While making fun of America is fun (and generates hate mail, added bonus) I don’t want anyone to have the impression Europe, specifically Germany, is without its quirks.
So let’s jump right in shall we …
The music is bizarre.
Its 5:30 p.m. on a Friday and you and your co-workers are meeting for a ‘let loose some steam’ beer at your favorite German pub. One minute, while waiting on your friends to show up, you’re grooving on some cool, never before heard pop song on the radio desperately hoping your soundhound application will let you know who the artist is and the next goddamn minute it’s fucking 1975 and Paul Anka is ‘having my baby’ and I’m having a shit fit because why the hell would those two songs ever be played back to back?
Welcome to European radio.
German radio seems, to my American ears at least, to make no damned sense at all. One minute you’re listening to newest, coolest song ever and the next minute you’re in the middle of a Twisted Sister revival.
Pick one goddamn type of music German radio station and STICK to it!
The toilets are well …
Before I wrote this part about German toilets, while planning the next few paragraphs in my head, a little voice said, “are you SURE that’s the reason they are designed that way? Yeah we’ve always been told that’s the reason but do we KNOW that’s the reason?”
Let me explain.
Poop talk follows and I’m sorry.
German toilets are designed with a small shelf that literally catches your poop for, and I’m not kidding, health reasons.
Okay I understand that’s a wiki stub and I understand what the note “citation needed” means but if anyone has a different explanation I’m all ears. Maybe those shelves are for books, papers, printed out blog posts from this site so that critics can say, “I literally shit on what you just wrote!” Maybe it’s so when … look it’s called a poop shelf for a reason.
And at a certain level it’s another example of those damned clever and practical Germans. That’s really kind of brilliant.
A good friend of mine, an American that utilizes German health care system, said he loves his relationship with
his doctor. It’s very personal, he explained. The doctor knows him so well he’s even, according to my friend, able to tell when he’s stressed out or just isn’t feeling that well.
My doctor, who I also like, starts a stop watch I think when I arrive.
Doctor: What’s the problem? (clicks stop watch)
Me: My toe hurts
Doctor: Broken toe
(Tape, tape, tape)
Doctor: NEXT! New clinic record bitches, less than 45 seconds!
Point is German health care may indeed allow for conversations about poop formation, color and for all I know location on the shelf.
German Patient: I’m not pooping center poop shelf anymore.
German Doctor: What, this is terrible!
German Patient: I know!
German Doctor: Poop misalignment is a leading cause of … okay who are we kidding, you want a few days off right.
German Patient: shit you’re right
German Doctor: Fine but let’s leave the profanity out of it.
As clever and practical as that may be sometimes my American brain takes over I want to poop into a 50 gallon drum where I will never me confronted face to face with what was, three hours ago, a great bratwurst and 3 beers.
Do I need to tell anyone here what having poop underwater vice exposed to the air does for the, shall we say bouquet?
If there are no closets, what the hell do gay Europeans come out of at the age of 23?
I live in a four bedroom, hell if you want to get a bit creative five or six bedroom house. That’s right America, while sucking off of your hard-earned tax dollars (take that Kat … scroll down to the comments) I’m over here living in a fucking mansion with servants, a Mitt Romney inspired car elevator and
… okay no I don’t
While I’ve heard that the reason European houses don’t, as a rule, have closets is that the ‘closet is considered a room for tax purposes. I doubt that’s true but the point is their houses generally don’t have closets, not the way we think of them at least.
So how many bedrooms do I have? Two. I’ve lived in 3 houses in Germany and one Italy, total “no shit that is a closet and not a room closets” in those houses? None.
So what happens? What do you do? Those extra rooms, they become the closets. One, likely two rooms become places where all your clothes go. That and you buy the European version of a closet, a shrunk, a chest or just a giant against the wall thing. Which again on some level makes sense, you go to a store and you buy an item that goes up against the wall of your house and you pick one that makes sense to you. But I gotta say the American system just makes SHIT easier.
Kitchens and light fixtures
We American military and government civilians living in Europe lead sheltered lives here*. We do. People can and do, sadly, spend entire tours here venturing no further into German culture than their drive to work. Like any part of the world, except that one place (you know the one), Europe is steeped in culture and filled with mystery and awe behind every twist and turn of the road.
Mysteries like why the fuck Europeans insist on raping the kitchen and every light fixture in the house when they move.
European kitchens are modular kinds of things, unlike our ‘fuck you I’ll get moved with you remodel or burn me down for the insurance money’ American kitchens. If you rent, or buy , a German house you start with a blank room. Hot and cold water hook ups coming in and a drain hole in the wall for water going out, electrical outlets and that’s it. No countertops, hell nothing even to hold up a counter top. I mean I get taking your fridge, your dishwasher and if you’re really pleased with it your stove but literally EVERYTHING?
So if you’re putting in a modular kitchen, think this through, it’s likely purchased from Ikea and where do you think on the durability lies on a scale of one to 10? If you guess somewhere around a knob falls off if harsh language is used around it — have a beer, you’re right.
Yes, yes there are gourmet European kitchens and people that have KICK ASS kitchens but the crap we end up renting usually has no drawer that ever closes quite right and the counter height was designed for use by midget dwarfs.
Don’t get me started on light fixtures. Europeans when moving take them when they move. I have negotiated with at least two previous tenants about purchasing their light fixtures and discovered that men left to buying light fixtures don’t really give a shit. The conversation goes this way, “and I paid 5 euro for that light, and 6 for that one and oh boy we got crazy in this room, that fixture is 10 euro.” It ended with me handing over 50 euro because I really don’t want to spend a day buying and hanging up new light fixtures either.
*We’re sheltered here because we generally have access through our base housing office to landlords that understand we’re retarded/lazy Americans and want our kitchens to have counters and our rooms to have light.
Everything is FUCKING expensive
The average cost of a pint of beer in the United States $1.83, the average cost of in Germany $3.37* and HOLY SHIT THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY!
Putting aside the discussion of which currency is stronger than the other and ignoring the general idiocy of people like this model, one euro is at the moment of this writing is worth about $1.32. Meaning something that costs €100 ends up costing $132.00 is good hard American cash.
Then there is VAT. The Value added tax in Germany is 19% which goes toward such programs as …
(left for three hours to play Skyrim)
Stupid Grey Beards, those guys suck.
Value added taxes are used to subsidize poop shelves and doctor patient discussions of poop for all I know. Point is crap here is expensive.
Yes, I know, I know you can and should use a simple and easy to use VAT form to avoid the tax**. But for a purchase under like $100 it’s not worth it. I tried it at my favorite bar. The tab was €46 (or $60 with VAT no tax saves me an amazing $11 dollars).
Me: Can I use a vat form?
Hans: Fuck you Todd, €60
Me: That’s like 11 dollars!
Hans: Do we have to do this every time dude? Just pay the tab.
Me: Well then FUCK your tip
Hans: Dude stop tipping in Europe, you look like a douche every time you do it.
Me: I hate you.
Hans: See you tomorrow?
Me: Of course.
* The German beer verses U.S. beer price, while fun, was gathered through a ‘shit ton’ of retarded Google searches … your own price may very
** VAT avoidance IS easy in Germany. In Italy you have to leave your first born child at the store, drive to Rome (which is a bitch from Sicily) sacrifice a goat and then two-years later your purchase arrives at your door, after you’ve moved. They also keep your kid.