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.