Advancement through technology

Vorsprung durch Technik – Advancement through technology -this well known Audi tagline should probably be on the German flag.

I’ve come to realize that  I am viewing many aspects of life here from entirely the wrong perspective. The impetus for much stereotypical behaviour can be attributed to a nationwide infatuation with technology and technological stuff. Arseburgers syndrome?

This is not a criticism, I love technology and stuff. In fact I’m probably an arseburger myself; but there is often a price to pay, the ability to relate well to others. Is there a predisposition to arseburgership here? If so, I’ll probably be more at home than I realized…

(-yes,  know it’s aspergers)

This guy is an arsehole which is nothing to do with an arseburger.




Electric Gates and Bad Haircuts

For some reason electric gates are inordinately popular in Germany and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Do people want to feel like they live in mansions (even if the driveway is only 5M long)? Are they just lazy? Do they have too much money? Did they get one because their neighbour has one? Yesterday I saw Harley rider pull up in front of his gate, stand up, remove a remote control from his trousers and open the gate with it -he was less than 3 feet away…

it would have been faster for him to walk over and open it by hand. I can almost understand it from a car drivers perspective but this was just mad -maybe he wants to get his money’s worth out his expensive electric gate…. or maybe you can’t open them by hand? oops. Ah well, keeps the rif-raff out anyway -oh no, they can use the pedestrian gate…

Motorcyclists seem to go for the Mad Max baddie look here.

In a similar antisocial vein, I’ve just noticed the new style, ‘Hitler’ haircuts -buzz cut sides, long and greasy on top. Apparently they’ve been popular in the US for a couple of years but are only just catching on here.

Is this really flattering?

What we miss about the UK

Yesterday I was asked the question: “what do you miss about Wales?”

Unexpectedly, my answer is not what I thought it would be. The thing I miss most is not being able to deal with the people who make life difficult. I can’t speak German well enough to sort out the problems with bankers, landlords and the assorted villains of modern life. Maybe when I overcome this problem, I will miss being by the sea.

The thing my wife misses most about the UK is people being nice (and she is German). Apparently there are a significant number of people in the service sector here who don’t just think it their God given right to be arseholes, but feel duty bound to do so. If you worked in a bank or shop in the UK, you would expect to lose your job if you were purposely rude to customers, right? Well, not here my little Dummkopf.  It’s almost mandatory to be rude; if you aren’t your colleagues might think you are going soft.

Does this behaviour has its roots in the Sie and Du thing and the way Germs seem to crave respect and status -at least, more so than in the British Isles?

If you are an arsehole to someone, they may not respect you but at least they know you don’t respect them, and that’s almost equivalent isn’t it? In a really twisted and fucked up way, you confer status upon yourself when you are rude to customers without danger of repercussion.  This isn’t just culture clash, it’s culture clusterfuck.

Personally, I think supermarket staff here have actually become much nicer over the last few years. Now 99% of staff will say “schones tag” when you leave the checkout, and even if they don’t mean it, it doesn’t matter since they are no longer going out of their way to be rude. Everyone is happier. I think I remember reading something about people being forced to smile for a study, the upshot was they ended up putting themselves in a good mood; maybe that’s happening here?


The correct tools

As every proper German knows, it is vitally important to use the correct tool for each and every task. Using the wrong or inappropriate tool will result in head shaking, tutting and possibly even intervention with a lecture aimed at saving you from further embarassment. This is very difficult for Irish people to understand since we were always poor as shit and probably never had the proper tool in the first place. Ask any Irish person what the first tool they used as a child was and they will tell you a hammer -probably for opening walnuts at halloween. I thought walnuts were flat until I was eleven.

Germans probably don’t really consider a hammer to be a tool. If it wouldn’t be considered as less than macho I am sure it would be redesigned: the perfect German hammer would have a laser and crosshairs to aim exactly at the right spot, a guide to make sure it follows the correct path and markings on the guide to ensure it is lifted to the correct height.

How did german cavemen survive without a  lathe for making spears? I don’t think there is even a word for “bodge” in German.