Saturday, March 29, 2008

Interesting People

Sometimes you meet interesting people in the least probable places. Today I went to a saddler in Nürnberg to get his opinion on restoring the outer hull of the body of my DKW. He basically said I could spend a fortune if I want to and that he cannot tell how much it will be... But that's not the part of the story to tell.

On the way home I wanted to see how fast the DKW actually can go. On the way to Nürnberg I checked with a GPS that if the speedometer is at 80, I am actually going 65. On the way back I got the speedometer to touch 100 km/h, so probably I was going something like 80km/h. And then suddenly the motor stopped. Just stopped, did not move a bit. Starting the warning lights I pulled right to the side and started to look at the motor. A small motorcycle stopped just in front of me, a huge pile of luggage hiding the driver. The driver dismounted, took of his helmet and a guy with a beard like Santa Clause appeared. He was a homeless born in Thüringen, about 65, and basically told me the story of his life. He used to drive a DKW lorry back in GDR times, he collected motorcycles, he knows an awful lot about history, he had a living and was well integrated into a social network. And then the GDR ended and became part of the Germany of today... For some reason he lost his job, he lost all of his belongings and he ended up for some months in jail.

Talking to him I understood for the first time why people want back the GDR or even the third Reich. People who were not persecuted nor were part of the system, just ordinary people, actually nobodies. At these times it was ordinary people againts THEM, against the state, against the rich, against the establishment. There were networks, people helped each other to get along. As you couldn't get stuff via the official ways, they developed networks how to pass by offical channels. You couldn't get Diesel engines for your tractor in the GDR, so somebody who had still some pre-war Maybach engine hidden in a barn helped you out. Everybody was in the same deep shit as anybody else, people stuck together.

For some reason this ain't no more today. Everybody is now working against everybody. All these social networks collapsed. As you need to be successful and rich, you cannot afford to help other people. You can only be successful, if other people are unsuccessful. This guy is one of the many people who just lost. Not by their own fault, mostly. He had bad luck, he didn't fit into the system, he got divorced and at is odds with his family, he made some wrong choices. He just fell through the system and now he is living on the streets, no chance to get back into the system, no chance to get a job, no chance to get a retirement pension. He will go on on the street, until he sometime disappears with nobody remembering him.

It made me think. If you talk to people, a lot of them complain that nobody helps, that nobody says thank you if he recieved help from you, that there is no solidarity, no cameradie between people. Which is funny, as everybody gave up on solidarity there cannot be any solidarity. Why not just start to be nice to other people, why not continue to be solidary to your neighbours, to people who are in the same situation, to random people...

As for the motor: it seems that if the spark plugs get to hot they stop working. So after talking to the homeless guy for about an hour, the car started like a charm and I could drive home.

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