Betwixt gorging myself on Dexter episodes and discovering that omelets are actually pretty easy to make, even for those culinarily challenged, it seems I have become a slacker (in the way of writing). There are verifiable and concrete reasons for this (new-found? no, probably not) slacker status, however, so don’t be too hard on me.
But anyways, without delving into those reasons–you’ll just have to trust me–there was something that happened in January that I’ve been meaning to write about for awhile…a simple incident of a day made better by someone’s innate kindness. Unfortunately, it was my day that was way crappy but thankfully, through cosmic intervention or something, I crossed paths with someone who bestowed upon me free hot chocolate and other goodies thus rerouting the entire direction of my day.
To make an unnecessarily long and complicated story short, my flight from America to Dresden included 4 different planes. The last one was supposed to fly from Frankfurt to Dresden and land me back in my modest and somewhat lonely dorm room around 10 am or so. Because of the terrible timing of a snowstorm, my flight from Frankfurt was canceled–important to note here, though, is that NO ONE TOLD ME. I sat sitting around the airport like a moron waiting for my flight until I got the idea 15 minutes before we were supposed to take off to, oh, I don’t know, ask why the monitors said nothing about my flight. Then and only then did I find out that the plane was permanently grounded until further notice. JIGGA WHAT!?
Morgan was unhappy and on the verge of tears (that’s just what happens after a million hour long stressful travel day ending with a canceled flight). After finally retrieving a piece of good information from the troll behind the counter, I raced all over the airport, without my luggage because it was still on my loser, grounded plane, trying to find the train station that was somewhere underground. I could take a train from Frankfurt to Dresden..AWESOME! It was just gonna take 5 hours. Eh…not so awesome.
After finally finding the god-forsaken train, I sat down and promptly put on my headphones to try and slip into a coma so I wouldn’t have to think anymore. A few minutes after the train left, a man tapped on my shoulder…he was older, wearing a blue suit and matching hat, and although my mind probably invented this last detail just because it would’ve been perfect and adorable, little white gloves. It was the ticket controller and he was asking for my ticket, a routine procedure. I removed my headphones, pulled out my ticket, handed it to him and on impulse, decided to tell him that my name is Morgan. (“Wie ‘Guten Morgen’!” Translation: “As in, Good Morning!”…My name means ‘morning’ in German and it makes for a wonderful way of having people remember my name.)
You know how with some people you can just tell if you’ll get along? That’s how it was with this older gentleman…even though I was in a foul mood, his light-hearted manner put me immediately at ease and I just felt compelled to tell him my name because I was almost certain he’d get a kick out of it, which he did.
(Note: the following conversation was in German…well, broken German on my part, but I don’t feel like translating to and from German, so I’ll just write it in English.)
“O0o0ohh, Morgan, eh? That’s a beautiful name. I’ll call you Princess Morgan.” He was adorable, like a grandpa.
“Yes, you can do that! I like that name. I wish more people were like you.” This sentence took me awhile to say…silly pronouns and adjective endings and shiz.
“Hmm, so Princess Morgan, you can’t be from around here…where, then?” At this question, I was relieved…I relay this answer so often I can say it very smoothly.
“Ah yes, my bad accent and poor German gave it away…I’m from the USA, but I’m here to work and to learn German!” At this, he seemed pleased and sat in the seat across the aisle from me so that we could talk more comfortably.
“Well, you’re doing better than most! Your German is not bad, you just need to practice…what’s that you’re reading there?” He saw the book of German short-stories peeking out of my bag.
“Eh, just trying to practice…” He seemed super pleased when I said this and quickly asserted that he would be right back..he had to go get something really quickly. I chuckled and was sort of confused about what made him jump up and scatter so quickly…but I just stared outside at the beautiful German countryside and felt my stress from earlier going away.
He came back about five minutes later with a small book…a book he would later describe to me as his project over the years. He was a poet! And a short story writer! And he wanted me to have a copy of his book so that I could better my German. His poems and stories were all about his job as a ticket checker and the unique experiences that he’s had (including, but not limited to, walking in on a couple doin it, some drunk rowdies, a few jerks, and even some nice people sprinkled here and there)–seeing that he was so happy with his life and his job made me grin…even though I can’t see myself wearing a blue suit, a matching hat, and checking train tickets for a living, I do want to be like this man when I grow up. He was so satisfied with his life and he made that clear in everything that he did. Way jealous…and inspired.
He (obviously) didn’t know that my birthday was only two days later and when I told him, he was positively tickled and promptly presented me with a piece of paper…good for one hot chocolate on the house! This man was slowly making this one of the best, most memorable days I’ve had in Germany.
We sat and talked for awhile about his life and mine but he eventually had to return to his work. I was content to sit with my hot chocolate and new book so he said he’d be back later and for me to enjoy myself in the meantime. If I needed anything, he insisted, I was to report to him immediately. As fate would have it, though, gravity began affecting my eyelids and the rythmic passing of snow-covered wooden fence posts outside the window coaxed me into a pretty sound sleep.
When I awoke three hours later, we were already on the outskirts of Dresden…and on my pull-down tray sat a new, fresh hot chocolate and a blanket lay on top of me to keep me warm. My new friend was looking out for me and even though it sounds really dumb, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. He had single-handedly made my day AWESOME!
Before we arrived at the Dresden train station, he came through my car again just to say hello and to make sure I was awake. We talked some more and I told him about my blog and paintings and he gave me his card with his email address. I still have that card, the book, and this really cool light up pen that he gave me…I smile a little bit every time I see them.
As I stepped off the train in Dresden I was a little sad that our time was over but overall, I was happy to have met someone like him. He was contagiously happy, optimistic, and just generally brought the best out in people. If I could learn his secret one day…well, that’d just be swell. I’m not sure if he’ll ever read this (he confessed that his English wasn’t so good), but I do think I should try and contact him again. Oh, and if any of you would like a book of German poems, he said that he would love to send some to peeps in America! So uh, I can hook that up.
OH YEAH! His name was Joachim Hille…so maybe if you google search him, you can find his short stories and poems online. Not sure, but maybe it’s worth a shot?
Update: Just found his website at http://www.oyla11.de/cgi-bin/designs/buero_rot/index.cgi?page=index&id=&userid=11265733&starteintrag= …so check it out!