I can’t quite explain this, and I haven’t exactly taken off my jacket and looked at the back to see if there was a sign there that said, “Ask this guy, he might know!”, but in the last couple days, I’ve been asked on three different occasions for some sort of help. Now, by this I don’t mean the beggars, including the guy this morning at 6:30 who thought he’d try and put the bit on me for some spare change. Seriously? It’s six-thirty! I’m just out to wander down to the parking garage with Travelling Companion and then pick up one of the free newspapers available on the corner. I don’t even want to talk to anyone, let alone fend off a total stranger or try and explain how I’m not about to add him to the list of those whom I ‘support’.
And no, I’m never that mean, unless they’re foolish enough to push their luck. Just the same, I’m not one for hand-outs either.
No, I’m talking about directional help. This I can do. Well mostly.
Part of it depends on how far off I am in la-la land as I’m booking it down the street, and whether or not I can understand what’s being said. I find I do a certain amount of lip reading in English, so it takes me a second or two to tune my ear trumpet to whatever someone is asking me in German. That’s just the way it is. The comprehension or lack thereof, doesn’t have as much to do with language abilities, as with my ability to actually hear. The tinnitus doesn’t help.
So, there have been questions about store locations and streets, that kind of thing. I can pass those tests with relative ease. Then this morning, a guy standing next to me at an intersection asked about where the bus stop was for the “13a”. So what now? I have to study the transit maps too? I’m not even sure how it was possible, but the answer to that one popped into my head after a brief “deer in the headlights” moment. And no, I don’t study maps, at least not any more than what is needed to explain to guests where they can find places like the Naschmarkt, or how to get around in the first district.
This afternoon though, I finally struck out. Again, standing at the light (there MUST BE a sign on my back) and a young lady asks for some “Institute” or other. She named it, I don’t recall. I had nary a clue. It did sound familiar, and I tend to think it’s the vocational school over on Apollogaße, but I didn’t think it would be quite appropriate to follow her up the street to see if that was the case or not. I’m sure she asked someone who had more of a clue than me. But really, there were at that point literally hundreds of people on the street. Why me?
I do realise that I can make toddlers smile just by looking at them, and I think it’s the moustache, or maybe because to a two year old I look goofy, (don’t go there!) but I don’t understand the whole deal where I get picked out of a crowd of hundreds to be asked for directions.
I mean, I sure don’t mind. Anyone asking for help is always on their best behaviour, and I’ve “been there and done that” when it comes to wandering around looking for an address, especially when it comes to any European city. It’s never easy. Street names are on the sides of buildings, (if you’re lucky) since sign posts are as rare as hens teeth, and good luck finding a number. That is all. There is no “trick” to it.
Curiously enough, I’ve walked by this place a few times without really giving it a second look. So thankfully nobody is too interested to ask about this one.
It took another brief “deer in the headlights” moment to realise that it’s the local equivalent of a “Re-use Centre”. I didn’t bother taking any pictures inside. Anyone in the Western world, where we have way too much “stuff”, knows what everyone’s cast offs look like. A lot of it was clothing, and you could get a really good winter jacket for about €40, as an example, and none of the items were by any mean shabby looking. I think they’re kind of picky as to what they will accept. I didn’t bother to look through the clothing racks. Didn’t care. Lots of dishes, nick-knacks and old appliances too. There was even a “Test dose” (test socket) where you could plug in whatever electrical device you were eyeing to see if it worked.
I won’t be going back. Well, unless of course if it’s to take in a couple items that we’ll be casting off when we eventually move. That might be a plan. We’ll see. Means I’d have to lug stuff down the street though. I’ll have to think about that.
It’s a dull day here in Wienerland. It keeps threatening to rain, but nothing has materialised. Perfect day for being a tourist. So thankful I’m not one of them.
Keeps those knives sharp.
Thanks for stopping in.