One warm evening in Berlin, I wandered over to the ice cream shop facing a lively square. “Can I try this one?” I asked in my halting German. The woman behind the counter glared at me. “Dieses hier,” I repeated, pointing. Wordlessly, she handed me a tasting spoon. I tried the ice cream and started putting the spoon into an empty cup atop the counter.
“Nein! ” she shouted, snatching the cup away. “Wo soll ich? ” I stammered. She pointed at the garbage and turned away, muttering to herself. I backed away, stunned, and watched from a distance as she politely served the family next in line.
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