Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Good Ol' Days

Some more reflecting on Germany and its collective perception of how to do things got me thinking, and that always hurts my brain. I am not one of those nostalgic crooners that waxes poetic about a long time ago when gasoline was 5 cents a gallon or Michael Jackson was actually black. I'm not even really longing for those days when cartoons catered to unhealthy products that sponsored their shows.

I'm also not pining for the days that Germany is trying hard to get the world forget, despite the popular tours. I mean for crying out loud, Springtime for Hitler is opening in Berlin this week! Let's MOVE ON! (However the ART COLOGNE 2009 is worth checking out, as is the Cologne Nazi Documentation Center)

What I'm longing for is the days of personal responsibility. When I first got to Cologne, there was no safety fencing at the top of the DOM. And by golly, if you wanted to lean way out and carve some graffiti into the stone, then more power to you. There was no enforcement of lights on your bike at night. If you wanted to ride willy-nilly through the streets at night pretending to be an invisible mobile organ donor, then by all means do so of your own free will. The irony here is that you can get a 75 Euro ticket for not having lights on your bicycle, but there is NO law requiring you to wear a helmet while bicycling at any time. Thus, the government feels compelled to make you shuck out some cash for batteries and night lights, but your noggin is your own melon to crack at will.

I've also learned that you can get two kinds of parking tickets. The first one is 10 Euros if you bought a parking meter piece of paper and the meter maid sees that it has expired. Here's where the great German logic escapes me however... if you don't have ANY parking meter piece of paper, you get a ticket for 5 Euros. Where's the incentive to follow those rules?


Maybe the good ol' current days aren't so bad after all.