Conflict Avoidance

Posted on 2 min read

I’m eating store bought sushi and drink a premade smoothie when the woman comes up and starts gesturing. I look around. I haven’t said a word to anybody, because the few tables at the front of the grocery store are completely empty.

“Sprinchst du Englisch?” I ask.


She keeps gesturing, and I realize she doesn’t want me sitting there. I think because I was supposed to have bought something from the bakery by the entrance.

“I thought this was a part of the grocery store.” I try to explain.

She gets aggressive, her voice carrying across the store.

“Ok, I’ll go buy something,” I say.

I try to finish the piece of sushi I’m eating, but she keeps repeating the same thing over and over, with more rancor. I get up and walk to the counter and buy a piece of cheese bread.

“Danke schoen,” she says, as if nothing happened five seconds ago.

“Bitte schoen,” I say, staring, unable to think of what to do next.

Back at the table, I pack the bread into my bag and type out a message in Google Translate that I plan to show to her.

I now understand that I have to buy something from the bakery to sit here. We are both people and we can communicate in a friendly way and accomplish the same thing.   

But she’s gone. Presumably in the back baking more bread. I wait, but by the time I’ve finished my sushi she still hasn’t come out, and I walk out wondering if I would have shown it to her or not.

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