27 March, 2008

Living Too Long In Germany

These last few days have been full of new ideas and impressions. That seems like a natural consequence of stepping into new territory. It is nice to occasionally test that tolerance bone; the one that has to cope with social change and behaviour.

I would be exaggerating if I said that my little tolerance brgan has only been a happy camper since arriving here. There are some forms of behaviour that really make me feel shocked, irate, or plum embarrassed. Here are a few that send tiny electrical shocks through me:

  • Many cars, pedestrians, cyclists do not pull over and stop when an ambulance is trying to drive by. The ambulance has sirens, lights, and is honking its horn, and often the ambulances have to stop for the traffic to flow normally.
  • Cars weave in-and-out and delivery trucks park in the BUS ONLY LANE. (Seems senseless to implement such a system and not enforce it.)
  • The waitresses and waiters take your dishes off the table before the last person is finished eating. (Yesterday, my daughter got her dessert before he brother was finished with his main dish.)
  • Many children do not act age-appropriately: 5-year-olds girls being carried around on the hips/waists of their fathers: 10-12-year-olds sucking their thumbs or pacifiers in public: 10-12-year-olds not able to use forks and knives when eating in restaurants (often using their fingers).

I’m not saying this sort of behaviour is wrong, just that my reaction tells me that I have been living in Germany too long. Before, such things wouldn’t have caused even a twitch. Now, they ensue a complex series of emotions that are hard to ignore. Not a good thing.

I don't want to leave the impression that everything his hunky dory back in Luebeck. That just isn't true. It is just other things that make me feel uncomfortable. And, for the most part, when I go somewhere new, I try to keep an open mind to the new culture and people. Which makes me wonder whether our tolerance bone needs more regular use with age. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Isn't that funny. I go back to Canada and have the same reactions to all the horrible drivers, the rude, unruly kids, the the pervasive obsession with drunkenness and drug culture. Maybe it's just the people I have been unfortunate to come into contact with.