North American adventures of an unsuspecting German traveler

After reading @kristifuoco’s new article I felt a sudden urge to share a few experiences with the vast audience of this Randgruppenblog.

I remember a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Denver. United had just started cooperating with Lufthansa and the people at the gate where not quite sure what to do with a Lufthansa Senator card holder, so they took no risk and upgraded me to first class. Very fine people indeed. Sitting snugly in my seat of enormous proportions I realised that I hadn’t finished my Hamburger Abendblatt (our local paper), so I took it out of my carry-on bag (then still a sizeable piece of luggage, oh those golden years) and started reading.

Shortly before take-off a loud “thud” caught my attention. The empty seat next me was now occupied by a man, who looked as if he had just run a marathon. He literally collapsed into his seat and it took him at least 10 minutes to regain his breath. He held out his hand to me. “David Simmons” (I made this name up, privacy means a lot to us Germans). I introduced myself, as always a little taken aback because that simply won’t happen on a flight in Germany. Your fellow traveler would -on a very fine day- mumble something like “Nabend” and then keep for himself for the rest of the flight. Maybe we all are a little autistic, who knows, smalltalk definitely is not a German invention.

That nice man next to me, “call me Dave”, tried frantically to clean his steamed up glasses. Seemingly out of the blue he asked me “You working in the food industry, too?”. I must have looked rather stupid, because he now pointed at my newspaper. It took me a few minutes to convince him that a “Hamburger” is not always what you expect it to be. After that we had a very nice chat and I learned things about processed food that I’d rather not known about. Just because something looks like cheese, smells like chees and feels like cheese does not necessarily mean that milk played any role in its making.

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