Today’s Weird and Wacky Wednesday post comes courtesy of one of my students who made it incredibly difficult for me to maintain a straight face in our lesson this morning. “Franz” is a young guy, and pretty much epitomizes the hip, early 20s male in this area. Before he joined the group, it was all-female, but he’s taken it in stride, making it a very comfortable and easy atmosphere. He’s the kind of guy that plays soccer in the snow, breaks his leg skiing, and solders home-made jewelry for his girlfriend (and mom) for Christmas. Cue the “awww” here. Usually his sense of fashion is fairly on point, whether that’s down to him or his girlfriend, I cannot tell you.
But today…. oh man.
He came in, sat down, and at first I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Then he shifted positions. His outer layer was a very nice chambray shirt, which paired well with his tan skinny jeans and sneakers. Underneath the open top of the chambray shirt, you could just see the top of a picture, which appeared to be a woman’s head. And over that head?
Were there other words to the left and right of “BOOBS”? Probably.
Could I see them? No.
So the whole lesson, every time I looked at him, I had to stifle a giggle.
I’m filing this one in the category of “shit that will earn you a sexual harassment complaint in America,” because I’m pretty sure if anyone of my male friends wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the word “BOOBS,” they would have major issues with their HR departments. Friends in the States, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong in ze comments.
As for the title of this post, I tried to distract myself from laughing by trying to remember lines from the classic film ‘Mallrats,’ which featured a store called Fashionable Male. If you are unfamiliar with this ridiculous piece of 90s nostalgia, feel free to watch this movie, or this clip featuring the manager of Fashionable Male, aka a very young Ben Affleck. Enjoy.
Fashionable Male (with BOOBS) aside, I also have an update on the very confused man from my Weird and Wacky Wednesday post back during the DB strikes.
Since writing that post, I have seen the Salmon Man quite a few times on our local train. He’s almost always speaking VERY loudly on the phone, and is often carrying something kind of strange. Once it was a garbage bag that clanked very ominously, which he left in the middle of the aisle on the train.
Today though, I got confirmation that he is almost certainly a tricky little Schwarzfahrer.
Schwarzfahrer: noun. Literally: black driver. Colloquially: asshat who rides trains without a ticket. If busted they will be fined, but more importantly they will be publicly shamed by the conductor.
Shortly after I wrote the post about the Salmon Man being confused about train strikes, I was roused from my podcast stupor by very loud voices on the train. When I poked my head up to find the source, I saw the Salmon Man over by the train doors animatedly speaking with the conductor about his lack of ticket. I shook my head, and directed my attention back to my game of solitaire.
This evening, I found myself sitting kitty-corner behind Salmon Man once again. As per usual, he was on the phone speaking to someone who is apparently borderline deaf. I was greatly entertained by watching the woman sitting behind him and across from me try to concentrate on her book while simultaneously not rolling her eyes out of her head every time he started talking again. And then the ticket checking conductor arrived. I was on the 6pm train, and by my reckoning it’s about a 50/50 chance if tickets get checked at peak commute times. Since checks aren’t guaranteed it’s possible to get away without buying a ticket, but I’m not a fan of public shaming and I do not recommend chancing it. Unless of course the ticket machine is broken, which is a whole other story.
Salmon Man noticed everyone around him rustling in their bags, said something into the phone about controlling, and then tried to hang up. The conductor got to our end of the train, and checked all the surrounding tickets, while the Salmon Man spun some story to him. I had my ear buds in and hadn’t stopped my podcast (which was turned up all the way to drown out his phone call), so I didn’t hear what he said at first. I got my podcast paused just in time to hear the conductor say (in English), “you must wait for the next train in 30 minutes,” while writing Salmon Man a ticket. Salmon Man had apparently failed to hang up on his phone partner, and said something to them in German about getting a Strafe (a fine or ticket) and then when the conductor left, he switched back into Russian on the phone.
This has now happened twice, so I’m on high alert. I’m on to you, Salmon Man. I know your game, and it drives up prices for the rest of us, so I do not appreciate it. The good news is that the conductors usually have set routes that they work, so hopefully they are on to you as well. I might not be able to do anything about your ‘black riding’ but you can bet your loud and pushy ass that I will throw an elbow the next time you try to skip me in line to get on the train.