Friday, July 28, 2006

Pilsner and brats at Hockenheim (or reflections of things past)

I am in the downward spiral at the moment of reflecting a lot on opportunities missed. Options that presented themselves in the past and I never took. And not that I regret this, at least I’m trying not to because it’ll drive me crazy and essentially it’s up to me to create favourable situations in my life, for which I have the ultimate power to do so. Of course those little things called money, a job, responsibilities and obligations, etc do tend to limit the ability to simply pack up one’s belongings and head off into the sunset to find one’s fame and fortune. Regardless my mind has been doing a Marcel Proust on me and as race day looms at the Hockenheimring I am painfully reminded of passing it almost every day and despite mine and Keith’s constant “we really should go and watch a Formula 1 race there”, never managing to actually go and see a race despite living a mere ten minutes away. Well, perhaps closer to twenty minutes but driving at 120 mph on A6 distance soon becomes irrelevant. Although I did notice that there was actually a speed limit of 120 k for about five miles running parallel to the race track. The polizei must have field days with all the boy racers (and one particular English blonde) who fancy themselves as racecar drivers. Not that speeding is the sin that it seems to be here in the US. I lose track of the times I was stopped for speeding, although ironically I was typically stopped for doing two miles over the speed limit (we were in Germany after all) rather than simply trying to kill myself at breakneck speed on the Autobahn, and was merely given a pitiful look by the polizei, (I was driving under US Army plates); his thought process clearly “Americans! They cannot drive. It is only natural that they should wish to prove themselves by trying to take over a German manufactured BMW in their ugly American Ford that might sound impressive but is in actual fact pathetisch,” (please note that I did not drive a Ford - I don’t “do” American cars - but overtaking a BMW in a VW Golf is entirely doable and so didn’t fit with the story)…Anyway I completely digress. Needless to say that I merely spent a lot in speeding fines during my years in Heidelberg and yet the first time I got stopped for speeding in the US they fined me stupid amounts and made me go to a two day driving school! And still I digress. The point is I am really glad that now, once again living in the reasonable proximity of a F1 track (alright, so it’s an hour and a half as opposed to ten minutes but I’m in America. Everything’s bigger) I seized the opportunity and actually did what I said I always wanted to do and went and saw the US GP. Somehow though, the memories of attending big events in the Mannheim area, always accompanied by good Pils and bratwurst in brotchen, serve only to remind me how much I loved living there and despite what people think, that the Germans really do know how to party. Or perhaps they just know how to drink and so everything just goes downhill, or uphill, from then on.

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