german phrase that translates generally into "I'm sorry" ... the literal translation being "It does me sorrow".

You could also say "Entschuldigung" or "Ich bitte um Entschuldigung". You can also use the short version "'schuldigung", but it is not really correct, although everybody uses it.

So we're less than an hour over the German border when the Polizei pull us over for a routine check. We've just returned from a weekend in Prague and the guys in the back are quite drunk, and stoned, the driver not trashed but having partaken. They're talking about it in German, and we frequently pull over for one of them to take a piss so I have no idea what's going on until the last minute.

When we do pull over I see them grabbing for their IDs, so I bust out my passport. In two years of living there, I honestly never found out how legal it was or was not to smoke weed, and at this point I'm apprehensive because Germany's individual laws, division of crimes between misdemeanor and felony, and version of due process does not remotely resemble the U.S.A.'s and I know hardly anything about them because I did not anticipate doing anything potentially illegal.

So they're polite, as the Polizei tend to be, and they make some light conversation with our driver, ask him where we're coming from and where we're headed and so forth and in the meantime our IDs have been passed up and I'm feeling okay by then because it's obviously just a routine stop and soon they'll page through and see my SOFA stamp and send us on our way, but what I don't realize is that in dividing my money stashes for the trip I left a folded 20-euro bill in the back of my passport.

The lightbulb goes off as he's flipping though my passport and for a moment I think I'll still be okay, but then he's like, "Was?" and opens it to the back. I see them conference for a moment and the officer pulls the bill out and offers it back to me and all the guys look at me and I go bright red and wonder what kind of shit I've gotten myself into, but he laughs and tells me it's okay, I'm not in the Czech Republic anymore and I try to explain with what is left of my German and my composure that it was an accident, but they're just laughing. I get shit about it the whole way back.

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