Monday, September 7, 2009

A little cheese with my whine

I think most people who spend more than a few weeks in a culture other than their own will eventually take off the rose-colored glasses and develop a few minor grievances, pet peeves if you will - a few seemingly insignificant and usually random occurances that one takes issue with which unwittingly compound to become major gripes if left to fester. Or perhaps I am only speaking for myself.

This could be it's own series in the blog: Jiff's German pet peeves.

Pet Peeve Number 1: the %$&§ know-it-all German pedestrian.

I am going to tell you just one of many, many, oh so many stories that could be compiled and published in an epic novel where I, your heroine, arbiter of truth and justice on the bike path, am constantly attacked by self-rightous, over-aged, über-obnoxious German pedestrians.

Disclaimer: ok, fine, sure there may have been an incident or two where I was technically in the wrong, going the wrong way, but everyone does at some point because no one goes the "right" way i.e. with traffic, all the time. Right?

So the other day, on my bike on the way home from work, riding in the bike lane and in the right direction. I spy a fellow biker coming toward me i.e. riding in the "wrong" direction. I politely move out of the bike lane slightly to allow the biker pass by without having to ride through the bushes on her right. In order to give her space, I moved into the pedestrian lane which is when the one pedestrian, an older woman who had three free meters on either side of her and could have moved but chose to stay two centimeters from the bike lane, pushed me.

I have been yelled at, lectured, cursed but never before had I been PUSHED. Scrreeetttchhh. My bike grinding to a halt. I wheel around and padder back over to the woman who is going on about "damn bikers" and gather a few choices words. When one composes an emotional response, which is unfortunately the only type I could muster, one immediately resorts to their mother tongue. I quickly realized that maximum impact would require something in German and finally strung together, "Bist du total bescheuert!?!?" - "Are you totally insane!?!" Granted, my English retort would have been admittedly far more colorful but this would do.

So, how about a little cheese to go with my whine? A gruyère, mmm its nutty flavour goes well with the, “condescending German pedestrians drive me nuts!” whine.
A nice pungent eppoisses to accompany the "German pedestrians stink!" whine. Or a runny brie to go with the, "Next time I'll just run you over, then!" whine. I think I need a glass of wine...


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  2. This was the pet peeve of my American friend Jeremy when we were living in Frankfurt. Everyday he'd come into work hot about another incident involving bikes and interfering Germans. For some reason it never got me worked up. Other things, for sure. But not this.

  3. Oh Jiffer, it's the plasma that runs through those austro-germanic veins. Just yesterday I was riding my bike through Karlsplatz in Vienna (in the bike lane, going the 'right' direction) when a pedestrian - who had seen me a few seconds earlier (ie: we had made eye contact. indeed, he knew I where precisely where I was) - stepped into the lane in front of me, forcing me to swerve out of the way. After I muttered "Jesus" under my breath, said pedestrian started FLAILING his arms in epileptic seizures of rage and screaming at the top of his lungs "OH MEIN GOTT, OH MEIN GOTT". Really...TOTAL bescheuert. It was in fact so crazy, I withheld my rejoinder and peddled away as quickly as my little bike could take me.

  4. I'm glad you got that off your chest! I love your form of writing - it's very easy to read and fun! :)