Saturday, October 22, 2005

Breaking Down Stereotypes...or not.

So as I am here in Berlin, I am learning where the German stereotypes come from. Some of them have been broken down. For example, everyone thinks that Germans are highly organized and efficient. My thoughts: Yes, this is true, but only to an extent. Take a look at the whole system of signing up for classes. In my opinion, I don't find it efficient at all, nor do I find it organized. Showing up to a class that has been cancelled until November 4 and having no prior notice is not what I would call efficient.

Another stereotype is that Germans can be very cold people, or rather, very rude. I suppose this is true for just about any nationality (Americans are loud & obnoxious, the French are pushy, the Chinese are pushy in a different way, etc. So it all is some form of being rude), but for the Germans, I am understanding why it seems to be true in some instances. When Alex, Cam, Rob, and I went to the movies, we had to pick our seats when we bought the tickets. (I met Rob through the Middlebury Language School and met Cam through Rob here.) When we got to the theater, our seats were occupied, and the woman there was snippy, to say the least. She basically told us it doesn't matter where your tickets say you sit, but it was in a very abrupt manner that came off as being, well, bitchy.

I think last night epitomizes what someone would think of "German rudeness." I don't mean to offend anyone, but the guy we encountered last night was just a dick. I don't usually use that to describe people, especially in writing. However, read on.

Alex, Cam, Devin (she goes to Sarah Lawrence but is going through the Midd program), and I were standing outside this bar, The Pip's, waiting for Zoey and Meredith. Alex had a beer in her hand and was finishing it before we went inside, so the 4 of us were just standing around talking. Devin said, "Hey, there's a guy standing in the window giving us looks." Cam, Alex, and I turned around not so subtly to see this man giving us dirty looks from a second story window. (Which is actually considered the first floor here, but regardless.) He left the window and we continued to chat.

And suddenly water just fell out of the sky. Not rain, but a bucket's worth. We all turned around again to see the guy in the window, and indeed, it was a bucket's worth of water. When we looked, the guy threw another bucket of water on us. As if one wasn't enough? He hadn't even shouted anything to the extent of "Shut up" or "Go away," and it wouldn't have even mattered if it was in a foreign language because we would've understood the tone. No forewarning of any kind. After the two buckets were thrown on us, other Germans walking by just shouted, "Arschloch!" and whatever, which was very kind of them.

See, so this just furthers the stereotype of being rude. I realize that this guy was just a total asshole anyway, but who seriously throws 2 buckets of water on people, when it is only 11 pm on a Friday night in a neighborhood that is filled with bars? Additionally, he didn't even say anything! Could we get more passive aggressive? If you don't want to hear people outside talking at night, don't live near a bar, jack ass. Perhaps I would be a little more understanding if it was 2 am and he gave some sort of forewarning, but it wasn't the case.

However, on a completely different note, I suggest that everyone read Alex's blog entry for today (Oct. 22, titled "Honestly, wouldn't one bucket have sufficed?"). She wrote out some funny stories that Cam told us last night and they are pretty funny. I've come to the conclusion that Cam is probably one of the most quotable people, orelse he just has the most ridiculous stories. I'm not sure which.


Linda said...

What the hell? That's crazy. What a great story to tell, though.

I thought the French were generally really rude when I was there. But then, that may be because of coming from Australia. I don't think we're rude. Probably because we're too "laid-back" to care what anyone else is doing, haha.

Bennikans said...

Yikes, that does sound kind of nasty! I had a couple people try and hit me, and quite a few other people, with water balloons walking down Castle Street (the ghetto street) yesterday, but nothing quite as intentional as a bucketful of water! Hope classes are going well!


Joel W. said...

Wow! That's just awful. What an ass!!

aurora_de_5a7 said...

Yeah Patricia..when I first met you I thought you were in a gang. You scared me. I think he should've used green slime. Water just

Crystal said...

Wow that sucks. But also look at the great adventures of GERMANY! WOOO. I dunno whats worse, having someone throw two buckets of water on you or be here in vermont where it hasnt stopped raining since the dawn of time and where apparently snow is on the way in this lovely month of october. Either way I do believe that dude was RUDE and with no warning how unfair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Misha Molodoi said...

wow. dick to the max! Germans can be quite rude sometimes and more often than not unbearably passive-agressive, but bucketS of water? that one's definitely a first! i'd be interested to hear what Mark, Kamakshi or Bettina have to say about this. Were you guys by chance speaking english because this may have been a hate may consider contacting the authorities. I'm not sure they'd believe you though...that level of rudeness is quite unheard of in the Muetterland.
i feel you on the ticket matter. i couldn't believe ANYONE could be so anal as to assign seats in a movie theater (luckily, i had a german with me at my first movie over there, so i avoided any uncomfortable exchanges: 'you're in my seat." "YOUR seat?? i don't see your name on it anywhere!"). Oddly enough, russian theaters also assign seats, but you can't choose where you sit. me and my friend definitely pissed some lady off by taking her seat (we only realized what we had done about halfway into the previews). I hope the germans you meet in the future will be a little more nett.

Suleyca said...

Buckets of water?? Yeah like you said, who does that? That is so crazy, but at the same time really memorable and something to laugh about later.

Tzeh said...

mmm, buckets of water. at least it wasn't piss.