Friday, June 28, 2013

Today at the train station...

Part of commuting regularly by public transportation is seeing the same people along your route nearly every day. I wait for my train with Black-Haired Bouffant Businesswoman and Perpetually Scared-Looking Woman with Bangs. On Fridays (when I go in an hour later) I am forced to share the platform with Sporty Green-Headphoned Smoking Woman. When it's raining she sits inside the shelter and smokes me out like an exterminator does pests; I always consider asking if she's seen the rather prominent no smoking signs. I think I picked up a healthy dose of Britishness while in England and have never done so.

I also see the same train conductors and one doesn't bother asking for my ticket anymore. That's a fun little perk, especially on the day after my monthlong pass expired and I forgot to buy a new one.

These people may be my commuting regulars, but sometimes the train station serves up a heaping dose of weirdness as well. Today I caught the later train home from work and so had to go all the way to the central train station rather than my usual stop. First I met two middle-aged men with very long beards that were braided from chin to somewhere near their navels. Then, while walking through the entrance hall, I came upon a group of ten or so young men all wearing hot pink cheetah-print bathrobes and drinking beer at the the little restaurant/bar. Alas, I couldn't figure out how to take a picture furtively. On reflection, perhaps they wouldn't have minded if I wasn't furtive, as they definitely weren't.

In addition to meeting several odd people, today marked my last official commute and my last official day of work. Through a quirk of my program, I cannot work anymore even though the school year doesn't end until next week Friday. In typically German bureaucratic style, I am in fact forbidden from working because I'm no longer insured by the state and if something were to happen, the school would have to pay for it. So today was something of an emotional day, saying a series of goodbyes and wishing my classes well. Thankfully we have a staff barbeque next week Thursday where I'll make my official goodbyes to my colleagues, meaning that I can have my emotions in two small doses instead of one overwhelming day.

My favorite part of today was the student who informed me that I am "much better than a dictionary" and I may make business cards to say just that.

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