An Actress's Thoughts

Blimey, this is so German…

Blimey, this is so German…

July 26, 2015 – Today’s text is about water. An d running. And a situation that is typically Geman.

Some of you may already know that I started running a year ago (Write a Blog and Ride a Porsche). I usually run 5,000 m, and have already participated in a few running events, actually only just yesterday! The 24th City-Night Berlin was held on the Kurfürstendamm (which is a really big and famous street). In our event we ran 2.5 km back and forth on a blocked part of the Ku’damm without cars – motivated by several samba groups and people lining the route.

After crossing the finishing line, we were greeted by volunteers with water, tea and beer (or non-alcoholic beer? I don’t know, I only drank tea and water). On the one hand I must say that I am always thrilled by how well these events are organized and how many people help, without whom the whole thing would not be possible. On the other hand I can’t help noticing the large piles of rubbish.

Intersport Olympialauf, Berlin.

Intersport Olympialauf, Berlin. Photo: SchspIN

There are plastic cups for the beverages, bio waste (because very often the runners are offered fruit, e.g. bananas, pieces of pineapple or melon) and paper (from distributed adversiting). So far I have not been at a running event which had organized waste separation. But that is a different matter.
Back to the City Night. So, I was crossing the finishing line, was handed my certificate and moved on to the tables with the water cups.

  • I: (take one) Thank you! (drink the water and hold the cup in the direction of a volunteer lady) Could you please fill it up again?
  • Volunteer: (hands me a full cup) Here you go!
  • I: Oh just pour it into my cup then you can use that one again.
  • Volunteer: (wants to put the full cup into my emty one)
  • I: No, just the water!
  • Volunteer: Alright. (pours the water from her cup into mine). But I have to throw it away anyway.
  • I: What?
  • Volunteer: Yes. We have to. That’s how we were instructed.

At this point maybe I should add that the volunteer was wearing rubber gloves. And that of course she had touched her cup only from the outside. That is to say that she took the cup with her glove-covered hand from the table, slightly tilted it to pour the water into my cup and then threw the empty cup into a bin. A cup that had been touched neither my hands that had run 5.000 m nor by my mouth. Not even our two cups had contact.

  • I: Aaaaaaaah!!!!!! This is so German!!!!!!!

No, this is not true. After all, I had just run 5.000 m. So I did not shout. Which I would not have done anyway. I spoke very quietly and moved on to the next table, the next volunteer. And filled my cup from one of the cups there. And the volunteer filled it up again and put it back on the table.

But still. What an instruction. What a waste. Absolutely incomprehensible. And of course there will always be people that go by these rules. As there will always be people that abide rules – or unwritten laws – in the film and TV industry (one example: TV ratings and lack of risk taking) or elsewhere, without even questioning the rule in the least. People who most of the times have no idea what the rule is for or what it should prevent. Who are satisfied that there is a rule and go along with it. ‘That’s how it is done’. And this is something I would call very German.

Foto: SchspIN

Photo: SchspIN

Today on the morning after the City Night Run, I went to the Olympic Stadion, where the European Maccabi Games will take place from July 27 to August 5. I had enlisted as a volunteer in the last minute. This was due to a radio interview I heard where one of the organizers talked about how difficult it had been to find sponsors for the games – many of the companies that usually sponsor sport events (like e.g. ‘my’ running events) had declined. So I thought I at least wanted to help a little. And at the same time pay back the help of the many volunteers at the running events. So anyway, we had an introductory session for the approx. 340 volunteers in the Kuppelsaal of the Olympic Stadion – where the fencing events had been held at the Olympics of 1936 that did not allow German Jews to participate – and where the fencing events will take place this week at the Maccabi Games.

Kuppelsaal, Detail. Foto: SchspIN

Kuppelsaal, Detail. Photo: SchspIN

The start of the session was delayed for a bit, so we sat and waited, and nearly everybody had a little water carton. I didn’t. I must have missed it when they were handed out. And I already had finished the water bottle I had brought along. So I asked the volunteer sitting next to me about these cartons, and he said they had been distributed, but there were still some left over there ‘on the stage’ (i.e. on the other side from us sitting on the round tribune). So I went over there, and yes, there were boxes with water artons but also lunch packet, on and behind tables. In short, it looked vey much like something “for later”. So I did not dare to take a water package. I noticed three elderly men standing a bit further off that gave the impression of people involved with the organization so I asked them halfheartedly about the water. And I was expecting them so say “You will all get the water later on with the lunch packets” or “The water has already been handed out, each only gets 1”. So basically I was expecting a typically German answer. But no. the Maccabi Games are a Jewish sports event. So the conversation was different.

  • I: Could I perhaps have a water package?
  • One Man: Is there any water?
  • I: Yes there is, but there also lunch packages right next to the water.
  • One Man: But are you thirsty?
  • Ich: Yes, actually I am.
  • One Man: Then you should take a water carton.
  • Ich: Yes, but maybe they are meant for later?
  • Der eine Mann (with a wink): It wouldn’t be good if you dehydrated here, so you should take a water carton now.

Is there any water? Are you thirsty?

Great. This is how simple questions can be. And solutions as well. And once again I am thinking about the film and TV industry.


Wasser und Volunteer Badge. Foto: SchspIN

Water and Volunteer Badge. Photo: SchspIN

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