This morning, I decided to tackle the kitchen. Germany is really good about recycling here, so I separated all of our garbage and packed up the bottles to take to our local glass recycling bins. I took the garbage downstairs and put it in the proper containers, and then I made the trek up the hill to where I needed to take the glass bottles.
Like most cities, the one where we live is comprised of a bunch of little neighborhoods. Our particular neighborhood, lucky us, is basically made up of different street levels, which means going anywhere on foot requires either climbing a ridiculous amount of steps or hiking up steep hills, or descending said hills and walking down a ridiculous amount of steps. In case you couldn't guess, going down is so much better than going up.
In this case, though, I had to go up. Now a quick word on the people here, which I think is more of Europe in general: people don't wear sweats unless they're working out. Everyone is always neatly and appropriately dressed.
Which is basically why I stick out like a sore thumb. I am most always disheveled, and this morning was no exception. In fact, I looked more like a homeless person than someone who is well-fed and housed. Because I was spending the day cleaning, I was in my sweats, sans bra, and had decided to wait until I was finished cleaning to shower. "Besides," I said to myself, "It's not like anyone's going to see me." Oh, stupid fool.
So, there I am, walking up the big-ass hill with my stupid basket filled with stupid glass bottles to recycle. As I made my way up the second incline, I noticed a large gathering of people. I thought they were having a little protest march, which is not uncommon over here. As I got closer, though, I realized they were having some sort of gathering right next to the recycling bins that I needed to access.
And that's when I saw the tv cameras and newspaper photographers.
At first no one seemed to notice me standing off to the side, but then I felt like everyone was staring at me. With disdain. Someone even came up and tried to put money in my basket. That's when it dawned on me that most of the people at the event thought I was actually homeless. What a blow to my ego.
I began to hum Phil Collins' "Paradise" as I patiently waited for the presentation to be over. When the lady who was speaking finally stopped, everyone clapped. I joined in, even throwing in a few whistles and dog calls (Think Arsenio Hall or Julia Roberts' character in Pretty Woman when she's at the polo match). Surely, the party was over.
And it was.
Exactly twenty-five speakers later.
Seriously, I think every person at that presentation spoke…twice.
While all of this was going on, I was impatiently waiting in the wings for them to finish so that I could drop my bottles in the receptacle. I was being polite and waiting because the bottles make a loud CRASH when they are deposited, and I knew I didn't want to upset a mob of Germans. So, there I was, on German tv as I pouted and sighed. And because I don't speak German, I had no idea what the hell was going on.
The only three words I understood throughout the entire thing? Cheese, love, and Germany.
Hmmm….maybe that can be the country's new slogan? Call me, Germany.
Things took a turn for the truly bizarre when one of the speakers raised two Pug dogs in the air. It was like the scene in The Lion King right after Simba's born and he's presented to the kingdom. Then someone handed the same speaker a log of salami (I can't make this shit up, you guys) and he raised that in the air, too. I WISH I had brought my iPhone up with me, but alas, I thought this would be a quick and uneventful trip. I won't make that mistake again.
Finally--mercifully--the stupid presentation was over. It ended up being some unveiling for a new statue they were dedicating, so at least I figured that much out.
And then, because my life is so a Seinfeld episode, I was telling Hubs about my experience. He really didn't believe me, but as we were waiting at one of the train stations downtown last night, they showed a picture of the event on the big television they have by the track. And what appeared before Hubs' eyes? Two pugs, a statue, and the silhouette of a homeless woman looking disdainfully on.