Germany is one of the strangest places in the world. I went there last September for a big family reunion. [I was born and raised in Los Angeles, but my mother came over to the States in 1929…bad year to be looking for work in a strange land]. Don’t get me wrong. Germany is beautiful. It’s clean; Green, with windmills and solar panels everywhere; And, highly organized, to the point where even my German relatives made light of how precision engineering was applied to every aspect of German life.
I got to drive on the famed German Autobahn. It was basically just a really well kept freeway with one exception. In Germany there is a law, rule or regulation for everything, like when on Saturdays you can mow your lawn [it’s never on Sundays], and that exception is: on the Autobahn there is no speed limit and you can go as fast as you want. I’d be going along at 80 mph, (over there its kilometers per hour, and damn difficult to figure out), when all of a sudden a huge Mercedes or BMW was on my ass and expecting me to move over… und Mach Schnell! The most regulated society in the world feels it’s pedal to the metal when it comes to driving…No wonder they make such good cars.
Thing is, you could only haul-ass when you’re out in the middle of nowhere; but there’s no Nowhere in Germany, cause every square inch over there is either inhabited, farmed, or set aside as a preserve, and has been that way for hundreds of years. So you could drive like a mad-man for about 10 kilometers, and then have to slow down for construction, or even come to a stop when getting close to a big city, when the Autobahn turned into a parking lot .
It got worse; my Sister turned her GPS’s voice from the nice feminine “Lisa” to a male voice when I drove (it’s the rules). Now, I can’t speak German, and have always personally thought the language sounded like two dogs growling over a bone while farting their brains out, but that male voice was something else. More harsh “BIEGEN SIE LINKS! LINKS!!” And less forgiving when I screwed up. “DUMMKOPF!….SCHEISSENKOPF!.” He sounded like a cross between Colonel Klink and Sargent Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes. I wonder if them German Engineers programmed that “Tom Tom” that way just to get even with us Americans for winning the war?
I found the German people to be warm, friendly, and a basically happy people. Maybe it’s because they drink beer all day (and not the Lite stuff we Americans are swilling down), so they must have a pretty good buzz going at all times. But on a serious note, the best part of Germany was being able to get in touch with my roots. I really felt comfortable there. Hard to describe, but a feeling of being at home. Maybe it was seeing my cousin Hans Hermann, who was a “Hansi” when was a little boy. A whole land full of Hansies….. Doesn’t get much better than that.