Tuesday, November 8, 2011

German train of thought

A few days ago, we were in class discussing issues of culture and cultural studies (just as a side note, I am so German now, that I can't help but automatically type Kultur - großgeschrieben und alles!). You need to understand that I find myself in Germany, surrounded by 12 other Germans (girls in this case, plus the male teacher), and of course the most obvious examples in trying to define and explain culture come from German culture. And wouldn't you know it: Even the Germans consider their punctuality a German characteristic of their German culture! I like German honesty. I mean, I would never describe me and my people as "unpunctual", although we most definitely are.

So there we were, talking about how the Germans are punctual and how that defines them because the Germans are punctual and punctuality is important and that important characteristic defines them and their culture because punctuality is a trait that shapes a cultural habit which in turn also makes for culture and blah blah blah - I mean, seriously: I. GET. IT. The Germans are obsessed with time. I like that about these people. But seriously - must we really repeat the reiterated redundancy? (Did you like my alliteration? It was almost onomatopoeic...) And as the Germans were going on and on about the freaking punctuality crap, I spaced out thinking about how unnecessary it was to go on and on about the freaking punctuality crap, when I suddenly heard,

"Ja, Massenmörder."

And I was like -

Dude, WTF? How did we switch from punctuality to - wait - 

And then I realized I was no longer thinking in my inside voice in my head. I sat up and kinda shrieked,

"Wait - what? Massenmörder, that means mass murderers, right? How in the world did we switch from being punctual to being mass murderers?"

Yup. There you have it. The switch had been made and it was in the appropriate context with appropriate flow and it made sense and was (though at the end deemed unreasonable) reasonable. Because the Germans can switch from punctuality to mass murderers like that (insert finger-snapping action and sound).

That is German train-of-though for ya.

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