Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Deutsch Idiosyncracies (because the rest of us don't have them)

I love living in Germany. It sounds a little lame, because this country is soooo unlike me. But really--I love it.

The Deutsch (the Germans; pronounced doh-itch) will always say they don't speak other languages, but they will understand every word I say in English. Sometimes even in Spanish. We actually had an interesting event in a train a couple of weeks ago, when we were speaking Colombian and Mexican (because only the Spanish speak Spanish, of course) and a white, blonde, green-eyed, perfect-stereotype-of-Heidi German girl said, "¿Hablan español?" Yeah... watch out what you say in front of the Deutsch.

The Deutsch will park their cars anywhere--in any corner, on any sidewalk (I do mean "ON"), dark, lit, safe-looking or what-the-hell-are-you-thingking type of alley... But their bikes--oh, gosh, don't get me started on their bikes. The Deutsch will park their bikes in bike racks, and then they will tie two or three knots (I initially spelled "nots") around the bike tires with their 30-60 EUR bike lock. Don't mess with a German's bike. Really. Their car, meh, that is not that bad.

The Deutsch are insane about security--Sicherung. And thus, are also insane about insurance--Versicherung.  They are also insane about liability insurance--Haftpflichtversicherung. (Clearly not so insane about expanding their vocabulary to more than prefixes...) Everyone has this. Of course, I have one too. This means that for anything that happens to me, or for anything that I make happen, I am covered. If I'm riding my bike and accidentally crash against someone, I'm covered. (That, by the way, is so likely to happen, it's a bit scary...) If I cause any kind of damage to our apartment, or my classroom, I'm covered. If I'm at a friend's house, drinking, and accidentally break the glass, I'm covered. Seriously?!? Must one REALLY, ALWAYS be covered? What about spontaneity? What about a simple, "Dude, I'm really sorry... I'll totally repay you..."?!?!? What about just living life one day at a time?

The Deutsch are so attached to the law, it's even a bit ridiculous. The Deutsch don't run me over not because it's not nice, but because it's illegal to run someone over. The Deutsch don't laugh out loud in public because it's illegal to raise your voice over a specific decibel level in certain areas. The Deutsch don't damage public or private property because it's illegal to do so. On the other hand (or the same one... just the other side), the Deutsch recycle because the law says you have to recycle. I think I need to read their constitution--I bet it also rules on sleeping, eating and having sex.

But really--I love this country. The Deutsch are kind (I bet there's a law about that, too), polite, discrete. They are also TALL (I can only see my forehead in most mirros, and my feet hang everywhere I sit... including the toilet), and WHITE and BLONDE. And they all look alike. Just like all Chinese-Japanese-Koreans look alike, and just like all us Mexican-Speaking-People look alike.

I love their seasons, but not their weather. I love their food, but not their calories. I love their language, but not their grammar. I love their time-management, but not their strict, no-time-for-pee-pee-stop-because-we'll-be-late attitude. I love their rules, their order, their properness. But they need a little Latino in them. That's why they love us so much. Or me. That's why they love ME so much.


  1. This is an awesome post! I am glad you're enjoying things so much. Now, if you can just find jobs for me and Scott, we'll be right over to join you. Ich liebe!

  2. Haha, being covered for everything isn't as bad as it sounds. Doesn't it, in a way, allow you to be even MORE spontaneous now that precaution's taken out of the picture?

    "Hey, I know! Let's back-flip off the bookshelf onto the glass table while chugging a beer in mid-air!"
    "Are you sure it's safe?"
    "Fuck it, I'm covered"
    "Oh dear lord, there's glass in my urethra!"
    "Fuck! Shit! Are you ok??"
    (strained) "Perfect. Like I said...I'm covered."