Barbara's Away Game

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Columnist’s note: I’m sorry, no English posts in one month. I think nobody is reading my English stuff anymore, so I save the time and do other amusing things. I’m a little bit sad about that, because I always loved to translate. I know, sometimes it was funny English and sometimes really German-English. Is there anybody who wants to read more, please let me know, I instantly would start writing in your language again.

Don’t be shy, write an
e-mail, leave a note in the guestbook or even in the new shoutbox the Graugrüner Kasten. Guestbook and Graugrüner Kasten can be used anonymous


I am gone…

Human Dignity is Inviolable

Human dignity is inviolable; to respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority. Article 1, paragraph 1 of the German Constitution.

Article 1, paragraph 1!

Article II-61 of the European Constitution: Human dignity is inviolable. It shall be respected and protected.

Article II-61, anyway!

A proper equivalent in the Constitution of the United States is missing. There are basic approaches but no universal paragraph.

Who expects now an essay about humanity in the legislative or its realization in the executive will be disappointed although you could fill books with it.

Human dignity is inviolable. That just beforehand...

San Francisco is a fascinating city and as in all big cities we can find huge extremes of rich and poor. On the one hand cute Victorian houses and mansions with tiny towers, oriels and gardens shape the cityscape, on the other hand you see countless homeless and people on the edge of, no, much below under the breadline.

If you drive somewhere beyond the upper parts of the City you see lots of people with paper cups at crossings asking for some cents, one man, walking with a stoop and scuffing, pushes slowly a cart filled with all his belongings across the street, plastic bottles and cans in bags, taken out of trash tons in the hope to make some money with it. A woman in a wheel chair drives between the waiting cars, which stuck in traffic. She’s collecting coins. Her face has no wrinkles, her hair is well styled but I’m not able to rate her age. Again and again you see people sleeping at walls or relieving themselves at the same.

Human dignity is inviolable.

I have this sentence in my head while I let down my window to give a man who’s carrying a sign of paper with -I’m starving- on it some dollars. “Thank’s Ma’m!” “You’re welcome!” Without hesitation and deep out of my heart I answer but only because Nobbi is driving! Alone I would feel uncomfortable.

We use a parking lot on Mission Street right in front of some Mexicans who try to sell some stuff at the curb. One of them talks in Spanglish to us. He would like to have a dollar, he would look for our car while we are gone and he likes our dogs. He tries to pet Lissy, but she doesn’t like strangers. I say: “Please pet the other dog!” I promise him a dollar if the car is still there when we come back. He’s talking a lot I don’t understand, we are polite and joking and he promises that he will take care of our car.

We’re leaving and I’m looking automatically if I still have all my stuff. Pretty smart phone, purse, wallet and camera! Bad conscience? At most a bit!

We, Jonathan, Kyra, Nobbi and I want to have a look on some murals in Clarion Alley between 17
th and 18th Street in Mission District. It’s not an upper part of the City, and without real man on my side I wouldn’t leave the car. Latest here you understand the automatic lock of the car doors.




Mission district is an interesting part of San Francisco. Partly it smells like fresh burned weed or human urine. Sad guises, tourists and common inhabitants are in balance depending on the street. You can find very seedy parts and suddenly you find yourself in a better-shaped neighborhood. Colorful, mixed, crisscross garbled. My feelings turn from fascination about wonder to discomfort. Even this is America! We’ve seen it in many movies.

(You can find in San Francisco neighborhoods you better stay out if you are white. That is a description in one of my guidebooks. Mission District isn’t that bad!)

When we are back to the car the Mexican is happy to see us. The car is fine, he watched it all the time, he said. He gets his Dollar and is asking me a lot. If Jonathan is my niño and Kyra my daughter and so on...Suddenly I’m able to understand his Spanglish. I answer in English.


We drive across the city towards Pacific Heights an upper part of San Francisco to make a stairway walk. I recognize that it is much more likable to walk around without the worry that you don’t leave with all the things you brought. Somehow we all are musing about that. As we come to a construction zone with a Dixi toilet covered in wood, I already have the sentence in my head again:

Human dignity is inviolable.

It would disturb the urban image, if you look out of your mansion window towards a Dixi toilet. There is remedy.


Just a few minutes southwards live people on asphalt, they even don’t have a Dixi toilet and it seems there is no remedy at all.

Human dignity is inviolable.

You can read in Wikipedia that it means all human, independent from their background or other features like gender, age or shape, have the same worth, because they all have one worth protecting thing in common, the dignity!

I never want forget this! No matter if I’m in fear, scared, terrified, or even disgusted! Also if the human on the other side seems as he would have lost his dignity. Maybe it’s not to detect but eventually the dignity is the only thing he has left and exactly this makes it so hard to act unbiasedly.

Human dignity is inviolable; to respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority. Article 1, paragraph 1 of the German Constitution. It should be not only the duty of authorities. We all should respect it.

This is the important key-difference between America and Germany I always was looking for: Why I am happy and proud to be German? Because of article 1, paragraph 1 of our German Constitution!


I am gone…

Columnist’s note: This column is dedicated to all the victims of the century storm Sandy, for every single one...

...furthermore to Miri and Quique. They live in New York and without them I wouldn’t have written about Sandy.

In thankful cooperation with Quique:


Barbara’s Away Game featuring Quique

On Tuesday I got the question via mail if we have heard anything about Sandy. Frankenstorm out of USA’s view.

Of course! You can watch it in TV as well as in Germany.

I followed Sandy by the app of the German Tagesschau, the app of ABC 7 News and in the evening in the Nine o’clock News. This time there was almost no difference between the reporting of the broadcasts. Even the Tagesschau picks out sad stories of single victims and has a reporter standing in front of some flooded streets, dressed in a rain jacket and with blowzy hair. Only ABC 7 knots relations to the Bay Area, reporting about troops that prepares rescue like PG&E that sends cars and technicians to help fixing the power outages that will be expected and other helpers they already collected experience with hurricane Kathrina. Also they asked for blood donations.

Not until after the disaster news they celebrated the San Francisco Giants, which won the Baseball World Series.

I didn’t want to write about Sandy. This week I actually didn’t want to write a bit.

I was happy to hear something from Miri in New York. She lives in Upper Manhattan and I was a little bit concerned. She has a new blog,, and informed us that everything was OK, only her emergency water in the bathtub sloshed a bit, cause the storm moved the tower building and the light flickered. She had all the time power. Quique, my sons’ friend, lives and studies in Lower Manhattan at the New York University. He reported in Facebook and kept friends and family up to date.

His online-storm-diary, a live documentation of his odyssey is a distinguished contemporary document. That’s sensational reporting the crowd wants to read. He gave me his permission to write about it and now I try to create his story with his pictures and even partly with his words. All pictures and all
–Italic written words-: Thanks Quique!

Saturday 10/27 :

-Big Cloudy Apple-

Big Cloudy Apple
What a great pic, Quique.

The hurricane is still raging in the Caribbean. They report that 43 people died and Sandy gains power on her way to the US coast. Nobody is sure where she will hit the USA but all weathermen are sure that she will be strong and powerful and will leave a swath of destruction because she will meet a Nordic cold front and she will be one part hurricane and one part blizzard. Sandy, century super-storm, called Frankenstorm the monster storm.

Same evening an 7.7 earthquake shakes offshore the west coast of Canada. Tsunami hazard for Hawaii and North California is called out. Should really both coasts of the USA will be hit by strong nature disaster on the same day?

Sunday 10/28: No post from Quique, Hawaii evacuated the shoreline, the tsunami slightly swashed. There are only reports of heavy traffic jam in Honolulu and empty shelves in supermarkets. The wave in North California is only two feet high. Relief!

Monday 10/29:

-the calm before the storm-

Calm before the storm

It’s raining!

-woke up this morning hoping to see 70mph winds, cars being moved down 3rd Ave by the flood, hell, even animals getting blown away. All I found was some wind and a couple of drops of rain. You're such a disappointment, Sandy. Step up your game.-

woke up

Of course you don’t wish a disaster but if they promised a hurricane and you only get raindrops you just be honest if you speak about disappointment. It seemed that the news-people felt almost in a same way as they spoke about only a two feet tsunami.

There was no tsunami; sad to say that it was not only rain. Storm Sandy kept what she promised.

-that’s more like it-

Ast ab

-so much for a city that never sleeps-

After the ConEd explosion at PG&E in New York City the lights turn off in Manhattan. Quique is lucky. His dorm has an emergency generator, there is still light in hallways and the fire alarm is working. Other dorms without working emergency generator are evacuated.

Tuesday, 10/30:

Little bit storm sightseeing, friends and family are concerned. You should better stay inside!


-power is back in midtown, traffic lights aren’t-


-phone booths are cool again-


Wednesday, 10/31, Halloween:

In Miris tower little witches and monsters are knocking on the door: trick or treat. Little bit normality in Upper Manhattan in other parts of the city the chaos just starts.

Lower Manhattan, the water comes the power leaves. The emergency generator in Quique’s dorm gives up the ghost. If they can’t fix it his dorm will be evacuated too.

-No electricity, no running water, we have now entered survival mode-

no electricity

-Mass lootings in the Financial District, power's been down for 60 hours and counting, Third North's emergency generator is down. Chaos has officially taken over Lower Manhattan.-

-extraordinary situations bring people together. NYU students looking for a way out of the city-


Suddenly it became a disaster. After the power outage you are involved as person. The situation escalates and lucky are, who can get out.

Quique got a flight on Wednesday and was on his way to the airport to search refuge home in California. As long as there is no light in the University it will be closed.

There is a bus to JFK Airport which Quique took. Unfortunately the bus needed 5 hours and as Quique was at the airport the plane was gone since 10 minutes.

-Spending the night at JFK. This week I've gone from feeling like being in 'The Day After Tomorrow', to 'The Dark Knight rises', to 'I Am Legend', and now to 'The Terminal'. The next movie better be a happy movie set in Californian beaches.-

Oh man! Now he has to wait at the airport a whole night. Well, there is still running water and electricity.

-Tied myself to my bags using my power cord so that they wouldn't get stolen while I sleep tonight #refugeeproblems-


Friends and family sympathize on Facebook, in the news we can see that Quique counts to the lucky ones. Next day he catches his plane to San Francisco

Thursday 11/1:

Everybody is happy about his last post:


Some day there will be power again and the everyday life will be back in Lower Manhattan. Some day Quique will take the plane back to New York and will return to the University...

Breaking News!!!

While I pause with writing to take care of my family I get the note from Quique that in East Village, Quiques home in Lower Manhattan, the power is back. His dorm will be checked for security and after that it will be released for returning students. Quique sent me the information the students got.

It will take some time before our building is fully operating so we ask for your patience during these unprecedented conditions. IT MIGHT BE SOME TIME BEFORE ANYONE IS ALLOWED IN DUE TO FIRE AND SAFETY CHECKS (if you're here, you will not be able to re-enter the building if you leave). Here are some tips for settling back in:
Facilities & Water -All facilities requests must be submitted at the Resource Center (10am-10pm) until further notice. Please allow more time than usual for repair. -If your toilet is running when you return to your room please report this to the Resource Center immediately, this may cause flooding. -Run water from all faucets and shower heads for at least one minute or until water is clear before using or drinking
Electricity -Unplug all items before turning on a surge protector. Once you turn the surge protector on you may then plug items back in. -Wait 4-6 hours before restocking your refrigerator and/or freezer to ensure it is cold enough to maintain perishable goods
Cleaning -You are responsible for your own cleaning -Thoroughly check all food in your refrigerator and immediately dispose of all perishable items and all items that say "refrigerate after opening" -If you are unsure if an item is suitable for consumption, it should be disposed of. -Garbage should be thrown away as soon as possible. Bag all garbage in your room and then place in the larger garbage bag in the trash room. Garbage bags are available in the Resource Center

Touch base with your RA once you're back in your room so they know you're safely returned

Happy End after Quique took part of several action-movies? It seems so!

For thousands of victims there won’t be a Happy End. Many lost a lot and some of them everything.

I watched an interview in the German Tagesschau. There was a guy who owned a pub in Hoboken. He lost everything, house and business in Kathrina and started with the pub in Hoboken couple of years ago. Now the pub is flooded and he has nothing left. He looked tired but he said, he has luck, because he lost everything already in Kathrina, so he had nothing more to loose than this pub. Other guys lost now everything. He sympathizes with them, because he knows how that feels.

That’s America: roly-poly mindset and in the worst situation finding something positive. I take my hat off.

Quique thank you so much for your cooperation. East Village has the power back. I wish you no further collateral damage. Hope that the next movie you will be in is something like absolute boring „Hangover“ and definitely not a Roland Emmerich Production!


I am gone…’s the law II

Two years ago I wrote a German column; “’s the law”. It doesn’t exist a translation. Those days I wrote down my thoughts about your laws here in America and the omnipresent reminder: “’s the law!“ It’s a threat with an uplifted index finger, excuse for stupid rules and the desperate hope to keep order in society.

However, I hate this sentence, it makes me fear instead of respect your laws.

I decided to try not getting in conflict with it but sometimes it seems impossible. There are rules you have to break. Sure sometimes I unleash my dogs, sure sometimes I cross the street where’s not allowed and sure I don’t count on stop signs: one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi.

So far I had luck. I never was caught doing unlawful bagatelles.

Samuel had less luck; two speeding tickets in 8 weeks. That hit him hard. Speeding sounds pretty evil and it seems that it sure is evil in this country. The fines; 250$ and 295$. Well, he has to accept.

Now the sword of Damocles hangs above him. If he gets a further traffic ticket he could lose his California driving license. He tries hard to abide by any rules.

I don’t want to excuse the speeding tickets. Those are the rules and you have to obey.

End of August, Moritz was still in the country, the boys and a couple of friends thought: “Let’s do something proper! Let’s go hiking!”

Late-youth, mostly foolish in the head, on their way getting adult: Hiking! What a nice idea. No fooleries, no alcohol or even any other drugs.

I was surprised but delighted.

The silly thing is that you also have to follow rules if you do reputable activities. The guys picked out an open space preserve for their hike. You find their almost more rules than wild animals...


I always have to look if dogs are allowed or bicycles, we need trails, where both are allowed. That’s still more difficult to find. Then helmets are required, and dogs must be on leash, sometimes you need a six feet leash, sometimes it doesn’t matter, 15 miles per hour, not more even downhill and so on...Before starting your hike you have to study the permission signs and sometimes they change the rules on your path. Suddenly dogs or bikes are prohibited. In my first month in the USA I was really angry with that, in the meantime I only smile about it.

after 20 minutes they were not allowed anymore

But we were in the story of the boys. They were seven and went hiking. And because it was so beautiful, they sat down westwards watching the pink sunset.

This was the mistake!

As they left shortly after 8 the park they met a ranger who was waiting for them. 7 tickets! The charge: “Enter preserve after hour!”

Even that is not allowed. After sunset the park is closed; it’s the law!

Well, a ticket for late hiking, that can’t be so bad. The ranger told them that’s not a traffic ticket and the guys were angry but actually it seems to us more ridiculous than serious...

...until the ticket came with the mail. The ticket? The tickets! One for Moritz, one for Samuel and also the other five received the notice of bail, issued by the Superior Court of California. An absolutely regular ticket, only not speeding but hiking.

238$, in words: Twohundredandthirtyeight!!!


238 $ x7=1666 $ (If they entered the area with the car probably only the driver got a ticket, that would have been much less expensive.)

I miss the balance. Dumping trash and parking on a disabled parking lot costs 1000$, OK! Speeding and hiking is the same? No wonder that the juvenile crime is so high.

If I got charged for almost honest activities in the same way as for things they make really fun, it’s easy to choose...

It’s not over yet: Objection, your honor! Most of the boys will go to the court and try their luck.

Receiving the tickets was one of these moments I clearly quarreled with this country and its system. The delinquents show more defiance than acceptance, understandably!

I will further let Ceallagh off leash, when I don’t spot a ranger, but I always feel observed. Here in America I never felt really free and presumable I never will.

I miss the balance between lapse and penalty!

Besides I wonder why California is bankrupt…if you pay for little late hiking so much money?…Ah that’s also the answer; because they have to pay lots of people who track such minor misdeeds.


I am gone…

Drifting Away

When we flip through a photo album we see not exactly the reality, we see more or less the random collection of moments out of a reality.

If you are skillful you can bend it, stretch it or set up emphases. But in every single picture remains a short moment of truth.

I’m quite sure that longing sentimental movies in regional settings (in German: HEIMAT-Film, HOMELAND-Movie) don’t parallel the reality as well, but the moral inside; love, hope, longing!!! hits the point.

In the 50ies or 60ies Germany made a lot of such “HOMELAND-movies, maybe similar to the western movies here in America. The fashion and setting was different: The maids wore braids and in the background you always saw the beautiful mountains of the Alps. In my childhood I preferred the action of your horse operas.

Last week I was in Germany, my homeland. My views about home have changed since I left it.

In the series International Geograffities I show you out of my personal photo album a sentimental movie of my homeland, without braids and mountains but with cows and pretty green willows. Reality? Sure! But only a very small part of it. Really important were the things between the scenes.

International Geograffities
Drifting Away

The special at home is simply its normality.

Just a few impressions, what’s really going on you can’t see.


I am gone…

Power Outage

to Erik

Since I live in the USA I’m always looking for clichés. I love clichés! I’m happy about each I find to confirm it, but I’m happy either if I can rebut one as prejudice.

On the confirmation that power outages are typical American I’d rather have renounced and so far we were really lucky. Although there were strong winter storms which triggered outages in the neighborhood and other reasoned huge blackouts in July and August in Los Gatos we had power without a gap all the time. One exception; from time to time the microwave blows out the fuse. After that happened the first time we finally know where the fuses are, namely not only in the garage but also out of the house. We have three fuse boxes, now we got it!

But just because it never has happened it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. Friday noon the power was dead. The fridge didn’t make a sound anymore, the printer stopped printing and the Internet wasn’t working either. Sure, there was no light, but it was noon so this didn’t matter. We checked the fuse boxes, but here wasn’t the problem. It was a bigger blackout.

Nobbi was randomly at home. He made between Malaysia and Lake Tahoe a half-day break at home. (Why Tahoe I will tell you in the next column!) He logged in at the PG&E-site with his pretty smart phone. It still had Internet. There was a power outage described at Shannon Road, a technician troop was on its way.

We now have one and a half year this smart meter at the house. It should help to save energy and money and Nobbi has the theory that it reports automatically blackouts. If that is true, I don’t know, but it was relief to know that help is on its way. After three hours we had the power back, the fridge was luckily still cold, but above all I finally was able to go in the Internet again.

I was happy that we got off cheaply. I heard much more worse. That I can cut “power outage in the USA” from my imaginary “things that need to be experienced in the USA”-list make me happy on top of that.

I posted it on Facebook, to write a column about that it was not enough spectacular.

Nobbi drove in the Sierra and I was prepared for a calm weekend.

Sunday morning, I was still in bed but already in the internet (all the handy small web-enabled devices allow us already before the get up to connect with the world, amazing!) I heard a big boom.

The bang was similar to a fuse blow, unless much stronger. Power was dead! OK, I thought: “Morning! Get up to circle the fuse boxes round!” Somehow I walked to the power pole, it was the direction from which I heard the boom. I saw my neighbor on his deck, looking on even this pole. He had no power as well.

Once again! This time category two, because I still had no coffee in the morning. Friday I had some in the Thermos bottle, what lightened the affair. Now, at eight thirty on Sunday I didn’t have coffee and I was not able to make some.

“Well, then I take a shower to get awake, who knows how long the water will be warm?” I forgot that the water pump needs power to bring the water inside. Means; I was still able to wash the shampoo out of my hair but then the source run dry. “Oh man! I desperately need coffee!!!”

I planned a walk with the dogs to Starbucks, because the gate needs power too. On Friday Nobbi was able to open it, but I was too weak, no chance! I was trapped. The thought to walk half an hour without a square breakfast (who knows me well knows that these are only two cups of coffee, not more, but they are important for me to survive) was terrifying.

I had a better idea: camping stove, can water and push pot, everything all right! (greetings to the Hellwig-sisters, I love the push pot)


The search of the utensils, stove and denatured alcohol, needs almost the same time as walking to Starbucks but I didn’t know it before.

While I was sitting in the sun, drinking my truly earned coffee I heard the PG&E truck. Yeaaaaaahhh! I welcomed the technician with the words: “Hope you’ll be my Sunday morning hero!” He laughed and introduced himself as Erik, with K, his mother was quarter Swedish, a bit Russian and somehow German, she insisted on the K.


That promised to become yet again a nice Sunday. Small talk on our way to the pole, short embrace what he told me: “Presumable it was a squirrel, a big bang without a storm, ‘t was certainly a squirrel, maybe we’ll find it. On Friday that was something huge. Not a squirrel, a blackout from Hicks Road up all the way,...definitely not a squirrel.”

I asked him if he allows that I shoot some pictures and film a bit. I told him I want to write about it. From here on it was also for him a nice Sunday. Finally somebody who’s interest in his work and appreciates all the effort. We are now best friends!

He complained a little bit about all the trees, which make the work so hard, but he comprehends that you can’t cut down every tree. The people like trees. Putting all power lines under ground would be too expensive!

I’m really sorry I missed the final, suddenly I heard the fridge buzzing again and I knew: Erik did it!

Watch this:

International Geograffities
Power Outage

We were three hours without power. Erik fixed the fuse with a wire. We didn’t find the roasted squirrel, but Lissy scorned her breakfast. If there is any connection I don’t know, but I really can imagine.

As I told Erik that I only hear complaints about PG&E and I now made a complete different experience, he grinned and said:

“We try our best!“ “Sure! I saw it with my own eyes! You are my Sunday Morning Hero!”


I am gone…

Aachen is not America, once again...

to Moritz

Aachen is not America! It’s not really a saying in Germany, but it became a saying for me.

As Nobbi 1986 moved to Aachen to study physics at the university, I was very upset. After one and a half year weekend-relationship (due to his soldier time) to the greatest guy between Flensburg and Munich, no, in the entire northern hemisphere, I hoped he’s going to study in Cologne near my parents home, where I still lived in these days. I was so in love and just hoped we could see us more than two days a week.

Nobbi decided to study in Aachen, just an hour apart from Cologne, but I was 19, still in school, and one hour is a long journey for impatient young girls.

Nobbi’s mother called me, she said I shouldn’t make it so hard for her son and anyway: Aachen is not America!

I was a little bit dazed and took this message more as a threat than comfort.

The consequence was that I moved 1988 also to Aachen, where I took roots as well and became happy. So happy, that I never wanted to leave my new hometown again. Well, we did, 24 years later. We left Aachen to go to America! Coincidence or kismet? I don’t know. I only know that the phrase “Aachen is not America” came true. So true!

Just a side note: It’s not a secret, if I could choose; I would go back better now than tomorrow.

Aachen is not America!

So true! Yesterday I brought Moritz to the airport. He carried two huge bags and a backpack as luggage, all in all 100lb/ 45kg. That’s everything, the goods and chattels with which he has left his home, not like other young-adventurers to go in the huge wide world looking for freedom and the unknown, no, back in the city which his parents’ house left to go in the huge wide world. Moritz is going to study mathematics in Aachen.

Picture: Thank Simon!

Back from America to Aachen.

Moritz checked in at the frequent flyer counter without annoying waiting line but with stunning professionalism and coolness. I stood beside and was waiting for the last hug. First I was smiling and happy. “Goal reached!” I thought; the first son has left the home.

Please understand me in the right way. It was not my goal having the son out of the house, no! But it should be the goal of parents to release autonomous people happily in their own life.

So I did yesterday, with trust and certitude and even a little bit proudness. Yes, nevertheless I lost my frame shortly while I said “good bye”, but already in Half Moon Bay I won it back. After the airport I drove with pretty loud music to the beach; first of all it’s on the way home and second it helps celebrating moods.

Besides we will see us soon again. In two weeks I’ll be in Germany and will bring him one more bag and then, shortly later, it’s already Christmas.

Moritz, I hope you will enjoy your new life. Freedom, adventure and self-responsibility! Take care!


I am gone…

We Drove Them All


...or Nobbi’s weird hobby!

One day I just stopped writing about our cars and Nobbi’s motorcycles.

I felt awkward!

It’s obvious that we live here a life that’s not ours. We live in a huge house, in a gorgeous area and we enjoy. You could almost become accustomed with it, if there wouldn’t ... argh - doesn’t matter!

Sometimes I think we live a couple of shoe sizes too big.

Especially I come up with these ideas when Nobbi takes care of his hobby. Busy readers know what I mean: Buying cars!

An old German column, it doesn’t exist a translation, ends with the sentence:

It’s not the vehicle we need to drive, it’s just the feeling we need to be free and happy here in America.”

A beautiful sentence but I was never really committed to it. I grant Nobbi his hobby, but I can’t let him without making jokes about it, nagging when he makes a “shopping trip” and grumbling when he goes for it.

In this column I ignore the bikes. The garage is jam-packed. I lost the overview. I will concentrate today on the 4-wheeled motor pool in the light of the recent events.

The first three cars satisfied our basic needs. The Honda Odyssey serves as family car and dog chaise. It’s my car. The Mini was the cool car for the kids, t’was the school bus driven by Samuel. The Mercedes 450 SL, called Megan, was the Grand Dame of our cars, a convertible for the lover of old vehicles. The Mini became the enfant terrible; he needed already in his first year an expensive repair, because the clutch broke down.

Megan, white beauty, just slightly younger than me, developed soon symptoms of old age as pretty high oil needs and odd kinks as “dead engine anyway”, just to earn a little bit attention. Well, Nobbi gave her a chance. He petted her a bit, whereupon she started again but began drinking. From now on she wanted every 6 miles one whole gallon of fuel. However, she lost her winsomeness and was deported in the garage, where henceforth chipmunks used her as acorns-reservoir.

Shortly before Moritz got his driving license the Mini left us a second time. Broken engine – shit happens!

Now we had only one car left, four driving licenses, the valley is wide and the ways are far.

Nobbi was allowed to go for car-hunt, with my OK and Moritz’ help. Time was running, because one car on the top of our hill was really too little.

They were successful. They bought even two cars at one weekend. Both were English-green, the BMW was for Moritz, the Mercedes for Nobbi.

AUS_159_02 AUS_159_03

They are all old vehicles but they work well, so well that the Mercedes earned this summer the title of “Mr Reliable” while he has taken Moni and Oli more than 1000 miles to and through the desert. He never failed.

The decision to give the Mini an exchange-engine was a pure gut decision of the responsible men. I believe in gut decisions and so the beloved car confirmed the title enfant terrible. Better we leave a cost-value-record and we also shouldn’t discuss the question if it was a mistake. He’s still stubborn.

The car pool is huge, quite sufficing, but there were still some open childhood dreams.


Boys!!! I don’t need to say one word more!

I’ll spare you my reaction and don’t want to go in depth. Just: I think it’s absolutely not needed! The boys are happy with the new toy. I don’t believe in the criterion of good investment. That’s nonsense!

Decadence or madness... or do we have a compensation issue?

Nobbi, other men are playing golf..., yes, that’s maybe too time-consuming, a little bit boring and not entirely your style. I see!

Well, we live here not for the eternity; we want to enjoy the time we have. OK, that was the deal!

Now the first vehicle left the car pool, cause the driver is going to leave us on Wednesday. Moritz goes back to Germany. Here he doesn’t need a car anymore.

The BMW is gone.

The goodbye-ceremony was a funny car-tetris game in our yard. Best wishes from here to Malaysia, Nobbi couldn’t participate.

Moritz, I hope you had enjoyed having an own car as driving-license-newcomer. In Germany the reality is waiting: busses and trains, long board and bicycle. The environment will appreciate.

6 cars, we drove them all. It’s time to say good bye. The BMW is gone!