My morning train ride was going smoothly. The train had arrived on time, it was heading in the correct direction and I’d even managed to get a seat. As we arrived at our final destination the intercom crackled to life and the conductor started his routine announcement, first in his native language of Dutch and then in his not so native language of English.
These announcements are often a source of amusement because the English part does not always go as the announcer planned or would have liked. The meaning of a sentence can be so easily changed by misplacing a few words (I know because I do it all the time in Dutch). This morning’s announcement ended up being a little suggestive.
“Ladies and Gentlemen. The next station is Amsterdam. Please remember to take off your personal belongings as you leave the train.”
It took me a second to realize what I had just heard. Take off our personal belongings? I know the Dutch are a very open minded people but had the train announcer really just suggested that we all take off our clothes as we leave the train? I’m not sure I want to know my fellow train passengers so intimately. It would be quite a shock for the people on the platform too if the doors opened and a steady stream of naked people suddenly exited the train.
I decided to keep my clothes on. Luckily so did everyone else.