Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Public Urination and Other Important Tidbits

Germans are a wonderfully tidy people.  They seem to like things precise and logical.  And they like to have rules, follow rules, and make sure that everyone else follows them too. 

Flying into Germany with a plane that seemed to be mostly European was an orderly affair.  No one walked around while the fasten seat belt sign was on; they were polite, and distantly helpful when the American lady two rows in front of me threw up.
Pretty yellow bike

I didn't see any road kill in the 2 and a half weeks we were there.  And I was looking.  Although, I'm not sure why I was looking.

Putting your feet on the empty seat facing you while on the train to relax?  Not okay.  Someone is likely to reprimand you.

Flipping someone off?  Not okay.  In fact, I heard it was a felony.  That, and cussing someone out in public.  You have to keep the road rage under control, people.

Public peeing?  They are totally cool with that.  I don't get that at all.  To me that clashes with a neat and tidy lifestyle.  How can it be okay to urinate on hundreds of years old buildings, but not to jaywalk?

Graffiti is also totally legal.  It was everywhere.  Some of it was really beautiful, like along the railway stations.  But then there were random scrawlings on beautiful old buildings everywhere that were definitely not beautiful.

Pretty red bike with a basket

There is this thing with the moniker of "The Idiot Test".  If you get so many speeding tickets, the authorities will take away your license and subject you to a battery of phsychological testing to prove that you are mentally competent.  Because in their minds, the only reason that someone would break the rules that many times must be because they were mentally challenged in some way.  (Although I would think having an American passport would also be explanation enough...)

Cute metal basket

Flying out the Frankfurt airport with a plane load of Americans: 

The lady supervising the lines was frustrated with the lazy sprawling line that we were forming.  She was increasingly frustrated that for some reason we didn't form a SINGLE FILE LINE because people kept bunching up to to talk to each other.  She even tried demonstrating what a single file line looked like.  Then there was a person whose sole responsibility was to be in charge of the line leading into the security screening.  And he stood there all day holding and directing traffic into one of the
MANY screening points to make sure that each line had the same number of people in it.  From there, you were met by a man who supervised you as you put everything into the gray plastic tubs-refolding things if you hadn't done it tidily enough.  Then there was the line at the gate boarding.  The lady in charge of this line took her job very seriously.  She must have had a degree in line management or something.  She reorganized us at least 3 times into different lines based on some criteria in her mind which was never clear to us.  All this was so that we could step outside and all crowd into a shuttle bus (with men's armpits in my face) to be driven out to our plane.  I'm not sure why the lines were so important since we were all going the same place, and had assigned seating.  Maybe the people in the front of the line had more room on their shuttle bus and didn't have to stand smelling underarms in front of you.

The seatbelt sign seemed to be more of a suggestion than a rule because there was a steady stream of traffic to the bathroom regardless.  The only indication that it was not okay was the increasingly harried announcements to please stay in your seat (which had no affect whatsoever).

One last picture because with so much talk about public urination should at least end with something pretty to look at

In the US airport going through customs, there were numerous official looking signs informing us that cell phones and cameras were NOT ALLOWED.  The lady behind me in line promply whipped out her cell phone to call someone to tell them that she would call them later, because, she was "not supposed to be using her phone"!  I tried to imagine a German doing that.  Nope, couldn't do it.

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