Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know until you need it.
On Monday I experienced one such moment. I was making my way home from a very slow-paced walk with my very lazy dog when, like in a movie or a comic strip, a bucket-load of water fell from a window above my head, splashing onto the pavement in front of me and splattering my legs. It wasn’t the water falling like a curtain that made me notice what had happened, but the sound of the water hitting the pavement and tearing through the stillness in the street. I looked up, but the window closed abruptly.
I was aghast. Then relieved (another step and it would have landed on my head), and then angry. Who throws water out of a window in the middle of a town?! I yelled up at the closed window, but when it didn’t reopen after a few moments, I continued walking up the street, cursing at my wet feet and looking over my shoulder every now and then to see if anyone would finally appear. Then someone did. ‘Right’, I said to myself, ‘I’m going back down there to give him or her a piece of my mind!’
Yea right. What's the German for: ‘Were you the one who threw water out the window?’ How about, ‘You’d better not have done that on purpose!’? Or even something easy like, ‘You got me with the water, you know’. But I knew how to say exactly none of those things, so instead I said something similar to the following:
"Excuse me (I was angry, but still polite), did you … the water … the window?
I was … under. The water … on me. You must be careful." (I knew that one. I
hear it a lot in class).
The culprit appeared to be a girl of about 10, who quickly explained something that will forever remain a mystery to me. But despite my appalling speech, she seemed to have understood the gist of my complaint. A few minutes later, I ushered my dog into the building and considered going straight to a dictionary to look up those words and phrases I hadn’t known I’d need, but then I thought that with a bit of luck, I wouldn’t need to know them again!
1. slow-paced walk = walking slowly (what would the opposite be?)
2. splash = when liquid falls onto something
3. splatter = when liquid lands in small drops on something
4. abruptly = quickly
5. aghast = to feel shocked
6. every now and then = sometimes
7. to give him or her a piece of my mind = to complain in an angry way to someone because of something they did
8. culprit = someone who has done something wrong
9. forever remain a mystery = I will never know (here it’s because I didn’t understand what she said)
10.appalling = terrible
11.the gist = the general idea
That's a long list of article aids today! Don't worry, stories always have more description. You don't need to try to learn all these new words and phrases, but one or two might help you describe a similar event that has happened to you. 😃