Montag, 5. Mai 2008

Ein Transvestit unterwegs

I've already started on a post about what I was up to this past week, but before I forget, I just have to write about an experience I had on the U-Bahn (subway) this morning on my way to work. The ride is only about 6-7 minutes, so I usually just sit there and think or watch the Berliner Fenster for news. At Rosenthaler Platz, one stop from my stop, a big transvestite got on the train. This guy was very, very, very obviously a man. I mean, he was wearing a pink dress that was extremely short, high heels that were relatively subdued for what I imagine the stereotypical transvestite to look like, a long-haired wig, and plenty of makeup. That didn't help him conceal his real identity. To top it off, when he plopped down on the seat across from me, threw off his shoes, then actually lay on the seat with his feet up on the seat in front of him, where some poor girl was sitting, he gave me a clear idea of his gender. Yeah, gross. There are several types of U-Bahn cars in Berlin, and I feel it necessary to highlight that I was sitting directly facing him. We were in seats that are meant to fit three or four people, ones that run along the side of the car. Anyway, he starts mumbling to himself and throwing sugar packets all over the place. I wanted to laugh so bad and had to turn away because I couldn't stifle my laugther. Everyone else in the car looked bewildered, particularly the Muslim woman sitting next to me. So then this guy asks where the Gesundbrunnen stop is, and no one answered, so I felt obliged to. And of course that was a gateway to a conversation (what, I wasn't gonna ignore him when I and everyone else knew the answer to the question!). So because of my accent he asked me if I lived in Berlin, then introduced himself as "Andrea" and shook my hand. Oh boy, the first thing I did when I got to school was wash my hands. He then considered me a friend and went on and on about how he couldn't afford the 30 Euros a day of something and how he was homeless. I had a hard time understanding him, but I do know that hookers have to pay 30 Euro a day in taxes--is that what he meant? I was forced to ignore him, because what could I reply? And when he got off, which was quite a spectacle in itself, he broke his smoothie bottle against the door and barely made it out before he was caught in the door. The poor fellow, I said a little prayer for him. I'm not sure if he was hopped on anything. He may have just been crazy.

Welcome to Berlin.

Oh yeah, there's also a weird fellow with a huge beard who walks around my neighborhood pushing some sort of wagon with maybe a monkey on it and yelling things with a microphone. This one might as well be from Cambridge.

Also, in other potentially funny news, a student wrote in his gerund* homework: "I enjoy spending time with my girlfriend for children." What do you think that means??? Oh yeah, and lest you think (because I did) that my students are innocent little beings, I spied some in the back courtyard really getting it on. Always a pleasure. I am sure their Turkish parents would be oh-so-happy to know what their children are up to.

*After a month of going over the gerund, I am quite sick of listening (HA!) to students make repeated mistakes, z.B. "I am good at to play football" or "I am good at to playing football." Which is less egregious?

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