11 Tage Spaeter (11 Days Later)

I’m pretty sure that Germany will be, or maybe already is and they are just efficiently and quietly covering it up, ground zero for the zombie pandemic. One of the first things that I noticed upon my first visit in December, and something that I have come to love since, are the built-in, roll-up window shutters that are also light-proof when allowed to be drawn all the way down. Akin to roll-up metal garage doors, and eerily similar to the ones that Will Smith installed over his windows in “I Am Legend”, they are built into the outside walls and are put in place over the windows via interior pull-cords. As in the movie, these will be (or already have been – I’ll find out for sure when I can better speak the language), perfect for keeping out the living dead.

When these "I Am Legend" style metal shutters roll all the way down, they are not only completely light-proof, they also lock. Zombie outbreak, you say? Yawwnn...
When these “I Am Legend” style metal shutters roll all the way down, they are not only completely light-proof, they also lock. Zombie outbreak, you say? Yawwnn…

You may ask, “Is this all the proof he has for such an outrageous claim”? Indeed, it is not. When a friend revealed to her middle school English students that I would be a guest teacher by telling them, “I am bringing an Amerikaner to class”, her pupils promptly said that that they wanted to eat me. Now, I know that an Amerikaner is also a type of donut here in Germany, but I think we can all read between the lines and see what is really going on.

"I am an American. Bite me". It may sound crass, but an "Amerikaner" is not only and American, it is also a delicious cookie.
“I am an American. Bite me”. It may sound crass, but an “Amerikaner” is not only an American, it is also a delicious cookie.

So, aside from uncovering zombie conspiracies, Eve’s and my arrival in Germany, after the painful study in bumbling inefficiency that was Denver’s Lufthansa personnel, was blissfully uneventful which is why I am only now writing this post after having been here for a week and four days. Well, that and because we don’t yet have our new iPhones/cameras/notepads/surrogate brains to not only help us remember the gajillion things we have to do, but to document them as well. Seriously, if it wasn’t for the public pen at the Rathaus and the free pamphlets on preventing Lyme Disease (all in German, naturally, so I’ll soon be getting medication for that, I’m sure) I wouldn’t have been able to write down half of the ideas for this post and would therefore have had to resort to observing and documenting the swimming patterns of the ducks in the pond across the street. It’s counter clockwise, by the way, until someone shows up with bread, at which point they all become feathered Rottweilers engaged in a frenzy of splashing, flapping, biting, and quacking. From our kitchen window I once observed, with quiet horror and some fascination, the pack of ducks descend upon a small, bread-laden family so fast that the parents had to throw their youngest child into its midst to make their escape. If you are thinking, “Hey, why didn’t they just throw the bread?” then you have obviously never had fresh German Bauernbrot.

You can have more kids anytime. Bauernbrot, however, is limited edition.
Kids, if your parents are carrying one of these as you walk past the ducks, LAUF! (RUN!)

Anyway, back to the Rathaus (which means “Mayor’s house” but is in actuality the town offices). Eve and I went there last week to ask about Visas, licenses, etc. and, after witnessing the careful exchanges between Eve and the other patrons with the employees, I can only say again how very detailed, orderly, and calm Germans are. If anyone has had the pleasure of driving a BMW, or has seen Eve make a grocery list, you will know exactly what I mean. Extreme consideration and care is taken to ensure that the system is flawless and will perform as expected. Germans do not like surprises. Unlike us twitchy Americans that are prone to exclamations and seemingly random outbursts as we remember something or have some inane idea, the Germans are quietly five steps ahead of us and, like a parent on a walk with their highly distractible toddler, are patiently waiting for us to catch up. Such outbursts are, in fact, likely to give the average German a heart attack which is presumably why there are defibrillators in every public place that I have seen so far, and not just in the typical American hangouts like Biergartens and McDonalds: As us yanks tend to wander off trodden paths, cross against lights (something absolutely unfathomable here), and generally show up anywhere, even reviving Germans scared into cardiac-arrest by exuberant Americans has been carefully thought out and planned.

Hmmmm…. This careful planning must exist, of course, because if someone is not immediately resuscitated and they are allowed to die, they will reanimate and thereby restart the zombie apocalypse. It all makes sense. The shutters… The abundance of defibrillators… The bitey children…

When the world heard little from Germany after the war, it wasn’t due to simple tensions between West Germany and East Germany, it was because communist East Germany was full of zombies, which is why the west built the Berlin Wall. After the defeat of “zombieism”, the wall was torn down and the country was reunified. The people however, suffering from a national form of PTSD, vowed to never again let an outbreak take root and so put in these measures to ensure their continued peaceful and zombie-free existence. It’s no wonder that Germans get so jumpy when a loud American is suddenly thrust into their midst. I’m just surprised that I haven’t heard more news stories about us yanks getting stabbed in the head.

Note to self: Stop moaning loudly while eating Sachertorte.

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