Dear Harlequin fans, I confess, over the summer I neglected my educational mission and did not publish any “stories that life writes” for our blog. This will change again instantly, laughter provoked by bizarre stories helps best to banish winter blues and pandemical tin-foil theories.
The German title of this article is based on the Stern magazine column “News from Kalau”, which specializes in excruciating puns; no doubt the cartoonist would also think of a suitable cartoon for the following story. In short, the following story is about foreigners in strange places, weird streets and an irritable taxi driver.
The story begins with Pawel in Wiesbaden, with whom I have been friends for more than 25 years now. In the late 90s, he was visited by two friends from his native Poland who wanted to help him constructively during their “holiday”. As they did not speak German, they spent all their free time together with Pawel locally. They travelled to his building sites together, shared a beer in the evening, went fishing and barbecued sausages together.
They also wanted to have a look at Frankfurt, but my friend Pawel couldn’t get excited about a tour to/through Frankfurt am Main; after all, you can buy anything your heart desires on the Rhine in Wiesbaden. One day, however, the longing of the two Poles to see the great metropolis of Frankfurt finally became so irresistable they decided to visit the big city on their own. Pawel stood by amicably, made suggestions for the journey and gave sight-seeing tips. Just before they left, there was one more pragmatic recommendation.
Pawel: “As soon as you arrive and park the car, go to the next street corner and write down the street name. If you then get lost or can’t find the location, go to a taxi driver, show him the note and let him take you there.”
So far so good, the two set off and certainly had fun in the Bright Lights. Around 2 in the morning, however, Pawel’s phone goes off: it’s his good old friend Oleg. Oleg is in Frankfurt with a taxi driver who refuses to take him to the place on the note. Oleg is desperate and asks his friend Pawel to talk to the taxi driver in German to set things straight. Pawel gets the taxi driver on the phone:
Pavel: “Good evening, why don’t you want to drive my friends? Do you have something against Poles? They have money and they pay too.”
Taxi driver: “No, I have nothing against Poles, but I can’t drive them – not where it says on the note.”
Pawel: “Why – what does the note say?”
Taxi driver: “One-way street!!!” (Einbahnstrasse)
Anyone who thinks that something like this can’t happen to them is seriously mistaken. At the latest, it could happen to anyone on a holiday in an Asian country. In Beijing, even taking the underground becomes an adventure holiday; all the station names are written in Chinese characters and you won’t get far there with English.
Original text: UTO
English translation: BCO