Try to picture the following situation.

You sit in your kind of not really completely uncomfortable chair on a train, first class ICE, as you do, and a woman arrives to take the seat opposite of you.

She is, well, a lot of human. I wouldn’t call her fat, but she is certainly overweight. She is not short either. First she tries to navigate first her luggage into a suitable position and then herself. She wears glasses, a bright colored shirt in yellow, blue, but mostly red with a floral pattern. Beige fabric shoes. Grey hair, long. Bound to a more practical than beautiful pony tail. No make-up.

Got a picture? Think about this woman. Think about how her life may be. Her experiences.

Take your time and try to get a full idea about this woman and her life before you read one.

A couple of minutes later a second woman arrives. Young. Extremely thin. Lots of make-up. Long curly hair. Stylish and thoughtfully combined clothing and some jewelry. Our first woman looks at her, a little longer than you’d expect a glance should last. I get the impression of seeing a sigh in her eyes. I know, sighs gently flow out of a mouth and are not visible in the eyes, but you get the idea. Don’t argue with me.

Again. Got a picture? Anything changed about our first woman and her life? Take your time, then read on.

Our woman opens her backpack and gets some papers out and a very thick book. German laws. Laws about social issues and laws for foreigners living in Germany. She reads them. Takes notes. Adds markers to the pages. Writes helpful pointers on her papers. Works highly concentrated.

How has your image of this woman changed reading the last paragraph? Is she a different woman now? Think. Then read on.

The guy checking the tickets arrives and I reach into my backpack to get the ticket out and starting the security dance of showing my ticket and than hand him my credit card to prove that I am who I claim to be and friendly telling him not to bring my a beverage or some strange sandwich.

The woman however just showed her black first class BahnCard 100 which allows her to use any train in Germany first class any time. This card costs € 6,890 for a single year.

My perception of this woman and my idea about the life she may live changed a lot during this couple of minutes.


Maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m just a bad person.