Meeting Frau Gruber

On a mission to improve my German with hopes to learn Bavarian, I bought a copy of our local celebrity, Monika Gruber’s, biography. The well-known, Bavarian stand-up comedienne celebrates the Bavarian language and culture in her performances. In reading her book, I felt a connection to her, both of us small-town girls trying to fit in. In her case, finding celebrity status, in mine, building a life in Bavaria. I hoped one day our paths would cross in the village in which we both live. The Encounter happened at my local butcher shop. I stood waiting in line one morning, when I heard her distinct husky and confident voice. My ears pricked to attention and my neck stiffened, like dogs hearing a rustle in the brush.
I turned to my right. There she stood. She wore light colored jeans, a thin, blue, down jacket, leopard print flats, and a crocheted hat with glitter yarn.
I approached, tilted my head and showed the palms of my hands, a friendly and non-threatening gesture.
“Frau Gruber?”
She turned to me.
” I am such a fan! Your work is amazing!”
She clasped her hands to her chest and looked up devotedly as if thanking God for such a dear fan (my interpretation of course).
“My daughter and I listen to your CDs in the car. I actually have a CD of yours in the car right now.”
“Do you have my book?”
“I’m reading it! You signed it for me! Merry Christmas and have fun reading! Then a heart for Herz-lich!”
Ms. Gruber’s smile froze.
I leaned in and Ms. Gruber did too. “I saw a woman in the Coffehouse, and followed her around for months because I thought it was you.”
“I don’t go there. I prefer to be served.”
“Of course! You worked as a waitress so long now you like to be served!” I paused. “You are much prettier than the lady I was following.”
She stepped back.
“It took me almost 10 years to learn German. For the next 10 years I need to learn Bavarian. I thought YOU could teach me!”
Ms. Gruber shrugged her shoulders, “Tja, I supposed I could…”
I stopped and turned to see the butchers watching our exchange. Actually, watching me, because there was no exchange. She just wanted to buy her sausages.
Ms. Gruber accepted her parcel from the butcher and left with a “Tschuß”.
I managed to beam back into my body and give myself a reality slap, “What were you doing?”

I haven’t had a chance to apologize to Frau Gruber. If you are reading this, Frau Gruber, I am truly sorry. What I wanted to say is: I admire your work and thank you for your continued dedication to your fans. I will however, continue to buy meats at “our” butcher’s. They won the award for the “Best Butcher in Oberbayern”. But this you already know. Next time if our paths cross, I’ll just smile and say “Grüß Gott”.

I hope.


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