This is the first in a string of posts where I will discuss daily situations that keep reminding me that, despite my German passport, this is not my home.
After picking up our the kids from school, we were cruising back home in our car. As we turned into our street, my wife asked me to stop because she wanted to buy some stamps from the post office. There was no parking, and since I knew it was only for a short time and that the street was wide enough, I double-parked.
After a few seconds another car turned into the street, a grey Volvo SUV. The driver, a man in his fifties, stood his car behind our car, and after some seconds started honking. I pulled the window down and waived for him to go, but he didn’t believe that he had sufficient space. I exited the car and tried to show him the way with my hands. When he was nearly there i returned to our car. The man, who was sitting with another female in the car, drove until our windows were parallel.
He rolled down his window, and so did I, and then he started shouting at me why I was parking like that, and that in Germany you don’t do double parking unless it’s an emergency, and that it is Germany and I shouldn’t comply anymore the rules of the country I was coming from. His face was red like a cherry and he was spitting saliva as he was screaming, and you could spot any vein in his forehead. I was just wishing that my wife wouldn’t show up in the midst of this. It breaks her heart when I am recounting to her such scenes, but when she actually see them, she is losing her nice Rhine background and turns into an IS fighter with a vengeance.
Fortunately, he moved on before she emerged. For a few more seconds, it was still echoing in my head that he was addressing me with „Du“ despite the fact that the teacher in my integration course kept reminding us that in such situations, man should always use „Sie“. I recalled how tricky and complex was this segment of the language for me, and I was wondering if there is more rules here, that they don’t instruct you in the integration class: that if you talk to people who are visibly not Germans, you can treat them like shit.
Anyway, my wife bought the stamps, I pushed the accelerator, and drove about fifty meters. There was a vehicle double parking in a way that even a bicycle couldn’t pass. It was a grey Volvo SUV. The owner was outside, waiting for his turn to shop in the bakery.