Every year the German Market comes to Edinburgh at Christmas time. Princes Street Gardens turns into a sparkly winter wonderland full of festive Germanic wares and heavy with the smell of glühwein and bratwurst. It’s a magical time.
Yet, for all it’s beauty it will always be slightly tainted by the memory of visiting the market several years ago and for the first time in my life coming too close to being legitimately punched square in the face by another human being.
One should never take for granted that funny in one country is funny in another. On this particular evening, a South African friend and I were strolling along the market having a discussion about the merits of Napoleon Dynamite. She didn’t quite get the humor, but could agree that it was eminently quotable – particularly when alcohol is involved. As we partook in the festive treat that is mulled wine, we descended into a giggling mess of bad John Heder impersonators.
“Ooh, ooh, what’s the one when he’s talking to the llama thing?” she said, eyes shining.
“Tina, you fat lard, come get some DINNER!” I obliged a bit too loudly, but thinking I’d channeled Napoleon quite well.
It was at this point that the couple walking in front of us slowed to a crawl and grew visibly tense. The man abruptly turned around and looked me dead in the eye – giving me the telepathic two-finger throw down and the distinct impression he sincerely wished to beat the crap out of me. He probably would have done, too, had the noticeably rotund woman he was with not pulled him away with a nod as if to say: Come on, she’s not worth it.
“Sheesh, what was that all about?” I tentatively asked my friend.
“Oh my god,” she said with her handing rushing to her mouth. “I know that guy from school, his wife’s name is Tina.”
No more giggles.
Image credit: Fiona Shields