Harry Potter and his crew of meddling Gryffindors are coming to a big screen near me… and I have tickets! Yeah, yeah I know it is a bit childish to be so excited, especially when this movie is about the book I liked the least out of the series. But I really enjoy Harry’s world, and I look forward to stepping back into it this evening.
Tonight will also serve as another milestone. This evening after work as I make my way to the Harry Potter flick, Mimi (the name of my Vespa Scooter… don’t you name your vehicles? you don’t? silly you, it’s more fun) and I will have logged a total of 3,000km (1,184 miles) since we being rescued from Scooter Hell in the fall of 2007. As we rolled to a stop this morning, her odometer read 2,999.06. All of that and my butt isn’t even sore!
Speaking of Mimi adventures (and really, there are many although I don’t chronicle them here for fear that my Sweet No will read them and forbid me from riding.), this morning I was getting petrol/gas/benzine (yeah, one five liter tank lasts over a week – love it!) I pulled up alongside a sexy-looking Mercedes two-seater. Behind slinky and brown was a 50-ish looking man holding a gas nozzle in that position which I’ve always thought was slightly suggestive.
As I hopped off and stowed my helmet I realized that he was scrutinizing me. When I reached up for a paper towel to help control drips while filling I stole a glance his way and I caught him unabashedly staring at me. OK, no worries… I just stared right back at him as I returned to the scooter. Mimi got her fill of gasoline and I went inside to pay. Walking out I was shocked to see that he was strolling directly toward me, still staring intently, with his body between me and the scooter.
With a raised eyebrow I asked him (auf Deutsch of course) if I could help him, as he was now in my way. He told me that he had something to discuss with me. I motioned to follow and then walked around him in an attempt to get back to Mimi and a possible weapon if need be – just joking there.
Soon I was listening to a long diatribe about how I had picked the wrong type of gasoline to put into the scooter. It seems that Mimi was getting the store brand which was designed for “special vehicles” with a number rating of 100 (who knows if it is an octane rating or not – Germany doesn’t have “must display octane ratings” rules like America) and it simply would not do to put it into my Vespa. I didn’t know the word for Octane so my response was probably rather cloudy to him, but my explanation centered around the fact that my scooter gets high octane gas (as recommended by the manufacturer) so that it goes faster and starts more smoothly.
Mr. slinky car seemed to accept my not-necessarily coherent explanation and went on his way which relieved me as he was really intense and even though he was nicely dressed, his way of acting was a bit strange to me.
Which begs the question… Why do Germans feel that it is their right – no, duty – to tell me what they think I am doing wrong? Crossing the street against the light, standing on the bus in the wrong area, queuing incorrectly (perceived) for the grocery store, biking on the sidewalk on my way to park, all of them are a reason for telling me what they think I should rather be doing. Ask any Ausländer Mother (from another country) about walking the streets of Berlin and being told that her child needs a hat, doesn’t need a hat, should have a coat, shouldn’t have a blanket, too much wind will give the child who knows what ailment, or even just that they shouldn’t have a child that small on the back of a bicycle regardless of the efficiency of a child chair.
What makes Mr. I drive a piece of German engineering perfection such an expert about my Italian scooter when I’m quite positive that he’s never been on such a low-tier vehicle in his adult life?