indeed

There’s a subtle difference between the book geek and the book snob. Book geeks have unabashed, passionate obsessions with eccentric niches, grammatical intricacies, and clever turns of phrase, and will rave until their puckered little mouths foam if you show even a hint of interest. They are prone to social awkwardness and can be found […]

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vokü!

I met Joey at the Tuesday Fischladen Vokü. He was standing outside, smoking. I was early, and awkwardly looking for a way to break the ice. “You have a light?” I asked him. He did. I rolled us both cigarettes, and we sat at a table outside making small talk and drinking one-euro beers while […]

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the bloody chain

“You, umm, how do I say this? It’s always a rather awkward topic.” I was sitting in the grayish office of The Woman Formerly Known as My Boss. When I had called to say I would be back in Frankfurt and available to work, Former Boss had called brimming with artificial niceties and the suggestion […]

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all your base are belong to us

“Das ist sau komisch.” Literal translation: “That is pig strange.” What I would have said in English in the same situation: “That is really f@–ing strange.” And therein lies the entire problem of translation. The itch that can never quite be scratched. The photo that just won’t hang straight. It’s not just the (impossibly imprecise) […]

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putting the suit back in pursuit

The best thing about teaching business executives English is that they’re usually too busy to actually attend entire lessons. “Excuse me, I have to take this call,” the executive secretary tells me as she rushes out of the room. Later an accountant apologetically begs to end class fifteen minutes early and the Siemens executive sings […]

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