A common trait among Germans is to be prepared for all situations. Sure, most Americans like to be prepared as well, but Germans take it to a whole new level. I’ve never heard a German say “Let’s wing it” in any situation. Having to act without forethought is considered unwise and our natural inclination to take a leap is met with hesitation or outright refusal from a German. Of course, from person to person, this can vary. I have many German friends that have a more relaxed approach. But, I have also run across many who cannot veer from the predetermined course and get quite nervous, upset or even angry. Das Geht nicht! (It does not work!) is the battle cry for those who refuse to bend.
It’s not all bad to have solid principles and rules to keep the world moving nicely. It can just get comical or frustrating at times, especially when this same society does not queue!!! I just returned from the grocery store which is the sorest point for me and many Americans–it’s every man for himself. I have to put my game face on there or I will be crushed by some old lady. So, today at the grocery, I noticed a bright red First Aid Kit and I thought of the dwindling collection of band aids and ointment that I keep in my handbag. So, with a nod to German preparedness, I purchased it to keep in my car for life’s little emergencies. Unfortunately, the German idea of preparedness is different from what I had in mind. I opened up the package to find a reflecting orange vest, 17 (really) types of bandages, and…….forceps. No antibiotic ointment, no burn cream, no ibuprofin, no antiseptic solution, etc. The good news is that we now have enough gauze if Nora or Jack wants to be a mummy for Halloween. And, perhaps with the forceps, I could start an amateur surgery in my car, while I wear the orange vest, of course. Don’t worry, I have watched “ER” and “Scrubs” many times so I know just what it takes to act like a surgeon.