Lets face it, for most English speaking people living in Germany is not particularly easy if you are not part of a German family. So many unwritten rules end up being communicated through acid stares, or loud protest (in some dialect 90% of Germans won’t even understand). As a general rules you can square the distance from a metropolitan centre to calculate the intolerance level. One should think of this as a form of asserting the failing national identity. By pointing out that you do not understand the rules, the locals affirm their sense of belonging. Yes, I am a good German and bright enough to know that a yellow dustbin is intended for plastic only. ” Most of these rules tend to gravitate around weekend life, which is the times you will most probably spend admiring the countryside (and one is prone to spot the odd hordes of chappies either dressed to the nines or totally naked out in the forest). The first rule to obey is something called “Ruhezeit”, or quiet time. Anything from a crying baby to flushing the toilet may be considered an infringement. Be particularly aware of clauses in your rental contract which specify when you may be forgiven for flushing the loo.
Loud noises should be avoided till 8 in the morning, and again around lunchtime. Following on from the confusing “everything is an exception” logic of their language, you may expect different interpretations of when exactly you should best take your lunchtime nap (without snoring of course). If you intend to have friends over, and you consider listening to music, be sure to warn your neighbours (at least 4 houses deep in each direction) well in advance. Most Americans are either shocked or ecstatic about German’s attitude towards alcohol.
You can safely say that Germans do not consider beer an alcoholic beverage. You will encounter happy tipplers enjoying a brewsky on the train, walking down the street or sitting in the cinema at any time of the day or night. Well how could anything brewed according to the “Reinheitsgebot” (translated “purity commandment”, and no you won’t find that in the Bible, and it was not the reason Luther revolted) be considered evil. There does not seem to be a minimum age and it would appear that both smoking and beer are more common with (early) teenagers.
The strategy seems to be “Let them experiment early and get it out of their system”. This attitude does make one wonder about the education system though, where people tend to spend the best part of the first 3 decades of their life at educational facilities. They don’t seem to kick all habits with the same gusto, or perhaps some habits just kick in later. Washing your car is another interesting hobby. And it seems that if there is to be an addition to the German Bible it would be “Thou shalt not wash thine Auto on Sunday”.
Ostensibly it is due to the fact that one is not allowed any manual labour on the day of rest, but you would be damned to actually find a car wash automat that works. Strangely the vacuum cleaners at petrol stations do work on Sunday. Personally I think there is more to this than meets the eye. To identify the pattern one needs to consider German toilets. I am not sure exactly when they were introduced, but this has got to be the most nonsensical construction yet contributed to the world of anal fixations. Most loos have a little platform, intended to present your turd on a pristine, white ceramic pedestal.
In this way you have no option but to be confronted by it when you flush. This continued forced exposure to faecal excrement has got to be the reason Freud came to be the way he was. The modern equivalent being the sin of washing the car on Sunday. Another way of looking at the “not on a Sunday” problem is to consider that Germany is the nation which has produced more car brands per capita than anyone else. Although one can equate the tender loving care bestowed upon the delicious contours of leather (jawohl) and plastic as resembling the worship of false gods.
And where else do political parties fear the wrath of the electorate if the even suggest Freeways without speed limits are a bad idea? One could argue that a country where the government serves as debt collector for the church may frown upon waxing up the Porsche on Sunday morning (they would prefer to see you in church and getting value for your money), but personally I still blame the wonky toilets. Call it subliminal mass social structural programming, but as Sigmund may say, it looks anal to me.
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