Today I left the room in Simone's apartment I rented for the last month and moved my bags into a living room.
When I told Charlie that I needed a place to stay for five days before I go to Copenhagen, he said I could stay with his Long Walk Home band mates.
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Yeah," He said, "You can stay there. And if they say you can't, I'll tell them I'm quitting the band."
WOW. Ha! Friends, that right there is LOYALTY.
To me, not to the band, sorry guys. It would suck to have your singer quit just weeks before the album comes out in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, huh?
This morning I went to the laundromat to wash my sheets for the person moving in to my old room. I approached the automated machine on the wall confident that I'd use it with ease.
This is an example of me being unreasonably optimistic since it only worked last time after I hit every single button. I didn't know which jab got me lucky, but whatever, I'd do it again.
Today there was an old man sitting on a bench next to the machine. I feigned casual and began stabbing everything in sight. Things progressed until I went to put my €10 bill in the bill slot and he started waving his hands around his head.
He said something in German and pointed to a blinking red light.
"I'm sorry," I said in German, "I don't speak German."
I'm getting tired of saying this.
He kept on. I smiled helplessly and tried to put my bill in the slot but in slow motion this time, while looking at him to gauge his reaction.
"Nein, Nein!" I got in return. Plus more hand waving. Okay. I'm getting that part. I just don't know why. I'm sure I put a bill in the last time.
An old lady comes over and shakes a handful of coins in my face. Ah. Only change today. Or the machine doesn't give change and I'll end up overpaying. Either way I'm not going to be responsible for this guy having a heart attack when I slip a bill in against his wishes.
To communicate that I don't have change, I hold my bill up and make a sad face. The lady points to a cafe. We chuckle and I run out to buy coffee and get change.
What I don't know is that change is the most coveted thing in the whole wide world and I'm about to enter a serious battle of the wills. The coffeeshop won't give me coins so I move on. At least I'm caffeinated and fueled up for the battle ahead.
At the corner store, I hold up a five and say, "You have small?"
"Nein!" The cashier barks.
To the drugstore. If the drugstore doesn't work, this will begin to get old. Because the only other option on the block is an Italian goods store and it will be irritating to buy pasta in order to do my damn laundry. I don't even like pasta that much.
In the drugstore, I pick out toothpaste and an energy bar. I am calculating how much I need to spend to get the most coins and fewest bills back.
I recognize the cashier because once she pounced on me and practically put me in a headlock. That time, I was innocently paying and pulling out my change purse when she heard all the coins rattling. Little hairs sprouted on the back of her hand and she salivated on the conveyor belt and begged me to pay in coins. Which was fine, THEN.
Today I played it cool. I got out my ten and when she asked for coins I made a regretful, resigned face like, "God, I really wish I did. IF ONLY I HAD COINS."
She bought it and gave me the coins I needed. I dropped them loosely in the pocket of my backpack so I wouldn't have to get out the lie-exposing change purse.
When I got back to the laundromat, the old man was watching my bag and I shook my new coins in my hand and smiled at him like "Aw, yeah" and he looked really happy for me.