Beer on the Train, After Work or Otherwise

Lovely (I thought) scene on the train.

It’s Friday afternoon. I was returning from a very successful dissertation defence where I was an external examiner at Potsdam University. It’s about a 35 min ride back into town.

Across from me on the suburban train was a man (maybe around 30) hacking away on his laptop. An older gentleman boarded the train and thanked the younger man for making room in their two-across “box” (i.e. two seats of two facing each other with a table in the middle, E’s favourite seating arrangement!). Some minutes later the younger man slams his laptop shut and sighs. The older man asks, “Should we just throw it out the window?” Younger man answer, “Nah, sometimes things just don’t work out.” Older man, “That’s true, but maybe this will help.” Pulls out two beers, opens them, hands younger man one and wishes him happy after work time. Yes, “Frohen Feierabend” still is a common greeting in the late afternoon, literally “happy celebration evening”.

Happy indeed. Next was the obligatory self-introduction. The older man’s version was “Ick bin ick” where “ick” is regional for “ich” and this was meant to suggest that informal address (Du) could be used. Soon enough a conversation was rolling right along. If my stop hadn’t been up next, I would’ve asked to join in.



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