I don’t think I ever want to hear about rude Americans again. As a whole, we’re not, not really. If we’re in your country and we don’t grasp the cultural differences along with the language, that’s not rudeness. It’s a simple case of not knowing. Rudeness is borderline intentional.
Today I left the house without eating, which is always a mistake, and after lunchtime I wound up at Subway because it was the only nearby almost-healthy thing I could think of that wouldn’t require a long, long holiday-weekend wait. It was packed, every table taken and the line to order long, but the people working there seemed to be working pretty freaking fast, so I stayed. In line behind me was a German woman who kept pushing me forward, as if that was going to make the line move any faster or cause the people making the sandwiches to slap that meat on the bread with lightning speed.
I didn’t say anything, because I doubted she would understand me—she was speaking to her companion in German and I hadn’t heard anything resembling English out of either one of them—and it didn’t see worth getting bent over. It didn’t take terribly long to get to the counter and place my order, and once my sandwich had been started the girl there asked the women behind me “What bread?”
She was answered by the German version of “Huh?” And this was repeated three times. I used to speak passable German; I can barely count to ten now, but I reached into the depths and pulled out “Was brot?” as I pointed to the selection listed on the counter case. She pointed to Herb Cheese, I told the girl herb cheese. When she couldn’t answer to “what size?” I asked her “sechs oder zwölf?” and she got it. Six inches.
She wanted a club, which was only ascertained by lots of pointing and gesturing toward the menu board. The line kept moving down the counter, and she kept pushing my ass along, bumping me into the stroller that was wedged between me and the guy ahead. I bumfrak translated the entire way for her, enduring the shoving that was getting us nowhere, and after I paid for my turkey and ham I walked away to the push-free safety of a lone single-person table that had opened up.
I was pissed off. All it would have taken was a simple “danke,” for my efforts, as bumbling as they were, but I got the distinct impression this woman felt entitled to not only try to move the line fast but to my help as well.
So yeah, forget about the rude American. There are rude people everywhere.