Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Patience

I’m a fairly patient guy. In fact I’m really patient. That’s one of the reasons I attract kids and dogs. Either that or I resemble both but I like patience better. Well this week I’m losing my patience. A list:

1. IPod – Could we please get longer headphone cords. Those of us with long torsos struggle. I can’t imagine someone 6’2” with a long torso. Darn Ipod would sit at shoulder length.
2. Stop Staring at me – It’s a bad habit here in Germany. That long stare of the locals. Yesterday while running an entire group just stood their and stared at me from 200 meters out and all the way as I passed them. Not a single hello. Quit would you.
3. Rules – There are so many rules here in Germany that if there isn’t a rule look out. A little explanation. A couple weeks ago a top professional triathlete was hit or hit a car days before the Big Challenge Roth race. As I read about the accident it was clear what happened. The driver had right of way but only he knew this because it’s a fairly unique rule here in Germany. The athlete from NZ made eye contact with the driver and thought that meant she could continue. Wrong! The Driver of the car in his long stare just kept right on going, causing the accident then driving on. Girl left on the street bloody. You see, Germans obey the rules and then without a care in the world plow on. On the other side if there isn’t a rule look out. 3 times this week the dogs and I have had to jump out of the way of an oncoming truck. The same truck each time. On the dirt path where walkers frequent, there are no driving rules. So this driver in his big truck doesn’t care if you are on the path and is not going to slow down or even remotely try to avoid you. Maybe less rules would make happier people that actually have a heart to let a cyclist have the right of way or heavens for bid let the skinny guy with the Gentle Giant and the Mental Midget have some space.
4. Cash – When we first moved to Germany we quickly learned that this is a cash country. Credit cards are rarely used or accepted and many places/people don’t accept the Bank Card. So right now everyone wants our cash and lots of it. Imagine if you will, spending a day with the movers. Yes movers are movers all over the world. They drive big trucks, smoke and can pack a house fast or slow depending on the payment terms. So Mary worked them down on the cost and in they came. 4 hours later they were done and had to be paid. Yes that’s right cash. We paid the Foreman cash 5,200 euros cash. Can you imagine doing that in the US? Well it doesn’t stop there. The way a rental works here is you have a key deposit. It’s 3 times your months rent. When you move out you negotiate the repair/damages. Does the landlord take it out of the key deposit? No, you pay him cash, hand him the keys and then he has the right to hold on to the deposit for 6 months. It’s possible on Friday that I hand the landlord 2500 euros and he holds on to 3000 euros for 6 months. He’s a freaking bank if you ask me.
5. Phones – My former company canceled my company cell phone. No big deal right. Well this also canceled the partner phone we had through the same phone company. Yes we got a deal because of the company phone but it was paid separately out of my account. I went to the phone company retail store to straighten things out and they said I would need to send a letter and it could take weeks. Next option was to open a pay as you go contract. 10 euros gets you in and then pay up front. So I did that and 40 euros lasted 3 days. To make it sting just a bit more I printed a bank statement today and found out I paid for that partner card for July.
6. Recycling – I love it and feel like we as the developed part of the world should do more than our share of recycling. It’s the right thing to do. Now try to move out of your house and time the recycling. Oh my, is it difficult. But this I think I conquered and roughly 90% of the things not going back to the US have been recycled.

These are just a few of the things trying my patience. Just writing them down makes it all feel much better.

It’s a good life….
Dave
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