Friedrich Nietzsche once said of the Germans that “…this people has deliberately made itself stupid, for nearly a millennium: nowhere have the two greatest European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity, been abused more dissolutely.”
And who am I to disagree with the great man himself?
Many moons ago I lived in a village called Eisingen, in the Black Forest, in Germany. The village was quite small and, like many villages in the area, had it’s own vineyards. The wine was of a good quality, especially the rare ice wine. A warning to the uninitiated: Ice wine is pricey due to its rarity, and highly alcoholic.
The people in the area of Germany known as Swabia are even more anally retentive than your average German. Hard to believe, I know, but I swear it is true. There are regulations when and where you are allowed to wash your car or have a barbecue. Fifty year old women will wander the streets, apparently innocently walking their dogs, seeking out those evil -doers who would dare brake such vital rules. They will seek evidence of detergent on the roads to see if there has been any illegal car washing, or sniff the air like a dachshund, to determine if someone is daring to grill sausages on a day that this is not permitted on. If their investigations uncover such dastardly deeds, off they scurry to report the fiends who would so flagrantly poo-poo the rules and regulations.
These same women also enjoy leaning out of the window of their family home to peer out into the street, watching the activities of their neighbours. This can be quite uncomfortable, but fear not, they come prepared. A pillow is used to protect the elbows during this marathon act of blatant voyeurism.
Love thy neighbour? Sure, as long as they sweep the pavement in front of their home on a weekly basis, but do not do so on a Sunday.