Tuesday, May 12, 2009

reality t.v. without the t.v.


my friend and i were sitting by the window of the cafe. it overlooks a bustling copenhagen street. this green BMW was parked across the street. we watched as two parking attendants circled the vehicle and discussed it. you see, it was parked too close to the corner and it needed a parking ticket. the female parking attendant punched information into her little handheld device and appeared to take quite a long time doing this. in fact, it looked like she went through the whole thing twice. after bashing parking attendants in general for a bit (seriously, how DO these people live with themselves), we got bored and stopped watching and eventually the parking attendants wandered away.

the next time we looked up, a stringy, gangly man with thinning reddish-blonde hair in a strange suit with too-wide pinstripes and a red shirt unbuttoned just a bit too far approached the car. he got in and riffled through some papers. we watched, waiting for him to see the ticket on the windshield. strangely, he didn't appear to see anything there.

his mouth was moving, so we assumed he was on the phone. lots of people have a blue tooth earpiece in their ears these days and although they look like they're talking to themselves, they're actually talking on the phone. he took a big swig out of a tetrapak container that may have either been wine or juice. the picture on the carton looked a lot like wine. it was a little early in the day for that, but what the heck. he then rifled through his papers a bit more and then got out of the car. we were sure he'd seen the ticket on the front window and was getting out to get it.

but no.

instead, there was the glint of a golden coin in the air as he tossed it up. he allowed it to land on the pavement and picked it up. yes. the man got out of the car and flipped a coin. then he got back in. and still showed no sign of seeing his parking ticket. we thought that was really weird and since my friend was getting up to go to the bathroom, she looked to see if there was a ticket. strangely, there wasn't. we wondered what all that walking around the car several times by the parking attendants was about.

we decided it was a guy who was hanging out in the car because he didn't dare to tell his wife he'd lost his job. he had to leave the house and pretend like he was at work all day, so she wouldn't know he'd been fired. he got out of the car again and got something from the back seat. it was some more papers. further supporting our theory. then, he began to admire himself in the mirror. he preened a bit and ran a comb through his hair. it was quite a lost cause, as he had pasty skin and too-light eyebrows and looked a bit unhealthy. no doubt from drinking box wine in his car at 11.30 in the morning.

when we left, we noticed that the car had german plates. and that seemed to explain everything--the lack of a parking ticket, his coloring and complexion, the strange clothes. if only i'd have seen his socks when he was out of the car, i could have pegged it earlier--you can always tell germans (especially men) by their socks.

we don't know what happened with him, as we had to leave. but for a little while it was like watching reality t.v. without the t.v. and frankly, without the reality. people are pretty weird when they think no one is watching.

19 comments:

Extranjera said...

Those crazy Germans with their socks.
Was this on Vesterbrogade?

I swear my VW is blgampl which just has to have SOMETHING to do with blog camp, eh?

julochka said...

naah, it was on bredgade, not far from amailenborg.

and i'm SURE that has something to do with blog camp. :-)

Extranjera said...

Ah, then it's even weirder.

jpvill said...

weird life, strange thing, and weird people.. :-)

Izzy said...

great story... =)

kristina said...

that's weird, even for a german ;-)
an alcoholic phone salesman working out of his car? maybe the coin toss was for deciding whether to go talk to the women looking at him through a cafe window...?

Pattern and Perspective said...

Extraordinary story. Yes, people are strange when no one is watching.

Just Jules said...

Alright - I am lost.... how do socks give away a German person? and why would he not get a ticket?

You know they did a study and figured out if a person gets into a car in the parking lot with another car waiting for their spot they actually take longer to leave the spot (doddeling in the car) then if no one was waiting.... what that has to do with anything? I don't know.

Although who can understand the behavior of a wine drinking low shirt wearing babbling german with or without socks? at least he didn't pick his nose endlessly :P

Kim Hightower said...

HAHA! I LOVE to people watch. You never know what you are going to get.

Janet said...

too too funny! actually he was on the phone with the police because someone had stolen his suitcase from his hotel room while he was out buying his milk of magnesia, which he put in a wine box (that he pulled out of the trash) cuz he didn't want to be seen drinking milk of magnesia. he was looking for his hotel room bill so that he could tell the police the name and location of his hotel. and the bell hop at the hotel was kind enough to give him the mismatched clothes out of the pile of stuff that other guests had left behind. ;)

cheekyketek said...

I'm pretty sure your version is better than the truth. Which would make it just like reality tv, then, right? I'm going with something more sinister--he's a gangster with major mojo which is why they didn't ticket him, parking attendants being on the take and all. That's my story. I'm sticking to it.

waiting4love said...

See this is what t.v. needs anyway, writers with imaginations! That's why reality t.v. is so popular, no overhead of paying writers. Reality t.v. is just mindless enough to get by! You guys should try collaborating on the next great novel!

Just Jules said...

except really reality tv in the states IS all written and scripted (some part of it anyway) it is turning into unreal-ity tv

Char said...

I love people watching - a great bit. what is different about german socks?

Magpie said...

Love reading this. Love people watching.

(And hey! A real word for my verification: proper.)

julochka said...

he never looked our way, so the coin toss wasn't about us.

socks totally give away germans. a german friend and i invented a game at the grand canyon. it was called "spot the germans." entertained ourselves for hours. and it was all about the socks.

i'm thinking no on the milk of magnesia

just to review, he looked like a down-on-his-luck heroin addicted german pimp.

i think the parking people didn't know what to do with german plates. they do, on the other hand, know what to do with swedish ones.

and although he was talking to himself (no sign of a blue-tooth device), this was pretty unscripted, tho' i'll grant that most of that US reality stuff is scripted. it always was..remember the Real World on MTV? (i loved that show...remember when they threw Puck out of the house in SF?--Rachel was really a bitch, wasn't she? and that cute little Pedro who died of AIDS, that was sad.) but i digress. right here in my own comments.

marathoner81 said...

I sometime watch people from way up high out of my office window. It's amazing the things you see people do when they think no one is watching...which always makes me wonder what have people seen me do when I thought no one was watching?!

Mrs.Rotty said...

I used to have frequent events like this when i would commute through down town on the public trans.

you meet all sorts of interesting people. Not so much meet, as stare at from a safte distance and think things about them in your head.

paperclips said...

haha people are so strange out of context. my friends and i love people watching and making up hilarious voice overs...!