do you speak english?

a few days ago, two english-speaking friends family, a friend and i drove back up from bolzano towards innsbruck, and not too long after we crossed the austrian border1, we got pulled over by a police car – including emergency vehicle lighting and a hand stuck out of the window in front of us, pointing to the exit we should take.

here’s the short dialogue that emerged:

police officer: sind sie gerade aus dem (raststätten-)parkplatz mit vollgas herausgefahren und haben uns geschnitten?
(roughly: did you just cut in front of us when you left the car park at full speed?)

larry: erm… do you speak english?

police officer: yes, (speaking more loudly:) YOU DRIVE OUT PARK PLACE?

that was about the time i used my german language skills to ask what was going on and explain that we weren’t the ones they were looking for.

as larry later put it, the officer probably thought that the question was “can you say some english words in no particular order, please?”

  1. which, due to the european union and everything, is pretty much reduced to one unspectacular road sign. []

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