Saturday, January 26, 2008

 1: The fact that the local, over priced hardware store (OBI) closes at 4pm on Saturday. Must be nice, kids, must be nice. Meanwhile, I need a new car battery, and all of your employees are grabbing a cigarette and driving the 3 blocks I just cycled to try and purchase a new battery on time, home. Disappointed, again. That's it for OBI, as far as I, and anyone I talk to, is concerned. The double bonus of "overpriced" and "banker's hours" is not a winning one. 

2: Sundays-- can't mow your lawn, can't futz in the garden, can't work on the car, unless you are hidden from public view. A good day to do your taxes or clean the basement. God forbid the Oma across the street catch you weeding. 

3. Cultural Perfectionism: cars cannot have the slightest thing wrong with them, to pass inspection. Mine, which was slated to sell, failed due to an uneven emergency/parking brake and a rocker arm which was kinda loose.  Seriously, people, this is unsafe HOW? just mildly! but this is the German mentality, that mildly unsafe is UNSAFE. Keep in mind, that what I was dealing with, were on post, vaguely Americanized, regulations. I can't imagine the German TUV being even that easy. 

4. Cultural Perfectionism, Part 2: Germans, of course, are the most liberal country on the planet, giving asylum to all kinds of refugees and asylum seekers (provided they can prove German heritage or other abject need)  and have an unimaginable level of cultural guilt concerning these matters. However, it leads to some serious wierdness, and high taxes to pay for the welfare of all kind of "asylum seekers". When the US crashes and burns, and we head back here, we can only hope to be so lucky. A reason to keep up with my Deutsch. 

5. Economic Success: Germany, as the richest country in Europe, forced the Euro on the populace. They were not allowed, nor asked! to vote on its adoption. People call the new currency "Teuro" which means "expensive thing". For them, prices of goods increased by half again, or double, depending on the vendor's honesty. Honest vendors cut the numerical value in about half, and put the Euro sign on it. The rest (most of them) just replaced the Dmark sign with a Euro.. effectively doubling the price of goods and services sold. 

6. Weather: Germans call it "Wetter" for this reason-- every time you go outside, you get wetter. Cold and wet, or wet and cold. However you like it.  Forget it. 

7. Language: 
Mr Clemens argues it more perfectly, hundreds of years ago, than I could ever hope to. 

8. Food: At least in this rural area, the most adventurous is bland, MSG-laden faux Asian. Greek fare is much better, seconded by Italian. I cannot tolerate so much wheat product, so Italian is a very poor choice for me. The Greek diet of fruit, veg, olive oil, seafood, sheep cheese, thick yogurt and lean meats and seafood, suits me well. It's just their green wines, and ouzo, that get me in trouble. 

9. Music: Okay, this one's lame, but unless you love classical ( I do, sometimes, some things) and flashback, especially 80s, German popular music will make you nuts. Pluses: Sophie Hawkins and other forgotten gems.

10. Traffic-- this gearhead girl grew up on articles about how wonderful the Autobahn was, without its speed limits. We ended up with a sleek, smooth and speedy BMW 523i, our Black Beauty. She would do 180 kph without you noticing the difference. Heavy and silky in the left lane, Beauty would whip past anything you asked her to, and never miss a lane, as long as she had good tires and was well maintained. 
Unfortunately, on the modern German autobahn, most of the traffic is trucks from Slowhattica, spraying salty goo all over your windshield and kicking ice bombs under your fairing. They are not supposed to pass each other, but they often do, resulting in an "Elephant walk" at 80kph. A real drag, if you were driving twice that, and have to wait for Slowhattica to pass Dawdlebooblika at a measured difference of .0567 kph. 

There's a lot of other things I hate.. now that I'm leaving, I can talk about them. 

Honorable mention is the "Knoedle" a blob of potato goo that, if no one is watching, I like to hurl against solid objects to see if it sticks. I've actually done that, recently. Very satisfying. The only use, for this sticky clod of starch. 

Meanwhile, I'm sure there will be a top 20, of American things I hate.. and more. 
Perspective is a bloody harsh mistress. 

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