Friday, August 7, 2009

Riding "high"

On most trains you can sit wherever you please, as long as that seat is part of the ticket class you paid for. However, on the high speed trains you are required to make a reservation which, in turn, assigns you to a specific seat. My trip into Frankfurt was assigned seating.

On Saturday morning when I entered the train I was delightfully surprised to find I had a window seat with a table. I was even happier to see that I would have all 4 seats (which included the one next to me and the two on the other side of the table) to myself for the first few stops, since the arrival locations of my seat partners were indicated next to the seat numbers. I set down my purse on the seat next to mine, took off my sandals and put my feet up on the seat across from me, pulled out my breakfast and a book and set it on the table. I was all set for a relaxing start to my 4 hour train ride.

Five minutes after the train started a guy walked in from the adjoining car, walked down the aisle and decided to sit down next to the seat my feet were occupying. I grudgingly removed my feet from the seat out of respect, right before he initiated a conversation which was as follows:

Guy [speaking quite loud] : "Mag ik je iets vragen?" ("Can I ask you something?")

*Note: he has severely blood shot eyes.*

Me: "Ja, in het Engels..." ("Yes, in English...") -- being immediately cut off.
Guy [speaking quite loud] : "AH! You're English! I'm from the UK, where are you from?"

*Note #2: he doesn't have a British accent*

Me: "America"
Guy [speaking quite loud] : "Oh yeah? Where from?"
Me: "All over."
Guy [speaking quite loud] : "Yeah, but where?"
Me: -- Oh, geez. How long is this going to go on. Maybe if I pretend I'm reading he'll get the hint. "Really... all over."
Guy [speaking quite loud] : "Cool. I'm from here in Holland."
Me [picking up my book] : "Mmm..."
Guy [speaking quite loud] : "So, where in America are you from?"
Me [opening my book] : "California" (just to satisfy his insatiable determination)
Guy [speaking quite loud] : "That's great. I've been to California."
Me [pretending to read] : "Nice."
Guy [speaking quite loud] : "I'm also from Africa."
Me [still pretending to read] : "Cool,... um, I'm just going to read now."
Guy [speaking quite loud] : "So can I give you a present?"
Me [not looking up from my book] : "No, that's ok."
Guy [speaking quite loud] : "Here, " as he hands me a handkerchief "it has the British flag on it."
Me [momentarily looking up] : "No thank you, I appreciate that, but no."

*I hand the "present" back to him*

Guy[speaking quite loud] : "Do you speak Dutch?"
Me [eyes glued to my book]: "No" (lying in hopes that the conversation ends)
Guy [speaking quite loud] : "Would you like me to teach you?"
Me: "No, and really, I think I'm just going to read now."

-- a few moments pass--

Guy [speaking quite loud - pointing to the headphones of my ipod] : "Didn't your mom ever teach you to take those things out when talking to people?"
Me: "um, no... and really," as I point to the book in my hand "I'm just going to read."

-- a few more moments pass --

Guy [speaking quite loud] : "So have you ever smoked weed?"


Meredith said...

holy cow... can't he take a hint!!

DannyRK said...

and that, in a nutshell, is why i'm desperate to move to Holland. tremendous, claire.

Kristi said...

I would smoke weed if I could carry on a conversation like that! ;) That is too funny! I love reading about all your adventures and encounters in Europe--keep them coming!

kelley said...

Didn't his mother ever teach him to only talk to someone if they are interested in talking back? And if you're smoking weed, you will be less likely to decipher this interest, so don't smoke weed?

Jenny and Jake said...

You did great trying to end the conversation. What a crazy guy:)