The kindness of strangers

heatsink This will be a brief post, as it is concerning a brief adventure. But the friendliness of a total stranger is worth sharing, I think. (Ok, so 700 words isn’t actually brief. Brevity not being one of my strong points..). Here is the story:

I was recently doing something that required me to acquire a bit of electrical donglery that would allow me to join four wires to four other wires.

I had been messing around with these eight wires for a while, and had come to the conclusion that twisting them together and applying electrical tape was not a sturdy joining solution, and perhaps an actual connector was required.

A search of the house around me yielded very little on the electrical connector front. It was time to explore further afield.

Were I to be living anywhere other than a tiny village, this exploration probably would have not taken too long. As it was, I suspected that the local supermarket and post office were unlikely to be coming to my rescue. But, ever hopeful that the universe would provide me with the answer I was looking for, I set off into the rain.

The supermarket was, as expected, a dead end, but I did bump into a housemate within, who was also searching for something, namely, gloves. The German word for gloves, as an aside, is hand shoe. Brilliant.

We searched for gloves for a while, and failed at that also, at which point I continued on into the rain to the post office. Normally one wouldn’t hope to find an electrical connector in a post office, however this particular post office, as well as stocking your usual letters and stamps, is home to a plethora of fascinating items not normally found in your usual run of the mill post office. Or at least, not the ones I usually visit.


After some careful shelf peering, it became apparent to me that electrical connectors were probably not on the list of things that German post offices stock, however out of the box the proprietors thinking may be. As I was clearly looking confused, I was offered assistance.

I should point out that despite having now spent a total of around half a year living in Germany, my mastery of the language could best be described as minimal. I explained this (in English), and he replied, also in English, that maybe he could still help. Thinking that there was a chance, I embarked on a lengthy description as to what I wanted.

Sadly, despite much hand waving and gesturing, I was unable to get the idea across that I wanted a connector to connect wires together. The connector part was understood. The wires part was not.

I was close to quitting at this juncture, but rescue was on the way, in the form of a lady in the shop, who had overheard my feeble attempts at describing an electrical connector.

He wants a luftithingy, she said, except instead of luftithingy, she used the real German word for electrical connector. Comprehension dawned in the proprietors eyes. Comprehension, sadly followed by the statement that he didn’t have any.

How many did I want, asked my new lady friend. Enough to join four wires to four other wires I replied. She went on to say that she had some in her workshop, and if I wanted some, she could give them to me, gratis.

I was rather boggled by this offer, but it seemed pretty good to me, so off we went. First, into her car, then to her workshop. Obviously, getting into a car with a total stranger and driving off to an unknown destination on the promise of a workshop and some electrical connectors is not my usual modus operandi, in case my parents are reading this. It usually takes the offer of a lot of sweets to get me interested.

I’m not totally sure my rescuer was convinced as to the brilliance of the scheme either, once we had set off. But still.


We arrived at said workshop, which was delightfully full of all kinds of things, from power tools to cable ties. Were she so inclined. As it was, I was directed to a drawer, from which I managed to find sufficient connectors for my needs. I thanked my rescuer profusely, and headed back across the village (still in the rain), just in time to meet the housemate who had succeeded in her great glove quest. A positive day for all concerned.

So thanks to my nameless electrical dongle supplier, for reminding me quite how awesome strangers can be when you need them. Oh, and for not murdering me. That was nice too.

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