen at our door. They told us rather amiably that some neighbors complained about the loud music from the open windows facing the street, and with a smile and twinkle in the eye, would we close them and lower the volume a bit? Turns out that original police uniforms were blue, but after the war they switched to green to appear more friendly to the people, and especially to distance themselves from the police forces that came before. Cue hilarity, and a warm, fuzzy feeling as we complied.

If I hadn’t been so annoyed by the girl who didn’t know her own limit with respect to alcohol, I would have invited them in for pasta and cream soda. And schade that I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture with them. At least we kept the pick-lock, and have been practicing unlocking the door ever since.


The prospect of undergoing surgery in a foreign land can be somewhat alarming. One often presumes that medical specialists are more reliable and more competent in one’s own land than in an unfamiliar country. Still, one can overcome anything with a sense of humor.

Act I – Discovery

Doc: “Wir wissen nicht genau was es ist, also wann Sie nächste Woche kommen, machen wir die OP, und dann sehen wir. Aber kein Panik, es ist kein Grund in der Saar zu springen!
Me (to Sab): “Huh? What’d she say?”
Sab: “She says they’re not quite sure what it is, they’ll find out when they do the operation, but don’t worry, it’s nothing to jump in the Saar about..”
Me: “Oh well that’s good.”

Act II – The Paperwork

Nurse: “Do you have any allergies?”
Me: “Yes. Apples and apricots.”
Nurse: … writes down ‘Apfel und Aprikosen..’

Nurse: “Any hearing impairments?”
Sab: “Uh, she speaks English?”
Nurse: … writes down ‘spricht English..’

Nurse: “Any special considerations, like a rug to pray on?”
Me: “Uh, no…”

Nurse: “Any addictions?”
Me: “Yes, the Internet. I need it through an IV.”
Nurse: “Ah sorry, ‘fraid I can’t help you there. Anything else?”
Me: “Coffee?”
Nurse: … writes down ‘Kaffee’
Nurse: “I think we can manage that.”

Act III – Aftermath

Sab: “Are you okay? How are you feeling??”
Me: “..chapstick..”