Tram stop lingo

Waiting for a tram to arrive can sometimes lead to eavesdropping… Sorry, I’m of the eavesdropping kind, I can’t help it. On my way to the supermarket today, I had to wait for about ten minutes for tram 2. That particular route goes from Luchtbal (north of the city) to Hoboken (south of the city). It services many different types of travellers, from many different backgrounds.

Today, I by accident overheard a woman talking to someone on the other end of her phone. Well, talking might not be the right word, shouting sounds more like it… She was going on and on about a certain ‘Patrick’ having ended up in hospital and was saying that she was going to ring ‘De Lijn’ (the company that runs public transport in Antwerp) to ask for the video footage of what happened. My inquisitive mind whispered to me: ‘You have to find out the whole story’ and I pricked up my ears. Apparently, at the moment he was getting off the tram, the ‘Patrick’-dude had been attacked by a bunch of (and I quote:) ‘Moroccan lads who came out of nowhere and had no reason to start kicking him’. Unfortunately, I have to say, this is a thing that has happened a couple of times over the last year in Antwerp. Regrettable, to say the least…

However, what she added to her story afterwards, I do not agree with… She started speaking even louder and said to the person on the other side of the phone: ‘I’ve just become racist and fascist now, none of them are even worth living anymore in my eyes’. Well, as much as I can understand her anger about the whole situation, I found that statement a bit crass… It’s not because there’s trouble in paradise (if you want to call Antwerp that…) with a couple people from a certain origin, that automatically the whole group is that way. I’m sure she’ll revise her opinion in a while, when she realises that the guy running the grocery shop around the corner, or the night shop for that matter, is actually a nice guy, a friendly person. In the meantime, Antwerp has one more person convinced that everyone who is not originally Belgian should be sent back to ‘their own country’. A pity…

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