Thursday, May 27, 2010
Just Fondue...Nothing Else
Many of the foreign to Sweden people I know complain about the Swedes. They complain about their reservation, their lack of service in stores and other various society wide traits. They complain they are too insular and that it takes an impossibly long time to forge friendships, real solid relationships, with them. As I have said, I find the Swedish people pleasant and open. So, I typically laugh and tell them, "You have done it all wrong, you must FIRST live among the Germans, then your perspective will change."
Though there are some aspects of Germany I liked better, I have found Sweden much more livable. But, often times I do find myself wondering, "maybe they weren't that bad, maybe it was you" or "maybe you just got a bad batch of them" or "maybe it was just that period in your life". Such was the case, this past week when on vacation with, mostly, Germans. By the end of the week, let me tell ya, it was all fresh in my mind and no, it wasn't me, wasn't a bad batch and not that period in my life. I don't wish to knock them all, I have met plenty of, OK, a few, really splendid Germans.
First off, the cutting in line. What the *$%# is that all about anyway? It wasn't even crowded on this island. There was no wait for anything. Yet, there they were, ungroomed hairy teeth mustaches, cutting, pushing and prodding to get first. I watched as a young girl struggled to get her suitcase up the ramp to the ferry and a 60 year old German guy nearly bowled her over to get past her on the ramp. The girl stopped and stamped her feet in dismay. We just watched, laughing and saying "classic!".
The cigarettes and putting cigarette butts out on beautiful places. Really? Here you are on this beautiful, unspoiled beach, so privileged to be there, and not only are you disgustingly puffing away but you are putting cigarette butt after cigarette butt out on the beach. Why the chain smoking anyway? What's a pack of those things cost in Germany? 27 euro?
The black socks and sandals. This MUST end. It must. My radar goes off when I see it and I immediately know rudeness of untold proportions is in the vicinity. Ditto with the lavender suit jackets with the mustard colored ties.
The bad, bad, grooming. Please get to the friseur and cut that Brillo pad on the top of your head.
The meanness and gruffness and the weird ability to be laughing and yoking it up among friends one minutes and to turn into Burger Mesiter Meister Burger with the public. My son was born in Germany and my delivery doctor did this transformation on me. During the labor he was this soothing and nurturing, perfect, man to have at the helm. The minute my son was born, it was like someone pushed a button and he turned into this automaton of bare bones efficiency.
I have a friend who has lived in Germany and he says "the Germans fear their neighbors more than they fear their government." I do not particularly want to fear either. I would greatly prefer if they both just left me alone. But that does explain why nearly everything we did while there was met with the phrase, "that is excessive by German standards". We had a TV that was excessive, our freezer was excessive, supposedly a dryer was unnecessary and just ruined clothes, don't operate power tools or any noise making device of Sundays, we had too much recycling. Unfortunately though, to them, the taxes weren't excessive because I could get behind that notion.
You are probably wondering what the title to this means. This was an invitation we received one time. This was exactly how it was presented to us. "We would like you to come over for fondue on Saturday night. There will just be fondue. Nothing else." Seriously? How could you refuse such a gesture? How do you even respond to that. "Yes. We will be there. One hour. No more."
Posted by kmbr at 1:34 AM