Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Purple Haze

So for the last six days I have been unwholesomely sick. Like the kind of unwell you can imagine cutting down hundreds of thousands of medieval Europeans. Even today, as I went back to work, I noticed: I'm still not really right.

Saturday I tried to work, and just sort of wandered around the place like a zombie for a few hours before the rest of the staff literally forcibly sent me home. I came back and fell into the bed and did not emerge from it except to urinate for nearly three days. I was dizzy, nauseous, delirious, freezing, sweaty.

How? How can I have been deathly ill now four times since September? It just doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

Or does it? Does it make sense that in what might be the filthiest city in the general, overall filthiness of Europe that a young American might fall prey to whatever comes around? I feel like a Native American, my populations being decimated by the numerous communicable diseases the Europeans have been infecting each other with for millennia.

Hopefully now that I've survived the plague, dropsy, typhoid, dyssentary, whooping cough, smallpox and tuberculosis I can focus my eyeballs long enough to keep blogging.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's a Jungle in Here

Now as a rule I don't follow politics of any kind. Have had a boycott for several years now.

But as I was waiting on a friend who never showed up (left her phone at the flat), I sat down with my super expensive (you don't want to know how expensive) electronic dictionary and settled down to read some German news. Among the tedious details of Madonna's landing in the city and heading straight for an exclusive private club (Soho House, for those in the know) and how many ways pork fat can't kill you was an actually interesting article about the Green Party Minister, who is a dirty Turk that wants to save the whales and the polar ice caps and all sorts of things people from the second-and-a-half world aren't supposed to care about.

The interviewers had the nerve to ask this guy if he would send his own child to a school full of dirty Turks, which is something the average German attempts to avoid. The claim is that a good German child learns less among dirty Turks, because the Turkish children speak German only as a second language and drag down the pace of the class. Whether there is any merit to this claim is up to the people who know how to use Google to find out. Those of us who don't just form our opinions based on prejudices, like everyone else.

Anyhow. So this Turkish Green Party dude said, yes, of course. My little girl will be entering a Kreuzberg public school in the fall. Kreuzberg public schools are the nightmares of every German parent who wants their kid to grow up and do something other than auto mechanics. The idea is that your precious snowflake will never make it to university if it has to share finger paints with the children of immigrants.

Besides the fact that it would not fit with his politics not to do so, this guy really couldn't go around not sending his kid to a school full of Turkish kids, so, while the headline was all big and obnoxious, like, "KNOWN TURK SENDS HALF-TURKISH CHILD TO TURKISH SCHOOL. SCANDAL?" I was like, "um, of course."

It reminded me, however, of the public school teachers we had who sent their kids to private school. Like, it's good enough for you to come here and earn your paycheck, but not good enough to send your own kids to? I never understood how these teachers could think that they were tough enough to brave the jungle that is public school but that their kids could not hack it.

What kind of message does that send to their own students? To their co-workers who were educated and educate their own children in the public school system?

I have yet to meet a private school kid who was significantly smarter than a public school kid anyway, or one that used his extracurricular time better. Without school-sponsored team sports all a private school kid has to do is steal his parents car and use to do drugs during school hours (like a good friend of mine did whose mother taught at our school).

Usually I attempt to lend a moral to the story but there is none today. Sending your kids to public school will not only not kill them but it is also not news. I wonder if it's too late to get my 75 cents back for the paper.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Today I did something weird

You're not going to believe me, but yesterday, I completely forgot to use the internet.

I'm serious. Well, partially. At first, it was kind of intentional. I'm starting to realize that I spend far, far too much time on the interwebs, and so I've been trying to cut back from the top down. Like a smoker who waits until after lunch for his first cigarette, I'm trying to just get through breakfast without turning on the computer.

So it went quite well yesterday, pushing through breakfast while reading an actual book written on actual paper and staring at my husband out of the corner of my eye.

Then, as it was my Sunday, I took a wee nap, had a cup of coffee, contemplated laundry, decided against it, and read some more in my book.

But wait. Halfway through my day off, and something is missing. Should I go for a walk? Should I do some laundry? The answer to both questions is yes but I did neither. Instead I went out to eat some lunch.

Came back, farted around some more, still didn't know exactly what was missing. There are plenty of days when I don't do much but fart around and go out to lunch and not do laundry but they all feel like RED LETTER DAYS because of the FUCKING EXCITEMENT the internet provides me.

But I forgot.

I almost forgot today, but my book started to freak me out and I didn't feel like watching TV.

Let's see if I don't forget the internet tomorrow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I want YOU to stop being such a dick

When I see really, truly nosy people, I'm always surprised when they don't come from one of those places where everybody is nosy, like China or Turkey or the Amazon or something, when they're not ex-villagers or tribesmen accustomed to seeing everybody naked, knowing what everybody's shit smells like and when every woman has her period and commenting openly on the minutest details of other people's lives then giving them unsolicited advice. Or are older than the age of 10. No one is bothered by a staring child or a meddling Vietnamese neighbor, but in good Protestant nations it is the norm to only stick your nose in a stranger's business until you've been caught, at which time you whistle innocently and slyly wait for your next opportunity to look over their shoulder without being observed doing so.

I'm also surprised every time an asshole tells me I should not allow myself to be bothered by his assholiness. Like, really dude? That's all ya got? Yeah you're a dick but I'm the one with the problem? I guess in a way they're right: they're an asshole and they're cool with it, but also, they're an asshole and I'm not cool with it. Who's got the actual problem?

I'd love nothing more than to go on some hippie tangent about shaping your own reality and being at harmony with the world and that but honestly, more than anything in the world, more than a pony or the reversal of global warming, I wish for a day when people would just quit being dicks to the people around them. Just... stop.

How hard can it be? To take two seconds to NOT be a dick. I mean, really, it takes more effort to BE a dick than it does to not be one. At least in the provocative sense. It's easy to react like an asshole, but to be one out of the blue requires dedication. Premeditation, plan Bs. The careful construction of a social interaction, in which you turn out to be the dick. And this is your goal.

So I'm sitting here in one of my favorite Berlin bars and tapping away at the computer screen. Writing. Clearly engrossed. Could be writing anything from an email consoling someone on the untimely loss of a spouse or a terminal diagnosis (not the case) to updating my CV or writing my super vitally important thesis (also not the case) to an argument on an internet forum (the case). All of a sudden the bored dick sitting next to me decides it would be a good idea to stare unabashedly at my screen. I look at him. He looks at me and laughs. I wait for him to stop. He keeps staring, entertaining himself to no end. I partially block his vision with my right hand.

Unprompted, he advises, "You know, you really shouldn't get so excited about people reading your stuff."

(excuse me bitte schön but did I say a word to you?)

"It's my natural right sitting here to look at whatever I please in this place."

"And it's also your right to be impolite?" (that is the closest Germans have to rude. Another word they don't have which I would have loved to use is the word "nosy". Just doesn't exist. Because Germans are rude and nosy. There are no special words for it, it's just how people are. And if we believe what the linguists say about language shaping the norms of a society then we can reasonably assume that the reason so many Germans are both rude and nosy is because they have not created a word for either trait which describes it in a disparaging sense.)

"Let me give you a tip. If you sit--"

"Excuse me, YOU'RE going to give ME a tip? Haha ok bitteschön"

"Yes and here's the tip Schatz. Don't get so bent out of shape about people reading over your shoulder. You're the one with the problem. People are going to do whatever they want."

"That's the tip, is it?"

"That's the tip. I will read whatever I like and there's nothing you can do about it."

(silence. I literally have nothing to say, in either language, to this buffoon. I nod at him with a look on my face that says "you're a madman and I clearly have no constructive response to your madness you mad person you.")

The guy stares some more, and after having been startled by his intrusive, painfully conspicuous social retardation I'm no longer looking annoyed or surprised, just sitting there with my hands away from the keyboard, unwilling to type a single stroke more until he's quite finished. Finally the game gets boring even for him and he goes, "not that I even feel like reading right now anyway. I'd read it if I felt like it but it doesn't even interest me." Huff.

The main reason I get annoyed by people reading over my shoulder is because I'm nearly always reading or writing in English and people here think that they can be "impolite" and "curious" (that's the closest you get to "nosy") to you because you are just a dumb tourist and what are you going to do about it anyway? There're also a lot of people who assume that just because you're reading or writing in English that you don't speak German and this makes their game even more fun because what could be better than needling a stupid foreigner who couldn't even be bothered to learn the language of the land? They don't like it? They can go back to wherever they came from.

I don't have a detailed description of how I react to such behavior in the States because it very rarely happens with anybody other than 10-year-old Chinese children with Down's Syndrome and autism at the same time. Everybody else knows better.

But the truly baffling part came next. When he was finished harassing me, the guy turned to his buddy and continued the conversation he'd been having before. I had quite naturally assumed that because I'm sitting at the bar of a cheap, smoky communist dive and being bothered by a stranger that he was drunk and alone and therefore not responding very gracefully to being rebuffed at what could have been a simple attempt to make contact with another human being and really, what can you expect when you sit at the bar of any bar but to be chatted up by other people on their own; it's a given, to be anticipated and if you don't like it you should have sat in a dark corner by yourself somewhere, with your jacket and bag on the empty chair and all your books and newspapers and pencils and shit spread across the table so as to eliminate the possibility of any unwelcome intruders placing down a second drink. But no. He actually interrupted his own conversation to make me feel uncomfortable and give me a "tip". And to call me "Schatz" (literally translated, "treasure", when spoken by a man to a strange woman takes on the equivalent of a bitchy, queeny gay man condescendingly calling you "sweetie" or "honey". Which was surprising because while the guy himself could have been gay I would never have pegged his companion as so and I didn't get the memo that straight guys were hanging solo with gay guys in dirty smoky communist bars these days. Maybe they were brothers. Adopted.)

So now, this guy has so little sense in his stupid pointy head, that half an hour later, he decides to try his game again. This time, I'm reading and not writing, so I just let him point his stupid face at my screen and read away to his heart's content, knowing that the reason he is being such a stupid cunt about it all is because he can't read a word of it anyway. He tries to get a reaction out of me, stretching out his stupid neck and looking at me and laughing, then trying the whole sad action again, and failing to get a reaction.

Seems if he'd really expected me to take his valuable tip to heart he'd have not bothered trying to get his jollies from attempting to rile me up. I mean Lord only knows that it makes all logical sense, accosting people minding their own business at the bar and then accusing them of reacting poorly and THEN having the nerve to give them tips on how to deal with bastards like yourself.

One of my favorite things to say to nosy people is, "I'm here minding my own business, just like you ought to be doing." Didn't have the words for that in German. Must apply myself to finding a suitable translation. Not that it would probably do any good, nosy bastards, the lot of 'em.

Douche. Bag! Get a life, loser, and seriously, why you gotta be such a dick? Life could be so much easier for all of us.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A series of interesting nights part three

A couple of nights later, I went to see a man about a dog. While the dog was being made ready to come with me, the man received a very interesting visitor. She needed to see him in order to get some very important vitamins that help her in her job.

I asked her what she did for a living, and she used a very vague German term with which I was not familiar which, literally translated came out to "turning on". Not as in, making someone hot, but like, turning on a light switch. I looked confused and she became exasperated, finally exploding, "Fucking! You know fucking? I fuck for a living." Oh.

She turned out to be a most fascinating person, and I stayed there for a few hours longer than I really needed to, first listening to her telling the only too predictable story of her loveless childhood, her father who never had any time for her, and the abusive boyfriend who took her virginity at a young age while her parents were not around to protect her.

I hoped and prayed that she wouldn't leave, because the only other person in the room besides the man himself was a most boring personality but it was not to be avoided, the fascinating one had to get to work and the boring one had to get to boring_the_face_off of me. One of those people who meets you for the first time and ten minutes later is trying to add you on Facebook and inviting you to Latvia in the spring. She did both.

Finally I extracted myself from the den of darkness and went to pick up my friend so we could go to a very famous club here in Berlin. We (ok I) got a bit messy before leaving the house and wound up at the place around 4.30 Sunday morning, right when the party was just getting underway.

Techno is not really my thing even on the best of days, but in certain altered states it can be fun enough, so, bearing that and that we'd be on the guest list in mind, we tromped in among the fashionable, the very gay, and the very wasted. Naturally as time went by the people got more and more wasted. But not in a way you would expect, even from a club like that. You might expect people to get drunk, to do some coke, to pop a couple of pills. But at a certain time of the night/morning, the crowd became so sickeningly inebriated that I felt actually ill when looking at them. It says something, when you can walk into a unisex bathroom with three inches of standing water on the ground and seatless steel toilets literally heaped with shit-smeared toilet paper and twelve-hour-old piss and vomit and whatever else, and be more put off by the people waiting to use them. I don't know what they were on. But they should never do it again.

Around 9.30 the 'Stoph calls to ask if I will be attending lunch at his parents' house, which I stupidly agreed to. Besides the normal cringe-inducing moments at the in-laws, we had to endure having the talk about what would happen when his mother was no longer able to take care of us, with the implicit suggestion made that we would all live together. The woman is 59 and I'm still trying to get the world in focus after 34 hours awake and thirteen hours of partying.

Now is not the time.

But I survived, and now I am finished writing about the sordid details of my trashy nightlife... for now.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A string of interesting nights part two

Strangely enough I find myself drawn to so-called "meat-market" bars before I am told that they market themselves as such. Some of the coolest clubs and bars I've ever been to have been renowned for being hotbeds of smooth lines, hard drinks, and non-lethal venereal disease.

Wow that was SUPER corny I should write romance novels.

Moving on.

Somehow in passing I'd gleaned the information that Kaffee Burger is where sleazeballs go to pick up but I really never thought any of that would apply to me. I mean, I'm the girl who shows up in a tank top and combat boots, with a mini-skirt and a shaved head. I don't look like the kind you pick up in a bar, I look like a borderline homosexual who will kick your ass if you get too near. So I never really worry about dirtballs trying to get me in bed, although they do, time and again.

The music at the Burger wasn't what I thought it would be, so I went into the Kaffee Bar to smoke as cigarettes are not allowed on the dance floor. No sooner do I sit down than am I joined by five young men who promptly begin discussing fancy student topics like political identity and the sustainability of the situation in the Balkans and so on. The rest of the bar has plenty of seating so I'm not sure why these guys have decided to sit with me. If they had been slick, clubbed-up frat-boy types I might have figured it out, but they were just normal, nerdy-looking, smart-sounding mid-twenties types. Eventually we are all in conversation and they invite me to hang with them that night.

I mean, how sweet can that be? Nothing like that has ever happened to me in Berlin. Back home, sure, you go out by yourself and unless you are some sort of social retard you are guaranteed to meet people. (By social retard I mean hopeless introvert, my apologies, hopeless introverts.)

So it's going cool, we're talking, then we're dancing, then we're sitting in the bar and smoking, then we're dancing, and talking. But it begins to become clear that one of the boys is starting to break away from the group to follow me around and eventually the rest of them ignore me completely.

So I ask the one, "Hey, why did he just walk right by? He completely ignored us."

The one says, "Maybe he wanted to give us some time to be alone."

See, reader, you would have gotten that right away. You wouldn't have waited to have to tell him for the fourth time that you are married or for him to tell you how much he likes your face, everything about it, even your nose, you wouldn't have waited for him to ask you how you feel about him although you only met him an hour ago, or for him to offer to take you home, or to almost cry about how all the girls he ever likes are involved with someone else. You would have gotten up right away and gone somewhere else, but I am naive and thought, these are nice smart boys who care about important things like political identity and the Balkans whatever that is. They are not the kind of boys who would strategically treat an intelligent woman like myself like a random piece of pussy, eliminating one possibility after the other so as to maximize the probability of one of them getting to stick it in. They wouldn't. I don't believe you.

After it became clear that I was not going to fuck any of them (the smartest of them came right out and asked), they all ignored me as if I did not and had never existed.

And the music still sucked, and someone on the dance floor stank.

And so I went home.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A string of interesting nights part one

In case you don't know what an expat is, it is a Latin mishmash Anglicized abbreviation for someone who leaves their home country which is as rich as, richer, or almost as rich as the country they move to, and either intends to go back in the foreseeable future, or dislikes referring to themselves as immigrants, although that is indeed what they are.

I don't really fit into either category, but as I come from the United States, I'm too bourgeouise--in a worldwide political sense, mind--to be called an immigrant, and Germans want nothing to do with me. So I hang out with other "expats" on a regular basis.

The other night, I even went to an event arranged by and catering to such people. It was my second time attending, and I'd forgotten why it had taken such a long time between the first and second visits. The second I walked through the door, I remembered. It was because the first time I went, I had sworn to myself that it would also be the last.

You know how you go to a party where you don't know anybody, but you're friends with someone who knows someone? So now you're someone who knows someone who knows someone, and as you all live in the same town, the likelihood that you will meet someone who knows someone who knows someone you know can be pretty high. You're all around the same age group and as you've all been invited by someone who knows someone, or by Someone Him-or-Herself, you're likely to have Something in Common.

Something in Common can cover a broad range of topics, from activities to opinions to preferences. You see, I can walk into any party anywhere in the world and enjoy myself, as long as the one thing that the majority--come on, even half--of the attendees have in common is Not Being a Total Douchebag.

No such luck at the expat event. The last time I had such awkward, boring time must have been some time at my in-laws place. You will think I'm exaggerating when I say I was painfully bored, but I'm not lying. It literally hurt my feelings to be that bored. I stayed for an hour--an hour!!--waiting to see if any of the hundred or so attendees of this thing would be worth staying longer for. I scanned the room hopefully, looking for signs of an interesting conversation to butt in on.

But alas, all I saw were other boring people, not seeming to mind being bored by one another. No eruptions of laughter. No intense, involved conversations. Just a bunch of people from all age ranges, from every corner of the earth, boring the socks off of one another, the only Thing in Common that they had being that they all spoke some degree of English.

As soon as I was able to extract myself from what was, admittedly, an engaging conversation from a complete lunatic (sorry Niall) I saved myself by going dancing at the skanky club down the street, which had promised to be fun that night.

To be continued...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I shoulda written it down

Well and since I entered into the blog-a-day pact with Crafty Chick I've been struggling to remember all my blog ideas. You know how insanity (or stupidity, depending on how you look at it) is supposed to be defined by doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? I'm sort of like that, a lot. Eating that second piece of PBJ bread, or chocolate after dinner. Going to sit in a bar instead of going to the gym. Making that joke in front of those people. You know you're just going to feel like a piece of shit afterwards, but you keep making the same mistake over and over again. Or well I do. On account of the stupidity, mind.

So I don't want one of those Moleskine notebooks that assholes carry around to jot down their super important thoughts because, obviously, I don't want to look like an asshole who thinks his thoughts are so important that they deserve to live in a little notebook that costs as much as the gym membership I never use. Instead of buying this fucking little notebook I should be out pumping iron and sweating like good salt of the earth people. But shit on those Moleskine assholes as I may, they're certainly remembering their thoughts.

Not like me. Yesterday I had two, yes, count em two (!!!) decent ideas for blogs that didn't involve cop-out concepts like chicken in the fussbahn and whatever I was going on about midgets yesterday. Two decent ideas, and did I do anything with em? Did I write em down? On anything? Piece of toilet paper and eyeliner? Scratched out on a receipt made from thermal paper? I even carry around a journal and several pens, pencils, erasers and sharpeners, EVERYWHERE I GO. No, listen to me, I'm serious. EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE I carry around a journal, several pens, pencils, erasers and sharpeners. I transfer them from one bag to the other. I literally never leave home without those items. Did I write down the ideas? No. You know what I thought? And it's so stupid and predictable but yet so mind-blowing. I thought: who could forget two great ideas like those? I mean, obviously, you've got this, which if you forget, you can just remember that, and then the connection will be clear. Well I forgot this AND that. Like my last seventy-five blog ideas. Poof. Gone.

So now I think, during my adventures today, I will need to pick up a self-important-asshole notebook, because I realize that I don't have somewhere just for ideas. I carry around a journal and that is for journaling, not for scribbling down incoherent half-thoughts in Greek shorthand, scrawls that I will never be able to decipher later. My journal is for full sentences with commas and semi-colons and shit. Plus it is too big. I need one of those miniscule ones bound with leather and costing lots of money. Nothing says "write in me" more than a leather-bound, palm-sized notebook. It's like you're just sitting there dreaming stuff up expressly to have an excuse to open up your little teensy pile of money and jot down something so revolutionary that only you, in this place and in this time, could ever have thought of it.

If tomorrow's blog closely resembles this one or the two that preceded it, you will know that I kept up the good fight against the Moleskine tiny expensive idea book.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It could scarcely be worse

OK, and only because I saw two of them today within about five minutes of each other, but I wonder what it's like to be a little person.

I mean, you take people like me, who bitch and complain about being stared at, for whatever reason. I've got different reasons in different places. For example, if I go into a gay bar, I get stared at because I'm tall and I'm a woman, and you've got to look twice to determine whether I was born with fallopian tubes. If I go into a hipster bar, I get stared at because I'm about fifteen points above the average hipster BMI, not wearing ironic glasses or a terrorist scarf.

When I'm in Seattle, I get stared at because I'm tall and usually doing something striking with my skull, like shaving the hair completely off of it, or dying it a strange color, or sticking metal through various bits of skin. When I'm in Germany, I get stared at because I'm tall and black. When I'm in Eastern Europe I get stared at because gypsies are not supposed to wear pants and what the hell is that for a flip flop?

When I'm on the train I get stared at because I stand a foot higher than the rest of the people on the coach and I'm usually twitching around with inhibition to whatever I'm listening to on my iPod, but when a little person gets stared at, they are stared at for being little and nothing else.

You get stared at walking down the street and standing on the train and sitting on the bus swinging your little person feet over the edge of the seat, and you get stared at while jumping at bananas and apples in the grocery store that you can't quite reach, and you get stared at while looking longingly at the ATM and you get stared at while eating Chinese food with chopsticks and while walking your dog at 2 in the morning or 4 in the afternoon. You get stared at while smoking and while drinking water and while picking out CDs or talking to a friend on the street or looking like you're going anywhere other than to a movie set to perform your role as an extra in a film concerning a circus, or maybe a comedy about Tall people doing things with Smaller people.

And it's not like you get stared at like a celebrity, or that you can pretend in your mind that bitches are staring at you because they wanna be you and that haters gone hate. You know for a fact, one hundred percent, that you are being stared at because of your unnaturally small size. Because of your strange proportions. You know they're wondering what kind of job you could possibly do and what your house looks like. They're wondering if you've ever driven a car or made love to a person of average height and proportions.

Now, the last thing Little People need is any more sympathy, so I'm going to do one a favor next time I see him. Instead of averting my eyes and pretending not to notice that there is a fully grown adult who couldn't see over my kneecaps waddling about in the Fußbahn, I'm going to walk straight up to him, raise my hand way over my head, and go, "High Five!"

And hopefully he has a sense of humor, because that is either the funniest joke ever, or the most insensitive thing you could ever do to a stranger who will probably go home and hang himself now but not until he's kicked you in the shins first.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken on the Fußbahn

Of course, Fußbahn is a word I just made up to replace Autobahn, which means, literally, "way that the cars drive". Yer foot is also dein Fuss.

I like to play Chicken on the Fußbahn because it's too much fun. Sometimes I make the mistake of playing a little too early in the morning before coffee and first words exchanged with people who live outside my home that consist of more than "mmphbrrblpoo" and "mmhmlvyoutoobye". So when I play too early in the day, the first words composed in my head are "idiot" "bozo" and "jackass". Not a good start to the day, even if you don't say em out loud. They're still out there in the universe.

Chicken in the Fußbahn is a good way to pass the time if you're a person of considerable stature, like I am, but I shudder to think what would happen were you only 5'6", or weighed under 180 pounds. Careful out there, I don't want anybody getting hurt. Well some of you. But never mind.

I also don't recommend Fußbahn chicken if you're prone to chickening out, because after you've made a commitment, you have to stick to it. Once you lose your nerve, it could take months before you're back out in the field. No, it's your side of the sidewalk, goddammit, and if they don't want to get out of your way, you're going to bowl em over. No ifs ands or buts about it. Of course, you're probably not really going to bash into them, unless you're having a really bad start to your day. Like, missing two out of the Three S's, for example.

Now, this is the important part. It's all about posture. You've got to straighten yourself up to half an inch above your full height. This is an ancient swami trick called Floating Lotus and it involves an infinitesimal amount of hovering above the ground, but you'll get it in time. Then, you square your shoulders and look your opponent straight in the eye. You're going to think that this all sounds a bit aggressive, but I assure you, if they hadn't been walking toward you on your side of the sidewalk, the game would not have been necessary in the first place. (I do not recommend playing Fußbahn Chicken on the left side of the sidewalk in continental Europe or North America. Playing on the right side in England is an equally bad idea, especially in South London.)

Note! Important! Without the Floating Lotus Square Shoulders To The Sky and Accompanying Thousand-Mile-Stare, you are lost. You will find yourself floundering about on the shoulder of the Fußbahn. This takes practice. But eventually, you will get it.

Give it a try one morning when you're feeling particularly ineffective about your life, when you've just been overlooked for a raise or lost a fight with your partner about how many bananas out of the bunch each is entitled to. You'll feel the power rushing right back into your life. Good luck.