I’m British and therefore my desire to discuss weather at every opportunity remains bubbling merrily under the surface. I can’t help myself, it’s simple genetics. I come from a long line of weather dominated conversationalists and it’s hard to fight the impulse to suddenly expound on the wonders of weather, or more to the point the exciting differences between the myriad kinds of rain that can be found within my former island home. That’s generally accepted among my ex-pat friends, this basic level of small talk is a good way to start the day.
Thankfully this is also an acceptable conversation starter among my Germanic friends and colleagues, just as long as I don’t push it too far into a full blown discussion on the merits of light and heavy rain. However, Germany has begun it’s own weather based obsession with the insane amount of snow fall in the first two months of the 2013. Fine, you might say, snow isn’t the worst thing that could happen. After all it’s not a flood or a hurricane. This is, of course, entirely true and I would be happy to believe you if it weren’t for the fact the I’m convinced that the German winter is trying to kill me.
It all started in November, or possibly late October, when the first snow hit hard. While all the local kids cheerily threw snowballs and skidded around my street I spent a sobering half hour digging out my car and realising that snow no longer equalled the halcyon days of my youth but instead meant a terrifying ordeal on the Autobahn. I should really have mentioned that I only recently passed my test (more articles to follow on that adventure) and snow driving had been covered but having never experienced it I really didn’t know what to expect. All I had to go on were rather terrifying warnings from my instructor and some equally terrifying pointers from my girlfriend. Something about breaking with the gears and the possible ramifications of fish tailing my car didn’t fill my soul with confidence, and there is nothing more disconcerting than to hear a loved one say, in a very serious tone ‘be really careful, it’s incredibly dangerous on the autobahn’. I got through my first baptism of, well, snow without to much incident but this appears to have only angered the German gods who now insist on testing my driving skill and levels of endurance by crapping snow on me at every turn.
Over time I have become fairly accustomed to dodgy snow filled roads and, in fairness, the infrastructure of Germany means that before long a snow plough and gritter will quickly do the rounds and clear up all the mess. What I can’t predict or factor into my daily commute is whether Captain Audi or Lord Admiral Mercedes will come bombing passed me at a speed of such terrifying levels it activates my fight or flight response and almost sends me barrelling into a ditch. After all, I drive a modest VW and those things ain’t built for fighting. They be built for flighting, not very quickly it has to be said but very economically.