The other weekend, my husband and I went on a date to hear one of my students bands play at the local pub. It was really good to hear some music played by talented people and as an added bonus the music was all in English (yes!). Our date night likely coincided with many other people’s ‘date night’ as the pub was rather busy.
As a side note, I remember going out on Friday and Saturday night when I was first legally able to drink and thought those were the nights to go out. Funny thing is that now, those nights might as well be amateur night, for both the young and the old, as sleasies and youngsters all seem to just come out of the woodwork. The real nights to go out, both here and in the Northwest anyway, seem to be Thursday, sometimes Sunday, and Monday nights. Just making an observation, now back to the story…
My husband and I were sitting in the corner keeping to ourselves; laughing, joking and telling stories. There was a large mixed (male and female) group of about eight to ten people, all dressed up and having took over two bar tables. At one point in the evening, after both my husband and I had a few drinks, I stood up to go to the bathroom but ended up carrying on the conversation with my husband. I stood there for two or three minutes as we finished our conversation before one of the females from the larger table came up to me and asked me something about the bar stool in German. I couldn’t hear or understand her really so I asked her if she could repeat her question/statement in English.
She responded by saying, “Can I borrow your bar stool? Just for a few minutes? Yes, your bar stool, can I borrow it for just five minutes? Five minutes max?”
“Huh? You want to borrow my bar stool for five minutes?”
“Yes, just five minutes, please?”
And with that she picked up the stool and took it back to her group and another female promptly sat down on it and their conversation continued. I looked at my watch, noted the time (10:59, or 21.59 for those on military time), looked quizzically at my husband and then went off to the toilet.
Upon my return my husband asked why I had given my stool away as there were no other ones available.
“But, I didn’t give it away.”
“So, you’re going to ask for it back?”
“Yes, why wouldn’t I? This is Germany, I could do that.”
“No you won’t. You won’t ask for the stool back.”
“Why wouldn’t I? This is Germany. I don’t want to stand for the rest of the night. Plus, she is the one that emphasized five minutes. So, I will just go ask for the stool back after the five minutes is up.”
“Do you know how many minutes she has left then?” I know he was thinking that I forgot to actually read my watch when I looked at it.
“Yes, two minutes.”
“You’re not gonna do it. I can’t wait to see this.”
At 11:05, just to be polite, I walked over to the female and asked for my stool back which she gave me. This made my husband just light up and attempt a high-five for my effort. I sadly left him hanging as I didn’t think it would look that great to the other table. Plus, as I said, this is Germany and this is just the type of situation that would (obviously) be okay here. If someone tried this in America, they would get a flat “NO!” because in America ‘to borrow’ would mean ‘have’. I am sure that ‘have’ is actually precisely what the female meant but since she did say ‘borrow’ I can hold her to her literal word.
And that is one difference between Germany and America.
2 thoughts on “A little culturally different.”
I think I disagree. If someone here asked to borrow a barstool, I agree that they likely would not give it back willingly; however, if someone here stressed that they would only borrow it for 5 minutes, I think they would willingly give it back, IF you remembered to ask.
Perhaps, I think in Oregon sure, I’ll give you that but I am not so sure about other parts of the country. I’m thinking of bigger cities, like NY maybe. Then again, perhaps it also wouldn’t work in another larger city in Germany.