Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Nice To Meet You...

I got a strange call early yesterday afternoon...

TBF (noticing an unfamiliar phone number on our call-waiting, and assuming it was a telemarketing call): Hello...this is [TBF]. Who's calling, please?

Mystery caller: Luedi (Prounounced: Lou-Eddy. The Swiss just say their last name when they call.).

TBF: Luedi...Luedi...ahhhh meine Nachbar (ahhhh...my neighbor!)!

Luedi: Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

TBF: Ja (I thought I just did!).

She pretty much launched into a mixture of high-German and Swiss-German, and when all was said and done I pretty much understood her to be calling for the following reason: a small airplane had crashed into an apartment building right after taking off from Basel Airport. This apparently had taken place only a few kilometers from our apartment and there was now a fire with a lot of smoke (oh...that's what the smoky smell was!). She wanted to know if I could close the door leading to the rooftop (the other residents can't access OUR rooftop), which I leave open to air out the building and allow King access to the roof, because opening the door to her apartment was causing a suction effect that pulled the smoky smell into her apartment.

At least, that's what I think she said...

(Later research confirmed that, indeed, a small plane had crashed after taking off from Basel Airport. My seldom-used German...ROCKS!!!)

I told her that I like to leave the door open occasionally in order to air out the building. She said that was fine, but "...could you just keep it closed until the fire is over?"

"Gerne," I said. "Ich schliesse die Tür jetzt."

And THAT was my first ever conversation in nearly 2.5 years of living here with our downstairs neighbor - Frau Luedi.

At first, I thought she was calling to complain about the noise from a little impromptu get-together we had with friends in "the Fishbowl" this past Sunday. I didn't think we, or the music, had been too loud. And, as it turned out, that wasn't an issue at all.

Nope...plane crash, fire, smoke being sucked in by draft.

We're very lucky, because a lot of people here have really big problems with their neighbors complaining about the slightest amount of noise. Not us! Nope, never even one complaint!

Yup...we're very lucky in that respect.

Oh...and also that...the plane didn't land on our building; that would really mess up my bouganvilla!


My Brand New Swiss Life said...

This is a funny story! As an expat, one lives in fear a bit of one's Swiss neighbors, no?... My upstairs neighbor I have found out is a high-priced stripper (with a perpetually barking small dog). Coming home once in the wee hours, the police were outside... Fearing I was a dumb American & had done something wrong, was incredibly relieved to discover it was a call complaining about the lovely stripper's yipping dog. Relief!
I am only living in buildings with neighbors who can be deemed more "problematic" than myself from now on... :)

The Big Finn said...

mbnsl - It's too bad that your stripper neighbor doesn't live in our apartment because we actually have a "strippers' pole" right in our living room. Yes, it's a stainless steel support pole that is inconveniently located right in front of the windows in our living room. Check out my "Just Like Christmas..." post from July 20, 2007 if you want to see it.

Michael Lehet said...

It's funny how phone customs are different the world over. At work when I answer the phone I say "Thank you for calling ABC Company, this is Michael" but one of my British co-workers answers the phone as "5833" nothing more, nothing less....

My Brand New Swiss Life said...

Good stuff! ... Hope the "strippers pole" is for structural support, & not an added feature they make you pay more for! ;)
In California it would probably be featured in the ad. (lovely 2.5 bdrm, 1 bath, strippers pole...)

I love Switzerland.