6 September 2009

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.


Angel and Kirby said...

That is so true. Rude has no nationality!

Karen Jo said...

I agree with you. You meet people like that German lady everywhere, but luckily, they are fairly rare.

Marti said...

I encounter rude people every day, unless I stay home. And yes, many are Americans, many are not. I HATE when someone pushes me in a line. In Whole Foods, where the lines are very organized, I get pushed by person with cart behind me. I usually say something or turn around and give them dirty look.

Roses said...

Better you than me.
I can say Gutten Tag, count to ten, and wish someone a Merry Christmas in German, but I could never help them build a sub.

Every day I admire you more.

kenju said...

Well, good for you for not dropping down to her level and showing your frustration. I might have turned around and told her to quit bumping me.

Klaatu said...

You should have ordered her sub with triple hot peppers and anchovies. Then carry on a discussion with her calling her vile names while wearing a sweet smile and gentle upbeat tone.
Schprecken de screw you lady,

Shaggy, Scooby and Scout said...

Rudeness knows no borders.

Chicka said...

Damn, that Subways. They let just anyone in, don't they. What's happening to the world today?