I'm starting to feel a reasonable level of competence in living in Germany. I know how to sort my trash and I can usually get the gist of signs, among other things.
I finally went to see a German doctor (who speaks flawless English, so I'm cheating a bit). I know that Germans politely greet and say goodbye to everyone in the waiting room. I'm not particularly interested in doing this.
I know, I know, it's horrible and it's not respecting the customs of the country. If someone says hello to me or the other patients seem disconcerted, I'll say hello. However, if they don't, then I don't bother. If I'm at the doctor's office, I don't feel well and don't want to talk to anyone but the medical staff. The last time I was at the doctor's office, an elderly German man in the elevator wanted to talk to me in German. I had a raging fever and cold sweats and just wanted to crawl home and die. I could only understand half of what he said and my responses were horribly non-grammatical, probably because my brain was burning up with fever. I just really, really wanted to be left alone. It seemed as if the dang elevator would never reach the exit, but finally it did.
Will I change my mind on greeting strangers in the waiting room? I guess only time will tell.