No English

Dear Diary,

During my first weeks in Vienna, I felt completely cut off from the world. The first problem was no Internet: I was used to chatting with my friends and family. So one of the first things I did was call UPC Telekabel to put in my connection. After waiting more than two weeks, finally someone came who was able to work the necessary magic with the cables lying around my living room. Thus it was that at 9:00 on a cold foggy morning, my doorbell rang and I found a moody, middle-aged man was standing in front of my door.

Even though I can speak German, I try to speak English whenever possible as I feel more secure. So I asked politely if he understood English, so I could better explain…

“NO!” he said rudely. I invited him in, and did my best in German, but the man stared at me, like I came from another planet and continued to be rude. He was almost finished with his work, when he suddenly noticed that I had a Mac Book computer. He looked at me, surprised.

What kind of operating system was I using, he wanted to know? Windows XP, I said. Then it dawned on me: He had asked me this in fluent English!

He leaned down to take a look on my computer; he had never seen a Mac Book with a Windows operating system before. Distrustful, I let him check my computer. Then he stood up.

“I’m finished,” he said mechanically, switching back to German. Then without ceremony, he said good-bye and left. And I spent the rest off the day wondering, what he had gained by refusing to speak English.

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