It started when I was biking down my street towards Kowalski’s, and I passed a young girl, maybe 10 years old, jogging on the sidewalk towards me. I glanced at her but didn’t recognize her, so I looked away, but she lifted her hand and waved to me and gave me a big smile. “Whose kid is that?” I thought to myself, but realized I did not know her at all; she was just being friendly. I think I returned the wave from my bike but resisted it; didn’t your mother teach you not to engage strangers?, I wondered. She was overly friendly, perhaps, but then I’ve come to expect that based on my recent dog walks in the neighborhood—my god, we’re a smiley people! Smiling at perfect strangers, exchanging “Good morning!” greetings as if we’d been friends for years, or making offhand comments as we pass, often to the effect of “What a beautiful dog!” or “Gorgeous day, isn’t it?” Continue reading
Last week I walked to the Aldi store in our neighborhood, filled my cart with the things we needed, which all turned out to be liquid and heavy. A six-pack of sparkling water 1.5-liter bottles. Flat water for C, who thinks the tap water tastes funny (it doesn’t, but try telling that to my daughter). A liter of milk. You get the idea.
I bring my cart to the checkout, where I know from past experience there will be no English, and that’s fine—I see the total on the register, I pay. Alles ist gut, ja? But nee, ist nicht so gut.
There’s a conveyor belt just like at every other store you’ve ever been to, but there’s no room at the end for your items to pile up until someone bags them. That someone is you, by the way; where do you think you are, Kowalski’s?