Monday, March 1, 2010

Opa Patrol

Today was my first day of work, well training really, and it went well. Its a bit dry at the moment, mostly going over the "principles" of the school, which are not to be confused with the "language learning conditions" or the "learning cycle." We did get an example lesson in Russian, which was kind of fun. I can now say the colors in Russian, but can't spell them, so you'll just have to trust me on that one.

BUT what was really odd today was the Opa (grandpa) patrol. I must explain. When my parents lived in Germany 20-something years ago, my mother was continually harassed as she pushed my brother and I in the pram by German Omas (grandmothers). We were not dressed warmly enough, or not wrapped properly, or simply too skinny!

Perhaps because I don't have children, I haven't encountered the Oma patrol. Though if I'm ever in the grocery store, I find asking old ladies about the various foods to be quite helpful. Do you want to know the difference between the red and white sauerkraut? Ask an old lady. (But be prepared for a 20 minute answer.)

What I do find is that old men like to give me unsolicited advice. Usually its about general safety or cost effectiveness. The other week an old gent told me I shouldn't buy the crate of beer, but rather take all the beer bottles out of the crate and carry them individually, as there is a deposit on the crate. Right. Normally I just smile and say "Thank you, I will think about that in the future." But today an Opa really got on my nerves.

I was weaving through the crowded supermarket after work, just stopping in for a bottle of wine, when I felt a jab in my back. An old man was poking me quite hard and saying, "HALLO! You must hold your bag closed! A thief will steal your wallet!" I was pretty annoyed, jerked my bag away from him, and walked off. He called after me "THANK YOU!" in that voice that meant I should be the one saying it.

I simply rolled my eyes and kept walking. But I'm starting to think I should really say something to all this undesired advice. I don't want to be rude, but I would like to let them know that their advice is un-asked for and undesired. So here's what I've come up with:

1. Thank you, but I'm 25 years old, not 15, and I can look after myself just fine.
2. I'm sorry, do we know each other? Then why are you telling me this?
3. Dad? Is that you? You look so different!

No offense to my dad, of course. But he's the only man that can give me such advice without receiving a quite exaggerated eye roll. Leave a comment and let me know what you would say to such advice.


PuzzleGirl said...

Well, personally I find the exaggerated thanks to be one method. In the case of this last guy, if you wanted to be nasty, which you don't, you could shriek and back away all the while gazing at him like he's a disgusting monster. Possibly my favorite though is the haughty raise of the eyebrows, a how-dare-to-speak-to-me look, and turn away, eyes first, without answering. Or if you must answer, say, "I beg your pardon," in your most sarcastic voice.

For a faster method, give a quick, insincere smile, and don't answer.

Justin and Marisa said...

I like the do I know you line. But you could always go a more direct route and just say f off. j/k

AimeeB said...

I think the sad thing is that most opas wouldn't understand your reactions. But OMG they annoy me too.