Sunday, April 12, 2009

things are sold in different stores here

a week ago today (so also on a Sunday) Max fell off his bike and scraped himself badly. After cleaning him up here with what we had and could scrounge from neighbors, husband wanted to go to a pharmacy to get bandages and tape - I found out online which ones nearby were open (an issue in this country - but they do have a system that there is always one open in every area on Sundays) - anyway, found out, we went there, the woman had prepared things based on our phone call ahead and talked to us through a tiny vertical slit in the door and handed us things that way (husband said to me: what if we'd wanted to buy something really large?) - it all worked out but my point here is that somewhere in the conversation, husband said to pharmacist, well, if I want some disinfectant, I can just get it a drugstore, right? She looked at him in disbelief and laughed quite unkindly (snorted maybe) - and said well, I can't imagine that or why they would have it there. (He didn't say "a drugstore", he gave the name of the local one, Schlecker - of course it isn't a drugstore because they don't sell drugs but it's the kind of store that would in the States!)

I, meanwhile, have not been able to use my pedometer for several weeks - and why? Not because there's anything wrong with it, but the battery ran out, and I even brought extra batteries with me but we don't have the right kind of tiny screwdriver and I don't know where to buy it. In the States, I would, again, go to a drugstore, wouldn't I? Or a hardware store! But there don't seem to be hardware stores here really, and again, the drugstores do not have screwdrivers! (A friend suggested that I could take the pedometer and the new battery to a watchmaker who would have the tools and could open my pedometer and change the battery for me. I suppose I could do that. So I have to carry the pedometer and the battery wherever I go in case I pass a watchmaker?)

What they do have at drugstores: shampoo, paper napkins, energy bars, tampons, candles, plastic flowers - and of course herbal tea for colds, tummy aches, sleeplessness, etcetera. I know, because I kept looking for those herbal teas at the grocery store, silly me, in with all the other kinds of tea they do have at the grocery store - and I thought it was odd, because I was so certain that I remembered that Germans love to have all kinds of herbal teas for their ailments. But nothing. Not at this grocery store, not at that grocery store - until finally one day I went in to Schlecker to look for tampons or paper napkins or umbrellas, and there were rows upon rows upon rows of herbal teas for ailments! (Also, there I stumbled upon liquid Ultra Slim Fast - sadly, not the bars that I liked to get in the States.)

And then, supposing a person should want to get a haircut, and a person should also want to deal with the unpleasant and unsightly and oh-so-unfeminine extra hairs growing all over her face. Well, in Bloomington, Tamara did it all in one shot at Boomerang. In all fairness, even in Berkeley I couldn't seem to get it all done in one place, but as a result I discovered a wonderful Iranian woman with a place on Adeline, below the Berkeley Bowl, who did the most fabulous waxing I've ever had - cleanest, quickest, most painless, most thorough. (Why, oh why, did I not go back to her when I was there in March?) Here in Berlin, though, no such luck. I've been once since I got here and it was in a big fancy high-ceilinged old prewar apartment, where the waxing lady had three or four assistants, all of them, like her, garbed in starchy white full-body aprons, and three or four separate rooms, all with high uncomfortable waxing tables to climb up onto. Am I giving the impression I didn't like it there? I didn't, I really didn't. It hurt, and they were unfriendly, and I came away with my face completely reddened, and they missed a lot of hairs. So I've been avoiding since then . . . 

It just feels like everything has been reshuffled and you have to guess, you really have to guess, where anything might be. 

No comments: