A Day on the Town

Since I didn’t have any classes today, I finally got around to picking up my certified translator diploma. I already passed the exam in late September, but since I work at a school and the office where I had to pick up my diploma is open only during school hours, it took until now for me to get around to picking it up.

“So what are you going to do now?”, the lady at the office asked me.

“Uh, some more translations.” As a matter of fact, when I came home there was already a translation job waiting for me. Nothing particularly long or difficult, just a flyer for cargo handling gear with lots of pictures and little text.

Since I was in Bremen anyway (I live just outside the city), I took the opportunity to do some shopping.

I bought a couple of books (as well as some greeting cards and underwear, neither of which is relevant at all). I got Drink of Me by Jacquelyn Frank, The Scarletti Curse by Christine Feehan, Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris and The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter, all of which are intended for the PhD.

I also got Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo. I enjoyed Linda Castillo’s novels back when she was writing for Harlequin Intrigue and besides, I find the Amish setting intriguing.

In addition to the regular chain bookstore, I also hit an outlet bookstore which sometimes has good deals. I found a bunch of 2009 Mills and Boon Christmas books at reduced prices, which was a surprising find, since Mills and Boon books usually aren’t available in German bookstores, though you can order them from Amazon or directly from the publisher. I suppose those Mills and Boon books found their way into a German outlet bookstore, because they were overstocks. I walked out with two of those 2-in-1 editions, It’s That Time of Year by Christine Wenger and More Than a Memory by Roz Denny Fox from the Mills and Boon Special Moments line (Silhouette Special Edition and Harlequin Superromance in North America) and Their Christmas Family Miracle by Caroline Anderson and Snowbound Bride-to-Be by Cara Colter from the Mills and Boon Romance line (Harlequin Romance in North America). Category romances are great palate cleansers, because they’re so short, and Christmas themed category romances are ideal for the holidays. The shop also had another Mills and Boon 2-in-1, but that one was too full of Greek tycoons and the like for me and I don’t care for the Greek tycoon books.

I also got really lucky and finally located a copy of the German “Romanheft” (German pulp fiction) series Hattrick – Elfmeter für die Liebe (Hattrick – Penalty Shoot for Love), which is a soccer themed romance. I’ve done quite a bit of research on “Romanhefte” and presented a paper on romance “Romanhefte” at the IASPR Conference in Brussels in August. Hattrick is one of the strangest romance series I came across in the course of my research, but while the series was listed on the publisher’s website, I haven’t been able to locate a physical copy so far. So I was very glad to finally find one at the train station bookshop today.

Since my Dad is away at the moment, my Mom and I met for lunch at the Übersee Restaurant, which is located at the so-called Übersee Museum (Overseas Museum), a mixture of ethnological museum, natural history museum and trade museum that started out in the 19th century as a showcase for all the interesting stuff the local merchants and seamen brought back with them from overseas, hence the name.

The museum is located directly next to Bremen central station and opposite the central bus station, which means that there are always a lot of people in the area. And people naturally sometimes have to go to the loo. Now there are public toilets at the train station, where everyone can satisfy his or her physical needs for 50 cents. But naturally, there are always people who don’t want to pay for using a toilet. So instead of using the public toilets in the station, they pester the businesses around the station, i.e. a couple of hotels and restaurants, a multiplex cinema and of course the museum. The Übersee Restaurant is apparently pestered by people wanting to pee so often that they have a sign on the front door stating “The toilets are only open to patrons of the restaurant”.

Since today was Monday, the museum was closed, but the restaurant was open. And while my Mom and I were eating our pasta (Penne Arrabbiata for me and Penne with wild mushrooms and cherry tomatoes for my Mom), a woman of about sixty came in and asked to use the toilet. A waitress politely told her that the toilet was only for patrons of the restaurant and that there were public toilets at the train station a couple of meters away. You’d think that would be the end of it, but no. The elderly woman suddenly got very indignant and said, loud enough for the whole restaurant to hear, that the museum was a public building and that she had the right to use the toilet. Never mind that a) you cannot use the museum toilets either without paying the entrance fee first and b) the restaurant is a private business and not part of the museum.

The conflict quickly escalated, when the elderly woman simply marched past the waitress towards the stairs leading to the toilet. The waitress hurried after her and told her that no, she couldn’t use the toilet. Whereupon the elderly woman shoved the waitress who was visibly pregnant, by the way. A male waiter hurried to help his colleague, there was some more arguing and, because no one wanted to call the police or get physical with an elderly woman (never mind that she had just attacked the pregnant waitress), they let her go to the toilet. The woman took a pretty long time down there (the toilets are in the basement) and when she came back, she started arguing again about how badly she’d been treated. Two waiters finally threw her out. Mind you, this was a well-dressed elderly woman. She didn’t look like she couldn’t afford 50 cents for the toilets at the station. And even if she couldn’t, attacking waitstaff at a restaurant is pretty much beyond the pale.

It seems that it’s the season for arseholes in the open anyway, because inside the central station, I saw some gangster wannabe bloke attacking his girlfriend, grabbing her roughly by the arm and pulling her along with him. There were security guards inside the station, plenty of them, but do you think anyone of them intervened? Nope, they were probably too busy pestering smokers and homeless people to care about a case of relationship violence right in front of their noses. And if the guy treats his girlfriend like that in public, how much worse will he be in private? Some people really are arseholes.

Finally, here is the offer of the day: Charlotte Roche, a British-German TV presenter and erotica writer, has offered to have sex with German president Christian Wulff, if he vetoes the extension of the operation times of the remaining German nuclear reactors. Ms. Roche gained notoriety, when her sexually explicit autobiographical novel Wetlands was published two years ago. The “immoral offer” itself is pretty funny (try to imagine something like that going down in the US!), but there is a serious background, because the current German coalition government extended the operation times of the 17 German nuclear reactors against the overwhelming opposition of the people.

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