Today was errand day. I took a winter coat to a seamstress, a tiny storefront shop on a side street near home. The woman sits at a sewing machine in the front window, surrounded by bobbins and material and plants, a long measuring tape draped around her neck. She doesn’t speak any English. Nevertheless, I was able to explain that the worn area of the lining needs patching, and she showed me how she would use material from the inside of the sleeve to match it, and where she would sew it, and the almost-matching colour material she would use to replace the lining of the sleeve. All for 30 Euros, and it will be ready next Tuesday. Pretty impressive business transaction, considering it was done in two languages with lots of hand gestures.
My German is improving. Now, when I try to tell people that I don’t speak the language, they actually understand what I say. I consider that progress.
As usual, Jake was in tow. My next stop was the dry-cleaners, where another successful transaction took place in two languages. I left him outside the door, but the woman behind the counter insisted that he come in. Ignoring all other customers, she came around the counter and made a fuss over him, with cookies. She indicated that I could pick up the suits tomorrow, and that the dog should come back too.
Next, the department store, downtown at Marienplatz. I’m still a bit timid about bringing a dog in, but up the elevator we went anyway, into the china department. I was in search of a teapot. I made him lie down and wait for me while I studied the selection, and a few moments later a saleswoman came over — not to attend to me — oh no. I turned around to see her just as she was bending over to place a bowl of water under his nose, murmuring softly to him in German. It was clear glass, and as I watched him lap the water, I could see a price sticker on the bottom of the bowl. I wonder if it will get washed before it goes back on the shelf.
The last stop before heading home was a cafe at Odeonplatz, for a warm cup of chai tea and people-watching from the depths of a big leather chair, with my dog curled up at my feet.
A day in a life in Germany. Dog heaven. I’m in dog heaven.