“Drücken!” not “trocken!”

“Brief Encounters” are readers’ narrations of the funny, surreal and bizarre of everyday life in Vienna.

Columns | Vienna Review | June 2012

On one of the warmest days in May, inside a very crowded U4, I was drinking water minding my own business.

All of a sudden somebody started shouting aggressively. "Trocken", he said, which means, "dry" in English. I looked around for the person he was talking to.

A man, who was holding two big bags, looked at me and said: "Hey Mädchen, ich habe dir gesagt, ‘trocken bitte’". (Hey girl, I told you, "dry please").

I was puzzled and thought of my water bottle. I showed him the bottle and said: "Are you talking about water?"

He pointed in the direction of my bottle again and said "trocken" with a strange accent. Suddenly I realized that his German skills were worse than mine so he might have said something else.

As I was standing in front of the subway door, I suddenly realized that he wanted me to push the button to open the door, so he meant "drücken" in German not "trocken"- as in Drücken Sie den Knopf (Push the button).

Hopefully my German lessons will start paying off soon!

Tanya Kayhan

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