The following is the first of a series of excerpts from the forthcoming untitled Tanktronic book, due out this winter. In this excerpt, I reflect on my short time living in Stadthagen, a small town in Germany.
I lived in one of the town’s two hotels, in the one room they had that loosely resembled an apartment, complete with a kitchen fully stocked with pots and pans – but no stove or oven. That pretty much summed up the spirit of Stadthagen – accommodating and quirky. I made my three minute commute to the office in my rented small Mercedes, a name brand which is more Chevrolet than Cadillac in Germany. I managed to find a couple young adults [and one child, embarrassingly] outside the office who spoke English fluently, and they gave me some sense of friendship and normalcy over the weekends.
There was the curt but warm-hearted Friederike, the first person I met who spoke English – which was like finding someone in the desert in possession of a jug of cold water. I best remember her for her summarization of the pigeon races her father would hold around Germany. When I asked if all the birds always made it home, she said plainly, without emotion or irony, “…there were always victims”.