Friday, 23 September 2011

The German Girl

Michael, Alex and I have just walked back into the pub that we had only just left 30 seconds earlier. We have just recieved notice from Becky that she and a couple of her friends were on their way to the pub that we had just walked out of. So, as I said, we headed straight back in.

We had been on a pub crawl starting in Berrylands, passing through the Coronation Hall in Surbiton and then we found our way to the King's Tun in Kingston. We had a great booth in the pub and had just dusted off a jug of Blue Lagoon and Cheeky V between us, yet by the time we walked back in there was suddenly limited seating and we had to settle for a window table. A very cramped window table, in fact.

Eventually, Becky, Tina and a German friend of Becky's called Sophia joined us. Tina had to leave almost straight away, so we were soon down to the five of us. Suddenly, I was left with Sophia. Becky and Alex had gone to the bar, whilst Michael decided that now was an appropriate time to go to the loo. I decided to put Sophia at ease with a fantastic conversation starter, "Don't worry, I won't make any jokes about the war". On reflection, that doesn't seem to be the best line I could have opened with.

I then went through the usual pleasentries you exchange with a new person. I found out she was from Cologne, I still think that is a strange name for a city. Well, at least it must smell nice. I discovered she knew Becky threw a relation to her knowing Becky's mum. She was on a gap year before starting University. I learnt that she liked Angela Merkel. I even had a brief conversation on German football, detailing all from Lukas Podolski to Borrusia Dortmund.

Michael soon returned and after he and Sophia ran through a pretty similar conversation we had just had. The fool. Sophia must have felt he was a mere copy of myself and that he took all his conversational wizardry from myself. I then managed to make my next blunder though.

"So, was the ball over the line then in the World Cup final?" Why had I just asked this. It is well known that the Germans are still sore over that goal. She responded by saying that "Yeah, I don't think the ball was over the line". I then went to Michael for his thoughts on this historical classic, yet I'm not sure he quite knew what goal we were talking about though in his English pride, he felt that the ball was over the line.

I decided it was probably best to quieten down a bit. Yet, I ignored the rational part of my brain and decided to try and speak German. Now, I studied German all the way from Year 7 to Year 11 at school and I was good at it. Very good, in fact. I gained an A Grade at GCSE level. Quite the achievement I'll have you know. It's been a long time, however, since I last had a conversation in German and I was unsuprisingly terrible. Sophia must have thought I was mocking her even more. This really was going badly.

The table conversation soon moved onto music after Michael brought up the fact that I had asked Sophia whether they have "Western music in Germany?" Everyone laughed. I cringed. Why had I said that? I then remembered the quite terrible band I had listened to in a German lesson many moons ago. They are called Wir Sind Helden and I spoke in such depth about them that I get the feeling I may have come across as Wir Sind Helden's number one fanboy.

Soon Michael corrected my grammar. This brought out an almost instinctive reaction in me that I really shouldn't have said. "Grammar Nazi!" I fired back at Michael. Oh God. I just said the N-word in front of a German person. Had she heard? Well, I didn't exactly matter as I was cringing. Then I managed to make things worse. Much worse.

Now, the day before, a friend of ours did a Nazi salute in a pub. I don't think he quite understood what he was doing and he was most certainly joking. I know for a fact that he is joking because I have not seen an ounce of Nazi paraphernalia in his house. However, I seemed to think that Sophia would see this a witty, hilarious anecdote that she would tell all her friends back in Germany. She seemed shocked. I'm pretty sure I even heard gasps around the table. She uttered back, in a broken tone, "Oh...OK..."

She soon went home when we left the pub for another venue and Alex told me that I had come across as a Nazi sympathiser. I would like to stress that I am not though. I have quite a dislike for what they did and stood for. Plus, Hitler isn't exactly my favourite historical figure.

The next day after completing the pub quiz, we all went to McDonalds to get some food. Becky, Sophia and Alex remained in the car whilst Michael and I went instore to order. As we only had an order from Becky for a cheeseburger, I decided to pick up a few. I hastily paid. We offered Sophia a cheeseburger and she accepted. She went to get her £1 to reimburse my slightly worse off wallet, however, I declined her pound and told her "Don't worry" about paying.

Hopefully that cheeseburger will have slightly improved Anglo-Germanic relations.

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