The Germans are very particular

16
Jun
2011

One of the things that I have noticed here (that I always notice when I come here) is how very particular Germans can be about everything. For them, there is always a right way (and even more so a wrong way) to do something, and I always feel a little bit awkward here in ways I don’t in other places. One of the things that is always great about staying with Olaf is how much of a family spirit pervades his house. Everyone always eats together, and everyone always busies themselves helping out with whatever there is to do. I try very hard to make myself useful in whatever way I can, as is only right when you are a guest in someone’s home. That said, when things aren’t done the “right” way, it is pretty obvious. It might be something as simple as the thickness of a vegetable slice, what kind of plate was chosen for the meal, or the placement of a glass. Easy-going is not a word one would ever apply to people here. And as I have noticed in cultures around the world including my own, people tend to think that the way they have learned to do things is obvious, and universal. People have a very hard time seeing how strong a role culture plays in the idea of the “right” way to do something. They think what is second nature to them after years of societal conditioning is clearly the “natural” order of things.

Comments

  1. mom says:

    This is what I referred to in “God and Country” as a paradigm, or worldview.

    That said, there is only ONE way to fold a towel, dammit!

  2. Jan says:

    Hi Steve

    We must have been in Germany at the same time. I am now in Lucerne, but leave tomorrow.

    How can you not have realized about the right way to do things, when your mother re-folds incorrectly folded rags?

    Jan