How not having 2.8€ for the bus fare helped me express myself better

(TL;DR; at the end)

It was Thursday, and I had a meeting to attend, I tied my shoes and went to the bus stop, I checked my wallet and had only 0.60€.

I use cards for everything, which explains why I had no cash, Germany hates cards.

There was a second person waiting for the bus, so I immediately asked for the difference, 2.8€ minus 0.60€, meaning I needed 2.2€ to afford the ticket, and explained how I could pay her back. I did this in German, a language I’m not fluent in, so I probably didn’t say what I think I said and she was probably fearing for her life. Anyway.

She only had her bus pass, but she promised to help me negotiate with the bus driver after I explained my German was bad and that my mother tongue was Portuguese.

I got in the bus and told the bus driver I didn’t have enough cash, and if it was possible for him to trust that I would just pay double next time I get on a bus(I planned to get money out of an ATM when I was in the city), or if it was completely impossible.

He got super pissed off and if I wasn’t 184 cm tall and relatively fit, he would have probably physically removed me from the bus.

I asked him if that meant “No”, and that I respect that he is just doing his job. He immediately calmed down, and I left the bus, the whole situation took maybe 30 seconds.

I went back home and got my bike.

I did my things in the city, and on my way back it was raining harder, so I decide to get a bus. I quickly went to the ATM and took out 200€, the ATM gave me 4 50€ notes.

I got in the bus via the back door, asked someone if they minded holding my bike for a minute, and went to pay for the ticket.

I ask for the basic 2.8€ ticket, and place the 50€ note on the “mini counter”, she immediately tells me she has no change.

I ask her if this means that I can stay, or if I have to go out of the bus. She suggests asking someone for change. I confirm if change is “wechseln” in German, and proceed to ask some strangers.

A kind stranger says he has only 40€ in change, I offer to give him the 50€ anyway and that he can spend the extra 10€ on himself or whoever he wants. He refuses out of politeness.

In the meantime another lady reaches out with 50€ in 1x10€ and 2x20€ notes.

I pay for my ticket and head back to my bike. The trip goes smoothly and I avoid getting really soaked due to the heavy rain that now falls.

How is this related to expressing myself?

If someone who is expecting a certain amount of information(2.80€) is given too little information(0.60€), they won’t be able to do anything with it.

If you give that same someone too much information(50€), they also cannot do anything with it. But those same 50€ can be broken down into smaller pieces that many different people can use.

And if you offer some information without being asked, which in this story is the 10€ I was willing to give to the gentleman with only 40€ in change, it may also not be taken well.

TL;DR; Too little or too much information gets you about as far, make sure you only give the information you’re asked, or you may be wasting time and energy.

Strong opinions, loosely held.

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