Saturday, July 11, 2009

How are U?

Why are people "U"-ing me? I'm cool. I'm young. I work in a coffeeshop. People like me don't get "u"-ed.

The problem is, all these adorable little teenagers and oollege kids (am I THAT much older than they are?) come into the shop and I say "Hej. Alles goed?" And they invariably answer "Ja. En met (pause)...U?" Like they doubt it a little. Like, "is she an 'U'?"

Once you've entered the twijfel zone, you really are never getting any younger.

What is really funny is that I run into regular customers all the time. They always look at me so sheepishly, too. I guess it's like seeing your grade-school teacher at the supermarket and realizing for the first time that she exists outside the classroom and buys Cap'n Crunch.

The other day at city hall, I saw THREE regular customers. That's pretty high density for 3 p.m. on a Thursday.

This is what they do:

Look at me like "Hey, it's that lady! Oh no, does she recognize me? She does! (Smile sheepishly) I hope she doesn't call me out and say "Hey, aren't you the kid who always buys three Amnesia joints and a 10-bag of White Widow?" O.K. be cool. She won't call mom. Or will she? She's an 'U' just like my mother! No, it's probably ok...

Then finally... "Hi!"

But I know they're thinking: "What are 'U' doing here?"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Personal Space

So, if you go into an almost-empty restaurant with one occupied table, where do you sit?

If you're American, you sit at the table farthest from the occupied table. If you are Dutch, you sit RIGHT NEXT TO IT.

WTF? Stay away!

I've asked Dutch people about this phenomenon, and they all say the same thing - it's for the gezelligheid.

I don't find it gezelling to have strange (Dutch) people listening to my conversations and bumping me with their asses whenever they move their chairs. Am I alone here? They want to sit next to you, but not make small talk. It's the omgekeerd wereld. Dutch people like closeness, but don't like chatting.

No one in Holland EVER talks to strangers in a chit-chatty way with ONE notable exception: doctors' waiting rooms. You walk in and shout "Good morning, everyone!" and take a seat.

Now, in America, this is like, the ONE time we don't want to talk to strangers. We have a privacy thing when it comes to medical visits, so don't expect us to talk there.

And keep your germs to yourself and go sit on the other side of the waiting room, while you're at it...