Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ban borders!

I walked up to the Passkontrolle.

'Guten Abend' I said to the man behind the counter as I handed over my passport.

'Guten Abend' he replied, looking at me with the special immigration officer stare.

'Frau Steel?' he asked, glancing at my passport and swiping it thorugh his machine.

'Ja,' I confirmed, hoping this wasn't going to turn into a lengthy interview, as my German is weak now, to say the least. I was ok though, he switched languages.

'You are English?' he said, incredulously.

'Yes' I smiled.

'But you are coming from Poland?' he asked, giving me another hard stare.

I fought the urge to correct his grammar, and protested 'I live there!' a little louder than I'd intended.

He smiled at me. 'Almost not possible!' he pronounced. He glanced at my passport again, presumably noticing its place of issue as Dusseldorf.

'Ah, Sie sprechen auch Deutsch'

My heart sank. Why was this taking so long? 'Ein bisschen' I confessed.

'Schoen Abend noch' he said with another smile and I took my my returned passport with relief.

He must just have been bored.

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Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

Re: You are coming from Poland.

How is that a grammar mistake? Come from can be used both in the static sense and the dynamic one, no? When the Coneheads say "We come from France," they're talking about their nationality. When giving someone directions and you want to know which streets will be to the left and which ones will be to the right, "Where are you coming from?" is a perfectly acceptable question.

Of course, if this happened when you were going back to Poland from Germany, then it was clearly a mistake. Egregious at that.

4:03 pm  
Blogger Gustav said...

"Almost not possible!"

Border guards are the scum of the Earth.

11:27 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

Awww Aaron, you're just upset I called you King of Bad Humour. :-) You could well be right, but it's not something a native speaker would say and I wanted to tip the balance against his authority...

11:17 am  

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