Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Germans Say the Darndest Things

Yesterday I was having lunch with G4 and we were talking about Italy. He told me about the time he went to Rome for a day because he was able to fly for free on one of those discount European Airlines. I told him I had been to several cities in the North, but I would like to return and visit Naploli, because that is where my family is from.

"Ah," he said. "Mafia."

"Excuse me?" I said.

"Well, you must face your history," said this guy, this German to me.

"Yes. Excellent. And should we talk about facing your history?"

Here's something else you should know about Germans, for anyone playing along with the "Me and My German" home version: Germans take birthdays very seriously. I knew that Germans will not wish someone a Happy Birthday before the actual day; it is considered bad luck. However, last week, when Kari's birthday package arrived, G4 was standing around as I opened it. I explained it was a package filled with birthday gifts.

"What?" he said. "But your birthday is not until Sunday."

"Yes, I know."

"So, you can open it then." I laughed and gave him one of those, 'Oh, you silly Teuton!' waves of the hand.

I started to paw around in the box. G4 was scandalized. "Here. I will take it and bring it to your party on Saturday night. Then, you can open it on Sunday." I don't know if he was kidding or not, but he grabbed the box and started to pull it away from me. Now, I love these crazy Germans and I'd let them get away with a lot of shit, but this guy would have had an easier time pulling a T-Bone away from a stray dog than taking back a present from me. I grabbed the other end of the box and pulled, yelling his name. He surrendered, possibly upon seeing the feral look in my eyes. Later he made some comment like, "So, here you are celebrating your birthweek." Yes, yes. Now you're getting it! Because I am American and I am special and entitled. Please, do not restrict doting on me and feting me to just one day.

On Friday, Der Man sent an email with birthday wishes with the subject line "Do not open until Sunday January 29." That one lasted in my inbox for about 45 minutes. So you see, with age I am developing more self-restraint.


lebrookski said...

germans take their birthdays really seriously...seriously...

however, the way that i see it, they have no say when the birthday and birthday person in question are in the united states.

luckily all of my german friends are in germany...and when they send me birthday gifts that arrive before my birthday...

well, what they don't know won't kill them...or me

Cupcake said...

I am so glad this is an actual phenomenon and not just an idosyncratic quirk of my guys. Do they also get on you about cleaning your plate? Bad weather and all that...

Cupcake said...

Oops. It seems like in my zealous prattling on about Brokeback Mountain I have given G4 the idea that "kissing cowboys" is acceptable slang for any gay couple. He just told me he saw some kissing cowboys at Logan Airport yester. "But I don't think they were cowboys," he said.

Joshua said...

That's pretty good slang though. I've already been hearing people refered to as "Brokebacks." Kissing cowboys is funnier.