Tag Archives: Idiots

Hit me with your selfie stick

Go on. I dare you. It’s not that I think people need an excuse to take down anybody seen with a selfie stick, but German law enforcement might look on me a bit more kindly if I were (properly) provoked.

OK, so this isn’t limited to Berlin; it could apply to any city that attracts a decent amount of tourists. But Berlin is my city and with 12 million visitors in 2014, I thought it might be about time to share my feelings with the twatty tourist who thinks that his or her idiotic face in front of some monument/building they haven’t even looked at is more important than me going about my daily business. (Clue: it isn’t.)

NEIN.
NEIN.

Back when I was earning rather a stupid amount of money for doing a not very important job, I used to travel by myself quite a lot. While I’m not a huge fan of seeing myself in photographs, after a while I began to realise that I had all of these amazing photos and I hadn’t appeared in one of them. I could have just downloaded them off the internet and pretended I’d been to all of those places – if I was that way inclined.

In the (good) old days, this was where some random helpful soul would step into your life. In halting “insert language here”, you’d attempt to communicate while pointing first at the camera and then at some attraction you wanted to ruin by standing in front of it. As a lone traveller, these little exchanges could make your day. To be fair, you probably still looked like a bit of a tool, but at least there was some kind of human interaction involved. And brightening up some auld lad’s holiday by convincing him that the blurry mess you were looking at was “really good! No, really! Perfect!” just added to the experience.

It seems that those days are gone though. Selfie sticks and pointless posing are taking over the world and it offends me enough to have caused the odd rant to those within earshot.

Me: God, I HATE selfie sticks. 

Poor long-suffering Nigel: I don’t know. They have their uses. 

Me: WHAT?! We can no longer be friends. 

PL-SN: No, wait. Hear me out. 

Me: (picking up handbag and preparing to vacate in dramatic fashion) Go on… 

PL-SN: Well, when I see someone with a selfie stick, I instantly know that they’re a total penis and I don’t have to waste any time on them. 

Me: Huh. You might actually have a point there. 

PL-SN: What are you doing? 

Me: Writing down “selfie stick = total penis” – I might use it in a blog post some day. 

PL-SN: You’re weird. 

Total penis. And me.
Total penis. And me.

Yes, I have been known to take the odd silly photo but at least I wasn’t in anyone’s way at the time. And I’d rather photograph a penis any day than look like one. Who’s with me?

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There is something worse than naked neighbours

The last thing on earth I wanted to see on Tuesday morning was an angry Hildeberta with a pen and paper in her hands. Groan. Was the dreaded cleaning rota finally going to materialise? I ventured a little closer with a cheery “Good morning!”, and peered at what she was writing. “Lieber Nachbar…” Phew, it seemed I was off the hook.

Me: What’s happening? 

Hildeberta: DID YOU HEAR ME LAST NIGHT? 

Me: (backing slowly away) Ummmm… 

It emerged that, in a fit of rage, she’d stomped upstairs in her pajamas to deal with our insanely noisy neighbours. I had actually heard our front door opening at around 1am but as I was nice and warm in my bed, I just thought, “Sod it. Let the bloody burglars come to me. I’m not moving.” I nodded off again a few minutes later.

Meanwhile, Hildeberta had been banging away on the neighbours’ door, determined to have it out with them. She said she could hear them talking in rather coarse German, tiptoeing around for a bit, and then all was quiet. So she came back downstairs and went to bed again. Having got no satisfaction (duh nuh nuh) the night before, she was now writing a note to them in VERY SHOUTY LETTERS.

The truth is, this has been going on for months now but, as Germans are oh so polite, we didn’t do anything about it. I had previously offered to be the short, silent, crazy-eyed sidekick to Hildeberta’s dignified lead – think Joe Pesci and Robert de Niro in Casino – but my flatmates had turned me down.

You see, there are laws against this sort of thing in Germany. Between 10pm and 6am, you’re not supposed to do anything that could disturb your neighbours in any way. This includes, but is not limited to, hoovering, turning on your washing machine, blaring your TV, and revving your car engine. I have even heard of the police being called on a crying baby. And while Berlin is generally rather lax with this sort of stuff, our neighbours are a pretty extreme case.

I put forward several theories as to what could be going on up there, but as my macabre imagination freaked out Hildeberta and Hildegard, I’ve toned it down to what is probably the most likely one. So here it is – Gebhard’s Guide to Driving your Neighbours Crazy:

1. Look at your watch and realise that it’s around midnight.

2. Put on your hobnail boots.

3. Proceed to line dance for 30 – 40 minutes.

4. When you’re good and warmed up, move every piece of furniture in your flat to a new position.

5. Jump off every piece of furniture while still wearing your hobnail boots.

6. Repeat.

Luckily for Gebhard, Hildeberta and Hildegard are extremely well-mannered individuals with the patience of saints. I, on the other hand, am not. This has led to me jumping up and down, banging on the ceiling with a sweeping brush in my hand while roaring obscenities at night, and “treating” Gebhard to my version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” at the top of my voice first thing in the morning. However, it seems that none of this has had any effect whatsoever.

Hildeberta dropped the note up on Tuesday morning. As I sit here writing this, 2 Unlimited are blaring from on high, and Gebhard is having what sounds like multiple seizures (in hobnail boots) directly above my head. (Although, if I were forced to listen to 2 Unlimited at that volume, I’d probably have a seizure too.)

So it seems he’s not just an inconsiderate moron, he’s an inconsiderate moron with embarrassingly poor taste in music. It’s now around 9.30. At 10.01, I’m going up there. Now, where’s my pen…