I was in Wiesbaden today. At some point, I was concluding my trip and had come to the Luisen Platz for the return bus to my village. Naturally, it only runs three times an hour....so I kinda had to sit and pause for the arrival.
Typically, you can sit on the bench there at the bus stop with forty-odd people standing or sitting around you.....within a sixty-foot circle. Some folks bump up against a person they remember from school or from some sports club, and a conversation will start up.
I tend to sit and reflect on these occasions waiting on the bus. It is a place where you could take note of the Catholic Church across the street, or the statues in the park.
There is one general rule among Germans....they rarely if ever start a conversation with strangers, unless it's to ask about timeliness of the bus. It's an unwritten type rule....conversations with strangers don't occur.
So as I sat, this German guy comes over and sits down by me. I simply acknowledge him with a nod.
Oddly, just as he sits down.....he wants to start some conversation. It starts on weather, which I simply nod and offer a "ja" in agreement with him.
"Wo kommt Sie" is the next bit of his conversation....where am I from? I acknowledge the US.
This opens up some dynamic and the guy starts chatting away about his aunt in New York City, the anticipated blizzard there and the remarkable non-winter of Wiesbaden.
I sat and took an observation of the guy. Spoken English, clever, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
The thing is....all of his clothing were mismatched. The pants were well worn....the shoes at least a decade old....the jacket was something you'd pick up from a Salvation Army shop.
In all basic words....a Tippelbruder. I could say a down-and-out guy, but I like the phrase Tippelbruder.
A Tipplelbruder is a German word for hobo...although it hasn't been readily used since the 1930s. Oh, you could use Pennbruder, Stromer, Speckjager (bacon hunter), or Bum.
The thing was that the guy was fairly intelligent and a bit different from the normal German you might encounter. You can never tell....you might round some corner, and here would be some VIP Katzenburger-gal, or some promi Jungle-King standing there and chatting with you.
A short conversation then took place...maybe two minutes of chat, and then his bus came.