... that my life consists of train rides and incidents and even if I had not planned to come up with another story so soon again, I just can't help it.
You remember the sign on my forehead, right? "Talk to me. Ask me. I'm the expert. And nice. I'll help you and I'll understand."
But this time I didn't understand. I wanted to, but I don't speak Italian. Well, I can say scusi and trente and pizza, pasta, Napoli and Roma, grazie and molto bene, but that didn't help in this case.
And it all happened because my train was delayed and it was cold outside.
As I was too early anyway and much too early now with the delay, I went back into the station where about one million other people were waiting as well (Did you know I'm (in)famous for exaggerating with numbers? If not, now you know.). And of all these people he picked me. For my charming self, for my great looks, for standing right beside him, who will ever know? ;-)
"He" was a young man with some papers in his hand and "he" was asking me in half English, half German (? not sure about that part) if I spoke Italian. At least that was what I understood. So I told him in English that I didn't. He didn't understand. He kept asking me in this strange mix, I kept telling him I didn't. That didn't hold him back from showing me the papers. One was a reservation for a train seat and (I think) he wanted to know what it meant that it said "64 Mitte". I told him that was the number for a middle seat in a compartment. He seemed to think it was the platform number where the train left. Finally he showed me his ticket.
Oh no!! He was in the wrong town!! He wanted to travel to Italy, had had to change the train on the way and had gotten off in the wrong town! I went to check the timetable on the wall and got the next shock. There was no way he could go from here! Now how to explain that he had to go back first and take a train from there? We did a lot of stammering, holding up fingers for numbers, looking at each other helplessly. I told him by gesturing that I'd go to the service point to ask and he gestured back he'd already been there.
The clerk gave me a slightly strange look when I said an Italian not understanding German needed help. I turned around and the Italian not understanding German hadn't followed me to the service point. Oh well, he wouldn't have been of any help anyway.
She told me he needed to go back and take a train from there. I said I knew that, but if she would be so kind to print out exact directions which she did then. Of course it now was much too late for taking the train he had reserved for.
When I came back, he came up to me looking hopeful. I gave him the printout, showed him what platform and then I failed. I should have taken him to the machine myself to get him a ticket for the way and I can only hope he made it without getting into trouble with a conductor.
Granted, I was in a little hurry myself by now, but for me the next train would have been fine, for him it made a big difference. I just didn't think of it at the moment. Is it an excuse I was not really awake yet? An explanation maybe, but no excuse *sigh*
In the end he shook my hand almost solemnly, smiled at me and said "Thanks".
Another train story without an ending, sorry. I really hope he made it, no, makes it, it's a long ride and he won't be there yet.
Maybe I should take a course for important train-connected words in different languages .....